Free flowing for young salmon

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Local fish have a better chance to grow and survive thanks to the efforts of several local organizations working together at the Pitship Pocket Estuary, southeast of John Wayne Marina.

A small culvert made it difficult for juvenile salmon to enter the estuary and grow before going into the ocean but a restoration project costing about $460,000 for a new 28-foot bridge makes passage into the estuary much easier.

The opening restores tidal functions to 4.2 acres of salt marsh for juvenile salmon rearing.

Cheryl Baumann, coordinator for the North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity for Salmon, said this estuary is critical because ones like it have disappeared at an alarming rate.

“Pocket estuaries are important because they are places where young salmon can feed and grow and be protected from predators before heading out into the ocean,” Baumann said.

Kevin Long, project manager for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, said the combination of fresh water combining with saltwater makes a rich environment for salmon.

Restoration project honored
The city of Sequim hosted a ribbon cutting on June 22 at the new bridge to honor the restoration project.

City councilors; city staff; Jamestown S’Klallam tribal members; Louis Torres, representative for Wayne Enterprises L.L.C., that owns the adjacent land; Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger and more were on hand for the ceremony.

The city of Sequim agreed to the partnership in 2007 and put more than $50,000 toward the restoration.

“The project was a great success,” Sequim City Manager Steve Burkett said.

“This is just an example of a small project that’s going to have huge impact.”

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition sponsored the restoration with partners Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, city of Sequim, Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, North Olympic Entity for Salmon and Wayne Enterprises L.L.C.

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