Tacoma News Tribune: Eatonville Logjams part of bigger picture

The Tacoma News Tribune follows up on several stories a few weeks ago on the Nisqually Tribe’s logjam project in Eatonville. This project is part of a much larger picture:

But this is just the start. The tribe and enhancement group have big dreams, $30 million dreams.

The capital projects they want to accomplish in the next three years carry that hefty price tag. That includes a project that will cost $8 to $10 million to restore six miles of habitat on Ohop Creek.

Finding those kinds of dollars will not be easy, but should be a priority.

The Nisqually River is unusual in that much of the river, 70 percent according to Dorner, is protected in some fashion. Much is owned by government agencies or by conservation groups.

That presents us a wonderful opportunity to enhance an already popular fishery, create a river-long natural playground and develop a living laboratory.

Projects such as the one at Smallwood Park are crucial first steps. Building the new Nisqually-Mashel State Park and the restoration of Ohop Creek will be monumental in comparison.

Those bigger steps will certainly require a major financial commitment, one I feel will pay off in the short and long term. It will take fortitude on the part of the decision makers and constant support from local agencies and individuals.

Imagine, though, what we can create from the headwaters of the Nisqually on Mount Rainier to the river’s estuary as it flows in to Puget Sound. It’s an opportunity we cannot afford let slip away.