This fall the Squaxin Island Tribe and the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group are building nine logjams at the mouth of Goldsborough Creek in Shelton.
The logjams will capture sediment and help restore the creek’s estuary, which has been downcutting since the early 1990s.
“The logjams at the mouth of the creek and in the harbor will restore the equilibrium that has been disturbed since a ferry dock was removed decades ago,” said Scott Steltzner, environmental program manager for the tribe.
The downcutting hasn’t just limited salmon habitat but has threatened underground utility lines. “Over the next decade or so, we’ll see sediment building up and the creek will start repairing itself,” Steltzner said.
The logjam project is part of a larger salmon restoration effort being led by the tribe on Shelton Harbor. The tribe is coordinating the effort with Simpson Timber, Sierra Pacific Industries, the Port of Shelton, Capitol Land Trust, Mason Conservation District and the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group.
“This project shows that we can accomplish significant gains in salmon habitat while also protecting the existing industry and jobs in the harbor,” said Andy Whitener, natural resources director for the tribe.
The first step of the multi-phase project was accomplished a year ago when 1,600 feet of shoreline at nearby Eagle Point were put into permanent protection. With a grant written by the tribe, the Capitol Land Trust purchased the 14-acre property. The land trust then gifted the entire parcel to the city of Shelton, which plans to build nature trails to allow residents access to the shoreline.
Other phases of the project will include creating intertidal habitat by placing new sand and gravel near the creek mouth, restoring saltmarsh habitat, removing pollutant-leaching creosote pilings and removing shoreline armoring.
The work in Shelton Harbor builds off an earlier collaboration by the tribe and Simpson. The tribe and Simpson Timber removed a dam from Goldsborough Creek 15 years ago, boosting the coho run in a region where other coho runs continue to decline.
“Coho around the area are on a long-term downward spiral,” Steltzner said. “Our work on Goldsborough and in Shelton Harbor shows that we can reverse that trend, at least here.”