Near the quiet Dungeness River delta, an excavator constructs several jumbled piles of logs in a side channel of the Dungeness River.
Several kingfishers swoop around and squawk in the trees above, not sure what all commotion is about. The slender logs with root wads attached will play an important role in how salmon will use the area to rest and feed, as well as hide from those kingfishers.
The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe hopes to see federally listed Puget Sound chinook and Hood Canal summer chum using these logjams following this summer's restoration of 18 acres of estuary in the river delta.
The restoration work included building the logjams, creating tidal channels and breaching dikes built for road access in the 1960s to allow water to move freely throughout delta's two salt marshes. The estuary provides critical rearing habitat for the listed salmon species.
"These marshes have a mixture of saltwater from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and freshwater from the river, but as evidenced by the amount of invasive reed canary grass on the banks of the river, there's not enough saltwater getting into the estuary," said Byron Rot, the tribe's habitat program manager.
"We hope the breaching of the dikes will help introduce saltwater vegetation again and make the habi-
tat even more hospitable
Reed canary grass thrives in freshwater and prevents native plant growth, impacting the natural functions of a wetland.
Eliminating the canary grass will allow native dune grass to flourish.
The breached dikes will allow extreme high tides and river flow to flood the area, contributing to the critical habitat needed for salmon. The restoration also will provide improved habitat for ducks.
"It's a well-functioning estuary," Rot said. "It just needs a little extra help to make sure the native plants are thriving and salmon have a place of refuge."
Tiffany Royal is the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission information officer.
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