Work continues in Kent on $ 9 million Green River salmon restoration project

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The Town of Kent continues to receive grants and complete work on the estimated $ 9 million Downey Farmstead Restoration Project to provide a major channel for salmon habitat and reduce flooding along the Green River.

Formerly a nursery, the 22 acres are located between Green River and Frager Road and State Route 516, aka Kent Des Moines Road. Crews turn it into a network of side channels and a flood storage area as the river rises.

“This project will provide rearing and refuge habitat for juvenile salmonids, floodplain habitat, shade for the Green River, and flood reduction benefits,” said Melissa Dahl, Project Engineer at the city, in a September 24 email.

The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board last week announced $ 21 million in statewide grants to help with salmon recovery, including $ 195,895 to the City of Kent for the Downey Farmstead Project. The money comes from the State Recreation and Conservation Authority.

The city will use this grant to build side channel habitat and reconnect the floodplain on the left bank of the Green River. The project will create additional storage for water during storms and floods and help reduce the risk of flooding in neighboring urban and agricultural areas. The city will provide $ 873,545 as a local grant and donated labor and materials to this specific channel of the project.

The Green River is used by chinook salmon and rainbow trout, two species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act; by coho salmon, which is of federal concern; and by chum salmon, according to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

To date, the city has received nearly $ 4.6 million from multiple sources for the project. Sources include the acquisition and restoration of Puget Sound in Washington State, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the King Conservation District, the King County Flood Control District through its cooperative watershed management fund, the King County’s Waterworks Grant, Floodplains by Design and contributions from the Town of Kent.

So far, the city has excavated approximately 150,000 cubic meters of earth, relocated Frager Road, built a separate footpath, installed six habitat structures (stacked logs for salmon habitat), and planted over 10,000 plants. natives, said Dahl.

The remaining work includes the removal of 60,000 cubic meters, which will include connecting the project site to the Green River, installing the remaining 44 habitat structures and planting more than 30,000 native plants, said Dahl.

“The city hopes to complete this project by the end of 2022,” Dahl said.

The latest batch of state grants (awarded annually) from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board went to 105 projects in 29 of the state’s 39 counties.

“Salmon is important to all Washingtonians, whether they spend time fishing, eat salmon, depend on salmon for their business, or use salmon in their cultural celebrations,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in the press release from the administration board. “It’s imperative that we improve the areas salmon need, and these grants are helping. ”

The city began work on the project in 2018, when crews cleared and graded the existing project site and hauled the removed soil off the site.

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A render of the Downey Farmstead North West Restoration Project shows what it will look like when complete. COURTESY IMAGE, Town of Kent



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