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State grants to fund local salmon habitat improvement projects

Three Thurston County organizations have been awarded state money for purchases and projects aimed at supporting endangered salmon.

The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced this week it had awarded 64 grants to projects happening around Puget Sound, all designed to improve salmon habitat and conserve shorelines and riverbanks.

Nisqually Land Trust has been awarded more than $720,000 in state grants to buy land along the Nisqually River and Lackamas Creek.

Nisqually Land Trust plans to conserve 59 acres along the middle reach of the Nisqually River, 65 acres of floodplain along the McKenna Reach and 50 acres along the Lackamas Creek and Nisqually River flood zone.

The waters are home to chinook salmon and steelhead, which are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, and coho salmon, listed as a species of concern.

Capitol Land Trust was awarded $471,832 to buy 220 acres along the Deschutes River and Silver Creek to conserve chinook, coho and steelhead habitat.

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group got $183,187 to install wood structures in the Deschutes River that serve as a place for fish to rest and feed and also slow down the river to reduce erosion.

Elsewhere in the state, money will go toward reconnecting the Dungeness River with its historic floodplain in Clallam County, removing a half-mile of levee and fill from the Cedar River floodplain in King County, and removing a diversion dam on the Nooksack River near Bellingham.

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