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Project overview

Why are we doing this?

As a part of WSDOT’s commitment to help salmon recovery and comply with state laws, WSDOT created the Fish Passage Barrier Removal Program in 1991. The program fixes or replaces barriers that restrict or block fish access under state highways. To date, WSDOT has corrected hundreds of barriers that have restored access to over one thousand miles of fish habitat.

In 2013, the U.S. District Court issued a decision requiring Washington State to move more quickly to correct fish passage barriers. Salmonberry Creek and Blackjack Creek are among many fish barrier removal projects included in the federal ruling.

How will this project help fish?

Undersized culverts and other barriers prevent native fish species from reaching healthy habitats. Healthy habitats are the places fish need to get food, spawn, lay eggs, and thrive. This project will remove the barriers at Salmonberry and Blackjack Creeks. Once the project is complete, fish will have new access to more than 16 miles of healthy habitat.

During construction, crews will rebuild the streambed by using a mix of gravel, varying-sized rocks and logs. This will support salmon, bull trout, steelhead and other native fish as they move through their lifecycle. Improving access in these creeks means young fish will grow enough to make it to the ocean, and spawning salmon will have a place to return and lay eggs for the next generation.

A mature salmon swims in a clear stream. The top half of the salmon is exposed to the air, while the bottom half is submerged in the water.
Fish barrier removal opens habitat to salmon and steelhead at all life stages.

The end result

The enhancements and barrier removal at Salmonberry and Blackjack Creeks will:

  • Improve access to at least 16 miles of potential habitat.
  • Rebuild the streambeds so that they replicate natural streambeds.
  • Support healthier fish lifecycles.