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Coastal Watershed Institute awarded $1,000,000 Federal grant for conservation, restoration and public access along the Elwha River delta shoreline.
February 3, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
On February 2 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that Washington State Department of Ecology and Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI) will receive $1,000,000 from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant program. This will fund a significant portion of the Beach Lake Acquisition and Restoration project. Located along the central Strait of Juan de Fuca, The Beach Lake Acquisition and Restoration Project will protect and restore coastal wetlands adjacent to the Elwha River delta and provide new public access along the evolving Elwha nearshore. Rick Phillips, the property owners’ representative has said “we are pleased for this unique property to be conserved for all to enjoy.”
The project is supported by numerous local partners including the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, North Olympic Land Trust, North Peninsula Building Association, Built Green of Clallam County, Surfrider Foundation, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, Lighthawk, Ecotrust and North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity for Salmon. Additional project funding has been secured from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to fund the ~$2,000,000 project. Funding support for the development of the project was provided in part by the Rose Foundation, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Seattle Foundation, and Hayes Foundation.
Project Manager and Nearshore Biologist Jamie Michel said, “This project will provide great benefit to our local and regional communities by; creating a much needed shoreline access point to observe the rapidly changing Elwha River delta, improving water quality and improving habitat essential for salmon, birds and the species they depend upon. The project allows sediments arriving to the nearshore from the dam removal to be naturally deposited to restore beaches.” CWI Executive Director and Lead Scientist, Anne Shaffer said, “Many of us have worked for almost a quarter of a century to understand and promote the nearshore restoration associated with the Elwha dam removals. We know that the nearshore is central to the success of the watershed ecosystem. So it’s very exciting to take this first step to achieve sorely needed restoration and public access to this new public resource”
Although the project will ultimately provide public shoreline access to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the property is still privately held and project sponsors ask the public to respect private property until the site is available for public use. CWI will offer two guided public onsite tours of the project site in the spring of 2016.
Project shoreline in 2016 (Photo: Jamie Michel) Project shoreline in 1950 (Photo: U.S. National Archives)