Winter Newsletter 2009


South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group 6700 Martin Way East, Suite 112 Olympia, WA 98516 PP Please pass this newsletter on to a friend when you are finished. Thank you!

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group Mission:
To protect and restore salmon populations and aquatic habitat with an emphasis on ecosystem function through scientifically informed projects, community education, and volunteer involvement.
Inside this Issue Ode to Contractors...................................3 Kennedy Creek........................................4 Partner Spotlight: WCC...........................5 Pirate’s Cove............................................6 Construction Wrap-Up.............................8 Puget Sound Partnership........................10 Annual Meeting......................................11

Puget Sound Partnership
This Issue:
Message from the Director.............2 Ode to Contractors..........................3 Kennedy Creek.................................4 Partner Spotlight: WCC..................5 Pirate’s Cove.....................................6 Construction Wrap-Up....................8 Puget Sound Partnership..............10 Annual Meeting..............................11

Message from the Executive Director

Board of Directors
The SPSSEG is administered by a nine-member volunteer board elected by the general membership.

Sally Hicks — President Tim Layton — Vice President Dan Wrye — Treasurer Jack Havens — Secretary Terry Wright Duane Fagergren Blake Smith Joe Williams

The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) is a local voice for regional salmon recovery. From the highest peak in the Cascades, to the fertile shorelines and estuaries of Puget Sound, we restore salmon habitat with willing landowners. We believe that by collaborating with local communities, schools, and individuals in King, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, and Mason Counties, we can increase salmon numbers in our rivers and streams. Working closely with local, state, federal, and tribal agencies, we provide education opportunities, technical assistance, and pursue grant funding to find win-win solutions for people and salmon. Our non-profit, non-government, and non-political status helps us accomplish what governmental agencies alone cannot do: get real results, real quick. We are dedicated staff, board, and volunteers who are making a difference in local watersheds. SPSSEG has accomplished a great deal in the past 18 years: we have hosted over 30,000 people at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail; we have restored access for salmon to nearly 100 miles of streams; we have planted thousands of native riparian trees and shrubs; and we have improved miles of productive stream habitat, all while keeping the best interest of people and fish in mind. In the past few years we have been heavily involved in both nearshore and freshwater restoration. However, two of our largest projects next summer will occur far away from the marine environment. The multi-million Ohop and Greenwater River projects will both dramatically improve habitat in two distinctly different watersheds. SPSSEG seems to be busier than ever planning and implementing beneficial salmon projects. Restoration is a yearround process that never ends. The upcoming construction season will be a true testament to how much on-the-ground work a small non-profit Regional Fishery Enhancement Group can actually accomplish in a given year. We have definitely set lofty goals for ourselves in 2009 and we are fully expecting to be successful and make a difference in our community.

2009 Annual Meeting


lease join us at our Annual Meeting on January 22nd, 2008 as we celebrate yet another successful year of salmon recovery efforts in South Puget Sound! This year we welcome keynote speakers Billy Frank Jr. and David Dicks of the Puget Sound Partnership as they roll out the Partnership’s Action Agenda to restore Puget Billy Frank, Jr. Sound by 2020. We will also present our 2008 accomplishments, vote on changing our bylaws, elect new board members and unveil the new SPSSEG logo! Each year we

look forward to this event to recognize our valued members’ role in helping us carry out our mission of increasing salmon populations in South Puget Sound through habitat restoration and community education. The meeting will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Lacey Community Center. A raffle highlighting prizes donated by local businesses will be held during David Dicks the meeting and a light meal will be served. For more information, please visit our website at We’ll see you there!

Lance Winecka — Executive Director Christine Garst — Accounts Manager Kristin Williamson — Project Manager Eli Asher — Project Manager Kimberlie Gridley — Project Manager Sarah Clarke — Office Assistant

6700 Martin Way East, Suite 112 Olympia, WA 98516 Phone: (360) 412-0808
Cover: The upper White River flows clear through the winter months, hiding its glacial origin on Mt. Rainier.

