For the Reporter
To mitigate for tree removal that occurred along levees nearly a decade ago, King County will soon begin work to place a large wood structure in the lower Green River and plant more than 1,000 trees near the river that improves habitat for migrating juvenile salmon.
The project, funded by the King County Flood Control District, is in Kent on the former Teufel Nursery site, now owned by the county. Construction of the 85-piece log structure will begin in late July, once nesting eagles at the site have fledged. If eaglets do not fledge by then, construction activities will adhere to an eagle management plan that outlines avoidance and mitigation activities to minimize impacts. Tree planting will begin in October.
The project is mitigation for the county’s removal of 461 trees from levees along the lower Green River in 2008 and 2009 – work that was required to keep nine separate levees in compliance with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ standards. This is the third and final mitigation site for the tree removal.
“This mitigation project provides us with an opportunity to support salmon and other wildlife along a critical stretch of the Green River,” said Flood Control District Supervisor Dave Upthegrove, whose district includes Kent. “It is important to maintain our levees and to do so in a way that recognizes the habitat needs of imperiled salmon.”
“Mitigation is part of the process of flood control,” added Flood Control Chairman Reagan Dunn. “I am pleased we were able to find a site that lends itself so well to this important project.”
The Flood Control District purchased the 36-acre Teufel site from willing sellers in 2011. The site was initially identified as important to salmon in two regional plans, including the 2005 Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed Salmon Habitat Plan. It was selected because it is one of the few areas along the Green River that does not have a levee and because it is large enough to offer meaningful vegetative restoration.
The log structure will be built on an inside meander of the river, where water velocities are slow. This is important not only for juvenile salmon, but also for recreational safety, since slower water is easier for boaters to navigate. Native trees will be planted on the northern and eastern boundaries of the project site, identified as areas with a critical need for shade.
The window for in-water work is limited because of permit requirements to complete it by Aug. 31, when adult chinook salmon are expected to be migrating from Puget Sound. As a result, construction will take place weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nearby residents can expect increased traffic and construction noise during these hours. There may be brief, intermittent closures to Frager Road to accommodate equipment traffic.