Quinault River Washington log jam© Wild Salmon Center

Restoring the Quinault

Restoring the Quinault

Sockeye habitat restoration maximized though partnerships.

As a result of habitat degradation, the Alder Creek Side Channel represents one of only a few key spawning areas left in Washington’s Upper Quinault River. In late October, the Quinault Indian Nation completed a highly successful pilot project in the channel using a series of engineered logjams to protect and restore a critical spawning habitat for sockeye (or blueback) salmon. The Queets/Quinault Rivers represent one of nine Salmon Strongholds endorsed by the North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership, which helped leverage key project funding.

Underwater shot of blueback, otherwise known as Quinault sockeye.
Blueback | © Larry Workman

Initially, only nine logjams were budgeted, but the Quinault Nation saw an opportunity to construct additional logjams while they had the materials, equipment and workforce in place. The Salmon Stronghold Partnership was able to provide the funds needed for four additional logjams, and thanks to the creative and diligent efforts put forth by Quinault Nation staff (particularly Dave Bingamen, Bill Armstrong, Larry Gilbertson and James Sellars) and all their partners, the project was completed a year ahead of schedule, saving an estimated $130,000. Since project completion, in the just the last month, 200 spawners have been counted among the logjams.

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