Show Your Support! Join or Renew with SPSSEG Today! A One Year Individual Membership is Only $15 and is tax deductible.
Name______________________________________ Street______________________________________ City________________ State_____ Zip_________ Email______________________________________      Individual Membership.......................................................................$15 Family Membership.........................................................................$25 Business Membership................................................................$200 Corporate Sponsorship.........................................................$500 Other Tax-Deductible Donation........................................$_____ Please Return form to SPSSEG 6700 Martin Way East, Suite 112 Olympia, WA 98516

Lance Winecka

SalmonGram is published twice per year by the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG), a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer-based organization that conducts salmon habitat restoration, salmon enhancement, and community education to increase salmonid populations in the South Puget Sound Region. The SPSSEG is one of fourteen Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups created in 1989 by the Washington State Legislature. The Regional Fishery Enhancement Program is partially supported by surcharges on sport and commercial fishing licenses. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife provides technical and administrative support to the program.

For our state employed supporters: Please donate to SPSSEG through the Combined Fund Drive.


Winter 2009



Winter 2009

Puget Sound Partnership
he South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) stands to play a key role in helping to achieve the goal of a healthy Puget Sound by 2020 set by Governor Chris Gregoire and the Washington Legislature. In fact, it is unlikely that goal could become reality without SPSSEG’s skills in working with property owners to restore freshwater and nearshore ecosystems.


Ode to Contractors
n our line of work, project partners make the difference between resounding success and complete failure. When we talk about partners, we typically mean private property owners, state, federal, and tribal agency staff, and local non-profits. But after all the paper has been pushed, funding secured, permits acquired, and access agreements finalized, it is the project’s construction contractor that will determine the fate of the project.

nearshore habitat make South Sound extremely valuable to the overall health of Puget Sound. These are the things that the SPSSEG brings to the table and why it’s so critical we be there.” Duane Fagergren, Partnership staff and owner of Calm Cove Shellfish attests to the interrelationships of clean water, so vital for shellfish, and good salmonid habitat. “SPSSEG projects that restore freshwater and nearshore habitat also have the benefit of improving water quality. At a very real level, the work SPSSEG does is ecosystem restoration and results in many spin-off benefits.” Priorities in the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda for South Sound include restoring ecosystem processes, structures and functions by: • Restoring nearshore and estuary habitats; • Implementing salmon recovery three year project lists; and • Implementing recommendations of basin restoration plans.


Budgets are always tight, and timelines are constricted by environmental regulations and weather, but these professionals always make sure that the job is done right. During the past construction season, SPSSEG hired seven general contractors for jobs ranging from a few thousand to over a half million dollars. All of them brought an individual flair to their respective

Harbor seals lounge on a Puget Sound float. SPSSEG Board members Dan Wrye, Terry Wright, and Duane Fagergren all have key roles within the Puget Sound Partnership. As part of his responsibilities with Pierce County Surface Water Management, Dan Wrye serves as the South Puget Sound Action Area Representative on the Partnership’s Ecosystem Coordination Board. Terry Wright (Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission) is a tribal staff representative to the Partnership. Duane Fagergren is the Partnership’s staff liaison to the South Sound Action Area. “To say SPSSEG is well represented in the effort to recover Puget Sound is an understatement,” says Dan Wrye. “In reality, we are the South Sound in our personal and professional lives. To have this degree of representation really does help to keep the focus on implementation.” A high level of regional collaboration makes South Puget Sound special. And for good reason. “South Sound’s role as a nursery for Chinook, coho, and chum salmon is unparalleled,” according to Terry Wright. “And the biomass that results from South Sound forage fish habitat and the importance of its SalmonGram

Tidal channels in the Nisqually Estuary SPSSEG is active in all of these arenas. SPSSEG Board members have worked to keep the focus on restoring Puget Sound and have highlighted the capabilities of SPSSEG to do just that. “All along, we have stressed focusing on the work, using those who already know how to do it, and giving them the funding that is necessary. I’m confident we’ve been heard. Now, let’s get to it,” Dan Wrye said. 10 Winter 2009

Mike McClung, longtime SPSSEG contractor, poses with a culvert in 2008. We are fortunate to work with the best contractors in our region. Project after project, year after year, they provide the knowledge, experience, and machinery to complete our habitat construction projects. In many cases, the projects facing the work crews are unlike any that they have undertaken before, and require steep learning curves for successful completion. SalmonGram  projects, and worked closely with SPSSEG staff to ensure that each culvert, tidal spit, or log structure turned out perfect. Behind every one of our construction successes is a cadre of project partners, but when the chips are down, our contractors make these projects happen!

