Skokomish Estuary Restoration Project
Joseph Pavel and Alex Gouley of the Skokomish Tribe are now presenting the tribe’s restoration projects within the Skokomish Tidelands.
The Skokomish Watershed, includes the North Fork and South Fork of the Skokomish River, as well as Lake Cushman and Lake Kokanee.
The main stem of the river is in the upper area in the valley. The small hobby farmers make up the land in the Skokomish Valley. The valley deals with flooding issues. The Army Corps of Engineers is doing a General Investigation of the Skokomish Valley to address flooding issues.
We’ve been on the reservation our whole lives; these guys are just starting to see the impacts of their activities. We’ve seen these impacts for 40-50-60 years.
The mouth of the river is the focus right now. Used to be owned by a Marcus Nalley. The development by the mouth of the river has caused it to flood and change the natural ecosystems of the estuary, including degradation of habitat for fish and shellfish.
The Skokomish Estuary project is sponsored by the Skokomish Tribe with the goal to restore historic and natural estuarine form and function, as well as improve water quality issues and habitat for fish, shellfish and shore birds.
Phase 1, completed in 2007, was the main shore, and included removal of dikes to allow for proper tidal flooding of the area. There was a boardwalk constructed for access to the Tacoma powerlines and tribal shellfish harvesting. Recolonization of salt marsh vegetation has taken well to the restored area in the last three years.
Phase 2, completed in 2010, included restoring Nalley Island to its historic state as a natural estuary. Work included building a temporary bridge for construction crews to remove interior dikes and soils.