Restoration continues in Skokomish River watershed

I’ve had to face the fact that environmental news continues even when I’m on vacation. I’ve managed to limit my time on the computer, to the delight of my wife, but I’d like to touch on a couple of issues now and catch up with others later.

A little more than a week ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a new license for the Cushman Dam Project in the southern part of Hood Canal. This landmark approval has closed the book on a story I have followed my entire career, and news of the license decision was one of the last stories I wrote before I left for vacation. See Kitsap Sun, July 16.

I’m told the license terms are essentially the same as those in the hard-fought agreement approved by the city of Tacoma, the Skokomish Tribe and natural resource agencies for the state and federal governments. As I’ve reported before, the agreement requires the city of Tacoma to fund some major environmental restoration projects and provide cash the tribe can use for various projects.

On Jan. 13, 2009, in Water Ways, I spent some time going through this agreement section by section. I refer you to that entry for a better understanding of what this landmark agreement will mean to everyone involved.

A story I missed as a result of being on vacation this week was the helicopter transport of some giant trees to the Skokomish River, where the trees will be used to build engineered “log jams” to improve habitat. John Dodge covered the story for The Olympian, and the Kitsap Sun picked it up from the Associated Press.

I had a few more details about this project when I reported on the announcement in February. See the Kitsap Sun, Feb. 26.

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