Winter 2009

2008 Construction Kennedy Creek 2008
The Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail (KCST) is one of the best places to see salmon spawning in the Puget Sound region. In a typical year about 40,000 chum salmon return home to spawn in Kennedy Creek. In 2002 over 80,000 splashing chum flooded 2.5 miles of stream. It is truly an amazing natural phenomenon to observe so many fish in such a small watershed. Unfortunately, at an estimated 13,000 spawners, returns this year were well below the 10-year average but Kennedy Creek still offered plenty of viewing opportunities for the community. Check out our website blog: to follow the changes at the Trail throughout the season. The publicity for the Trail was outstanding this year. We are very fortunate to have support from our regional newspaper, The Olympian, and writers John Dodge and Chester Allen to help spread the word about the KCST. This year the Trail was also featured on numerous outdoor websites, The Olympian, Completed FFFPP projects The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, and even Sunset Magazine! Hopefully the newfound publicity managed by SPSSEG: recruited and engaged people from across the Sound WRIA 14 (Kennedy-Goldsborough Watershed): to come out during a rainy November day to see for McDonald Projects (three projects) themselves what all of Gosnell Creek Tributary the hype is about.
Frye Cove Creek Each year Tributary Perry Creek40-50 volunteer docents help staff the Trail during the spawning Schneider Creek Tributary season. Our volunteers do a fabulous job engaging WRIA 15 (Key Peninsula): the public and providRocky Creek Tributaries the salmon lifecycle. During ing information about (two projects) Huge Creek the 2008 season, the trail was open from November WRIAth and all of the available mid-week time slots 1st-30 11 (Nisqually Watershed): Kronisfilled with eager teachers and students interestwere Creek (Little Mashel Tributary) McKenna Creek

Season Wrap-Up
With a lean construction budget in hand, SPSSEG and Mason County solicited bids for the Hiawata Creek Culvert Replacement project in late spring. With funding from SRFB and Mason County, a crew from RV Associates replaced an undersized concrete culvert with a 20’ wide aluminum arch culvert, restoring fish passage to this formerly productive chum stream. By late November, monitoring contractors hired by SRFB had documented chum passage and spawning upstream of the culvert, demonstrating immediate benefits of the project. As fall weather descended upon the Northwest, SPSSEG project manager Eli Asher spent a month’s worth of nights working with a dedicated crew from RV Associates to complete the Pirate’s Cove Restoration project before Thanksgiving. Funded by SRFB and the Washington State Department of Ecology, the project vastly increased the quantity and quality of Chinook rearing habitat in the Pirate’s Cove lagoon. The project is highlighted on pages 6 and 7 of this newsletter.

ed in learning more about chum salmon. Each year teachers call earlier in the year to make reservations in time to include KCST in their science curriculum. Many community members also took advantage of the moderate weekend weather to visit the Trail. We even broke a one-day attendance record with over 600 people counted in just six hours! About 5,000 people visited the Trail throughout the month. Identifying and securing sustainable funding for the Trail is always an important priority for all of the project partners involved. In order to help fund the KCST program in 2008, SPSSEG and Mason Conservation District staff hosted the 1st annual Splash fundraising event. In total, about 75 people attended Splash and we recruited several generous corporate sponsorships including Taylor Shellfish Farms, Entrix, Contech, Kennedy Creek Quarry, Mason Transit Authority, Fisheries Consultants, and Green Diamond Resources. SPSSEG would also like to thank all of the people who volunteered on one of the hottest days of the year (about 95 degrees)! Thank you to all for helping raise funds that maintain and enhance this great program! Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail is always in need of funding so please plan to attend the festive 2nd annual Splash event to be held during summer 2009. Finally, we can’t write a thank-you big enough to Taylor Shellfish Farms, which owns the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail property and provides the community access in November. THANK YOU! Cross your fingers for a big 2009 chum run!  Winter 2009 SalmonGram  Above: Curt Holt of Aquatic Contracting removes the defunct Powell Creek culvert. Below: the finished Hiawata Creek culvert


