$50 million restoration program launched to unblock streams for migrating fish

Public and non-profit organizations in Grays Harbor, Lewis, and Thurston counties (Washington) are receiving about $6 million in state grants this spring for 28 habitat-restoration projects in the Chehalis River Basin.

The projects represent an initial phase of a long-term effort to restore habitat and reduce flood damage throughout the basin.

State lawmakers included the grant funds in the 2015-17 capital budget as part of a $50 million appropriation for the overall initiative.

Most of the grant projects, scheduled for completion by July 2017, are designed to restore fish passage where it is blocked by culverts or dams.

Altogether, they will open more than 130 miles of streams to migrating salmon and other aquatic species, said Kirsten Harma of the Chehalis Basin Lead Entity, a consortium leading the effort that includes local, state, and tribal governments and interested citizens.

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