Snoqualmie Wildlife Area
Ebey Island was once a freshwater tidal marsh with numerous sloughs that provided extensive rearing habitat for young Chinook and Coho salmon. When Ebey Island was completely diked in the first half of the 1900s salmon access to all sloughs was completely blocked. The loss of fish access to such sloughs has been identified as a limiting factor for salmon populations in the watershed. Restoring tidal influence to diked areas has been identified as a critical component to restoring salmon populations in the watershed.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has acquired 1,237-acres on the island with salmon habitat restoration as a major goal. In 2009 WDFW received grants from the Recreation and Conservation Office Salmon Recovery Funding Board as well the Natural Environmental Resource Damage Assessment Fund to complete a Salmon restoration feasibility study for the property that it owns on the island. The study evaluated a variety of technical factors and social considerations because the island contains well-established residences, small businesses, infrastructure, and farms. The feasibility report included evaluations of potential projects for salmon habitat restoration and how they would interplay with wildlife habitat protection, recreation, agriculture, utilities and transportation infrastructure.
The Feasibility study involved stakeholder and public input. The goal of the stakeholder advisory process was to ensure that the feasibility study considered the needs, interests, opinions and perspectives of those who would be most affected by its outcome. Public review and input was also encouraged to ensure that all interested parties had an opportunity to contribute.
The final report shows that restoration of the site to provide habitat for large numbers of salmon smolts is technically feasible but that the overall feasibility of restoring salmon habitat in the near future is low due to social and economic issues. If you would like further information regarding the Ebey Island Salmon Restoration Feasibility Study, please contact Richard Tveten at 360-902-2367.