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A River Reborn: Restoring Salmon Habitat along the Duwamish River

A River Reborn: Restoring Salmon Habitat along the Duwamish River


NOAA Fisheries A River Reborn: Restoring Salmon Habitat on the Duwamish River The Lower Duwamish River . . . just a few miles south of downtown Seattle. In 1913, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers excavated and straightened the river to expand commercial navigation. 97% of the original habitat for the salmon was lost due to the transformation of a 9-mile estuary into a 5-mile industrial channel. As damaged and polluted as the Lower Duwamish River is, the habitat here is crucial to ensuring the survival and recovery of threatened species. This section of the Duwamish is really important for fish, especially salmon as they acclimate to moving from the freshwater environment to a salt-water environment. Working closely with NOAA, Boeing is one of the first to take responsibility and do its part to restore the river. This project was a really wonderful opportunity because Boeing was willing to construct the restoration on their property, otherwise we wouldn’t have had the ability to have restoration in this section of the river. Working with federal, state, and tribal agencies under a natural resource damage settlement, Boeing has transformed a 5-acre area in the footprint of a former manufacturing facility into a haven for fish and wildlife. This is where the B-17 bomber was built for World War II. The plant here started out as one building and eventually grew to a complex of several million square feet. The first step in restoration was to clear the site, which began with the buildings. Boeing removed 100,000 cubic yards of soil. They also removed several aging buildings and hundreds of pilings. The restoration plan called for reshaping the shoreline and adding 170,000 native plants and large woody debris. The result is the largest habitat restoration in the Lower Duwamish River, including two and a half acres of intertidal wetlands. The restoration site design also needed to include a place where tribal members could anchor their fishing nets. Over my shoulder you’ll see one of the net attachment points that are used for salmon fisheries. Each of these piles is assigned to a different tribal member to be part of the fishery. We’ve installed a series of seven of these within the habitat area to accommodate future fishing efforts. There are 38,000 residents in the Duwamish Valley the feedback that I’ve received has been very positive. It’s a long-term benefit to the folks that live and work in this community. My hope is that we can move to creating the kind of Duwamish River that will be a place where the natural resources can thrive and where people can enjoy the river and the businesses of Seattle can conduct their business and we can all co-exist. There is more to be done and restoration work along the Duwamish will continue. NOAA is committed to restoring the health of the river and we are looking forward to working with more businesses along the Duwamish. Doing so will benefit many species and aid in the recovery of the threatened salmon and steelhead runs that have returned to the Duwamish for generations. Produced by NOAA Fisheries In Cooperation with Boeing This restoration project is the result of the natural resource damage assessment settlement conducted by OR&R, NOAA Restoration Center, and NOAA General Counsel. NOAA would like to thank the contributing Partners to this restoration project. Copyright

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