Salmon enhancement’s role in Kitsap County road projects

The in basket: In reviewing the current six-year road plan for Kitsap County, called the TIP and projecting out to 2017, I was struck by the large number of culvert replacement jobs on it. They almost outnumber other kinds of work.

I asked county public works officials if they’d argue with the notion that salmon enhancement has become as much a priority as moving vehicles in planning their road projects.

The out basket: County Engineer Jon Brand said, yes, he ‘d argue with that.

“I would disagree  that the road plan has evolved into a salmon enhancement program,” Jon said.  “There’s no doubt, however, that salmon enhancement has become a major factor in the road division’s maintenance, preservation and construction programs.

“There are only three salmon enhancement projects on the adopted 2012-2017 TIP,” he said. “These are the South Kingston (Carpenter Creek) Bridge (#7), Kitty Hawk Drive (#17) and the Bethel-Burley Road Bridge (#45).  Carpenter Creek was 100 per cent grant-funded, Kitty Hawk is the county’s share of a Suquamish Tribe enhancement project and Bethel Burley is an identified barrier.  But, of course, it’s not that simple.

“Since about 1995,” he said, ” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Kitsap County have maintained a prioritized database of county-owned fish passage barriers.  These are typically culverts that restrict fish movement because of velocity, vertical drop or depth issues.

“The county has a responsibility to address these barriers and since 1997 Public Works has spent over $8 million resolving 26 barriers (through the road and storm and surface water management divisions).  These were projects originally conceived of as salmon enhancement projects.  The database has changed in character as new projects have been identified and added to the barrier list.  Existing culverts requiring replacement because they’re deteriorated or too small, have been inspected for fish passage and added to the barrier list as applicable.

 

The other part of the story is that there are thousands of existing county-owned culverts and bridges that fall under the jurisdiction of (Fish and Wildlife), the Corps of Engineers and others.

Sometimes bad things happen like a major storm ala Hite Center (#11) or Hunter Road (#13).  Other times, structurally deficient bridges and culverts have to be repaired or replaced to maintain safe and reliable access, like Southworth Drive (#3), Stavis Bay (#4) Wildcat Lake (#12) and others.

“When work takes place in fish-bearing waters, the county is required to meet current requirements, and that means the project has to maintain or enhance fish passage.  These requirements are also applied to road widening projects, like Bucklin Hill Road (#21).

“Other culvert projects on the TIP may not involve fish at all,” Jon said.  “These typically involve replacement of a deteriorated culvert for maintenance purposes like Eastview (#9, Miami Beach (#6), and Southworth Drive (#33, 34).”

To conserve space I haven’t described these projects very fully. You can learn more by going on line at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/sixyear_tip.htm and reading it yourself.

 

One thought on “Salmon enhancement’s role in Kitsap County road projects

  1. We were told that the culverts on David Rd. and Taylor Rd. would be replaced by 2012, then it was 2013, and now who knows. This past fall the salmon were unable to go up Dickerson Creek from Wildcat creek due to the sorry fish ladder that doesn’t work.

    We aren’t worried though, because we have Commissioner Brown’s word that these problmes will be dealt with.

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