Restoration work aims to improve salmon habitat

Chinook Observer

The final piece of a three-part effort to improve salmon passage and habitat in the Lower Columbia River is underway at Washington state’s Hungry Harbor east of the Astoria-Megler Bridge on State Route 401.

The project, led by the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce, will remove a failing culvert and reopen the habitat beyond to tidal influence and — importantly — salmon.

The project involves partnerships and cooperation between local, state and federal groups and took several years to launch. Funding for the estimated $1.4 million project is secured, but the work begins at a time when there is some uncertainty for how such projects will be funded in the future as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, funded in part by Oregon Lottery dollars, saw a significant hit to video lottery revenue after bars and restaurants closed or were forced to change operations due to the pandemic. The board is a major resource for grants for habitat restoration work of all kinds.

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