The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given a final go-ahead to the Tulalip Tribes’ project to remove dikes and tide gates to allow salt water from Possession Sound to mingle with fresh water from Ebey Slough.
The Qwuloolt project — the word means “large marsh” in Lushootseed, the Coast Salish language spoken by local Indian tribes — aims to restore 360 acres south of Marysville to its original state.
The Tulalip Tribes are leading the $8.8 million project, with nine local, state and federal agencies serving as partners. Most of the money is coming from federal grants, the rest from the state and in-kind contributions, said Kurt Nelson, environmental division manager for the Tulalip Tribes.
Only about 18 percent of the original 10,000 acres of wetlands in the entire delta — of the type Nelson said was recorded by the surveyors — remains, he said.
“If we can increase that amount it could provide a pretty big jump start for salmon restoration,” he said.
The Qwuloolt project will be the largest restoration in the delta to date.