Winter 2009


he summer of 2008 proved to be challenging for SPSSEG construction projects and their managers, as permitting processes changed, fuel costs spiraled upward, and eleventh-hour negotiations threatened to derail construction.

2008 Construction Kennedy Creek 2008
and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), a large concrete block bulkhead that jutted into the tideland was set back to the toe of the bluff and softened with large wood and boulders. SPSSEG will continue work in this small watershed over coming years to improve habitat and reintroduce salmon to previously inaccessible stream reaches.

Partner Spotlight: Season Wrap-Up
For many years, the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) has been a valuable partner to SPSSEG. We have sponsored WCC year-long individual internships in our office for the past three years, providing interns with opportunities to organize restoration plantings, participate in scientific monitoring, and other resume building activities. The Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) was created in 1983 as a program within the Washington Department of Ecology, and is currently part of the nationwide AmeriCorps Program. Each year, the WCC provides thousands of hours of service to protect and enhance Washington’s most valuable natural resources. Additionally, WCC Members attend a series of trainings throughout their year of service (e.g. Wilderness First Responder, Ethnobotany, and GIS/GPS). WCC has 135 members located statewide who receive a modest stipend and, upon completion of a year of service, an AmeriCorps Education Award. This year SPSSEG has expanded our relationship with the WCC to include a temporary five person crew for specific project work. The crew, based at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, built a concrete walking bridge in the Nisqually Pines Community in Yelm and will be helping to re-

Washington Conservation Corps
furbish a community foot trail at the recently completed Pirates Cove Restoration Project. The WCC motto, “Getting Things Done,” rings true in every project they touch. Thanks to the crews and interns for all of your help over the years! Keep up the great work! Learn more by visiting the WCC Homepage: http://

Kristin Williamson ably managed the Kronis Creek Culvert Replacement project through completion. Funded by the Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) and constructed by Mike McClung Construction, the project replaced a 24” diameter concrete pipe with an 11’9” diameter galvanized steel ellipse culvert to improve fish passage and restore natural stream hydrology. Kronis Creek is a tributary to the Little Mashel river on the Colburg Tree Farm near Eatonville. Frye Cove bulkhead retrofit in progress After many years of development and anticipation, SPSSEG completed one of a suite of four projects in Frye Cove, a small bay in Eld Inlet. With major funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) and additional funding from the U.S. Fish The Nisqually Pines project kept a Washington Conservation Corps crew busy for several weeks, proving WCC’s value once again as a project partner. Funded by NFWF and South Sound Flyfishers, and managed by Kimberlie Gridley, the crew replaced a 24” diameter culvert with a 12-foot concrete footbridge over Walden Creek in the Nisually Pines Community Wildlife Corridor, allowing off-channel access to juvenile salmonids and providing a community showcase of stewardship. In partnership with the Nisqually Land Trust, and funded by the Pacific Salmon Commission, USFWS, and the SRFB, an Aquatic Contracting crew removed three fish barrier culverts and one overflow culvert on Powell Creek. The project also removed a defunct bridge abutment and associated rip-rap adjacent to the Nisqually River, and decommission 2,900 feet of private road. The project provides fish passage to Powell Creek for spawning salmonids and increased hydrologic connectivity from the Powell Creek wetland complex to the Nisqually River.
Workers assemble the new Hiawata Creek culvert

A WCC crew builds forms for the Nisqually Pines project.

