A drawing shows the planned Downey Farmstead Restoration Project along the Green River in Kent to improve flood storage and salmon habitat. COURTESY GRAPHIC, City of Kent

A drawing shows the planned Downey Farmstead Restoration Project along the Green River in Kent to improve flood storage and salmon habitat. COURTESY GRAPHIC, City of Kent

City of Kent starts work on $7 million Downey Farmstead Restoration Project

Changes include large-scale salmon habitat, additional flood storage

Construction started recently on the estimated $7 million Downey Farmstead Restoration Project in Kent, which will create large-scale salmon habitat and provide increased flood storage for the Green River.

The Downey Farmstead, formerly a tree nursery, is between the Green River and State Route 516, aka Kent Des Moines Road.

The city of Kent has secured $3.1 million in grants so far for the project and expects to receive more funds, according to an email from Matt Knox, City Public Works environmental supervisor.

The 22-acre site will be redeveloped into a network of side channels of various depths to enhance habitat for endangered Chinook salmon and other salmon species. This will allow the salmon to take shelter during high flow events in the river and provide rearing habitat during the summer. The project will also lower peak flood levels up to 6 inches during a 100-year flood event, giving relief to nearby levees, homes and businesses.

“This project provides an excellent opportunity to improve the river ecosystem, creating protected locations for endangered salmon species to have a greater ability to thrive,” said Tim LaPorte, City Public Works director, in a media release. “At the same time, the project will significantly reduce flood issues along this reach of the river by providing a broader river channel in this area. A project with multiple objectives and benefits is a plus for our community.”

In the first phase, crews will clear and grade the existing project site with removed soil being transported off site. Later phases of the project include the modification of Frager Road and creation of a series of side channels for the Green River with the planting of 30,000 native plant species.

Crews will complete the additional phases over the next couple of years with an estimated finish date of 2021. During the project, Frager Road will remain open to the public, except during the road modification.

The innovative project is largely grant funded, except for an in-kind match of $345,000 provided by the city. The city’s funding partners include the Puget Sound Partnership, the King County Flood Control District, the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and King County.

Project components and costs include:

■ Utility relocation: $200,000 (recently completed)

■ Clearing, grubbing and partial grading: $900,000 (the current phase of the project that is just beginning)

■ Road relocation: $1 million (proposed for 2019)

■ Habitat restoration: $4.9 million (proposed in 2020 or when grant funding allows

To date, funding is secured from:

■ 2013 & 2015 Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration funds (PSAR) – $450,477

■ 2015 Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) – $327,353

■ 2017 & 2018 King County Flood Control District (KC FCD) Cooperative Watershed Management Grants – $1.8 million

■ King County Waterworks Grant – $125,000

■ City of Kent In-Kind Match (habitat restoration plants, planting and maintenance) – $345,000

■ Total secured to-date: $3.1 million

Additional funding for the habitat restoration portion of the project will also come from grants, Knox said. City staff expects to hear back soon from applications submitted for 2018 PSAR Large Capacity and 2019 Floodplains by Design funds.

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