SPSSEG Brand Updated
fter months of debate and deliberation, the SPSSEG Board of Directors has approved an updated logo that will be used on letterhead, business cards, and other organizational materials. This is part of an ongoing effort to increase organizational visibility and sustainability. The SPSSEG website (www.spsseg. org) has also been revamped to provide a convenient portal into the organization. As we make the transition, expect changes in our stationery, web presence, email correspondence, and fundraising efforts. The changes are being facilitated by consultants from Non Profit Solutions and The Williams Group, both of whom have extensive experience in organizational development with non-profit groups like SPSSEG. SalmonGram  Winter 2009



Winter 2009

Community Based Habitat Restoration: Pirate’s Cove
esidents of Pirate’s Cove, a private community near Grapeview, are rightfully proud of their newly restored beach. The construction project, which was funded by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Washington Department of Ecology, rebuilt a quarter-mile long tidal spit that protected the Pirate’s Cove lagoon from the wind and waves of Case Inlet. When the heavy equipment finally left the


Local residents endured the midnight noise and lights with admirably good humor, visiting the beach during daylight hours to see the previous night’s progress. During especially critical or interesting construction phases, community members held informal viewing parties on decks and patios, serving hot chocolate late into the night to ward off the autumn chill.

ties that were disturbed during construction. Volunteers will transplant dune grass, yarrow, and silver burweed from undisturbed spit areas into the newly filled area. Working with a local shellfish farmer, the community will also reseed clam and oyster beds that provide recreation, food, and water quality benefits.

Next Nearshore Steps
ased upon the findings of a comprehensive nearshore habitat assessment, SPSSEG is developing restoration treatments to address limiting habitat factors on the shoreline reach between the Nisqually Delta and Point Defiance. Anchor Environmental was selected through a competitive process to assist SPSSEG with development and design of restoration concepts. Several areas have been selected as restoration priorities, including Titlow Lagoon, Chambers Bay and Sequalitchew Creek Estuary. Over the next few months SPSSEG will be working with Anchor to develop viable restoration options for high priority projects that will result in restoration or rehabilitation of nearshore processes.


The goals for the project were simple: remove a road that had been built across the historic mouth of the lagoon, and fill a large breach in the spit caused by a failed tide weir and exacerbated by years of erosion. The biological rationale for the project is a bit more complex, building upon years of research in the South Sound that indicates that small, protected lagoons and estuaries, collectively known as pocket The RV Associates crew prepares a stockpile for an incoming tide. estuaries, provide valuable beach, the community was able to see what their spit forage and shelter for young Chinook salmon on the looked like over fifty years ago before it was modijourney from their natal streams to the Pacific Ocean. fied to impound water at low tide. Now that the lagoon has been returned to its former After a protracted permitting process, SPSSEG size and shape, Pirate’s Cove residents have begun solicited bids from contractors in the fall, awarded the business of restoring plant and animal communithe contract to RV Associates of Port Orchard, and began construction in mid October. Since the project area is largely inundated by tidewater at all but the lowest tides, construction was limited to nighttime tide cycles, requiring a tireless crew, powerful work lights, and tolerant neighbors. The excavator, bulldozer, front-end loader, roller, and trucks rumbled through the night for three weeks to complete the project before winter storms whipped waves against the spit.

Finished Pirate’s Cove spit at low tide. Community members have also kept a close watch on the lagoon in the weeks following construction. One year-round resident exclaimed “...everything looks so beautiful. It is back the way it was meant to be and we have seen several salmon jumping inside the lagoon the past few weeks. That has to be a good sign.” With warmer weather just around the bend, SPSSEG and the Pirate’s Cove community are working over the winter to improve trail access to the newly restored beach and lagoon and finish other amenities before seasonal residents and school-age kids return for summer recreation.

SPSSEG, in partnership with Metro Parks, People for Puget Sound, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and Pierce County, has been working to formulate restoration actions for Titlow Lagoon in one of Tacoma’s premiere city parks. The goal is to restore the natural productivity of the lagoon to support juvenile salmonids while restoring a natural estuarine ecosystem in the heart of Tacoma as an education showpiece for the community. For updates on the Titlow Lagoon project, contact Kristin Williamson at the SPSSEG office.

“We are so fortunate to have this beautiful part of Puget Sound to call is back the way it was meant to be...”


Winter 2009


Winter 2009

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful