CHELAN—A cooperative fish-enhancement and wildlife-viewing project in Chelan County is moving forward with new state funding, as well as volunteer efforts that were recently recognized by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Beebe Springs, a 185-acre property adjacent to WDFW's Chelan Fish Hatchery north of Chelan, is the site of planned stream restoration for increased spawning and rearing of endangered steelhead, and wildlife-viewing facilities being developed near the streamside area. The work began with $1.6 million in local and state funding received two years ago.
The project received new funding from the 2007 Legislature through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), including $249,410 for riparian restoration, and $243,478 for trail and viewing-facility development. In addition, the state capital budget adopted by the Legislature includes $502,000 for design and construction of future phases of the project.
Beebe Springs enhancements will benefit Chelan County by drawing anglers and wildlife viewers, said Dennis Beich, regional director of WDFW’s north-central Washington office. Statewide, wildlife viewing-related spending contributes nearly $1 billion annually to local economies, while $854 million is generated annually in fishing-related expenditures.
“State Senator Linda Evans Parlette recognized those economic benefits from the outset of this project, and has led the Beebe Springs funding effort in the Legislature,” Beich said.
“The Beebe Springs project is a great example of state government working with local citizens on a common vision that benefits both the public and wildlife,” Parlette said.
Meanwhile, volunteer efforts on the project have received special recognition. Frank Clark, president of the Lake Chelan Sportsman Association (LCSA), was recently presented with a WDFW Outstanding Volunteer award for his work on the project.
Besides Clark and fellow LCSA members, other stakeholders working with WDFW on the project include state and county elected officials, Chelan Public Utility District (PUD), the Chelan Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Forest Service, Audubon Society, Colville Confederated Tribes, and the Upper Columbia Resource Conservation & Development Office.
Beich said Clark was honored because he has been instrumental in securing funding and community support for the Beebe Springs project since its inception four years ago.
“Frank played a major role in acquiring and managing two Salmon Recovery Funding Board grants for Beebe Springs,” Beich said. “He gathers and leads other volunteers in on-the-ground work at the site. Whenever there is a need and Frank is asked to help, he delivers.”
Clark also volunteers on projects such as WDFW summer chinook net pens in the Chelan River, where 100,00 fingerlings were recently released, the Lake Chelan food web study, and various tasks at the Chelan Hatchery, Beich added.
Clark says that while the sportsmen’s group is naturally interested in fish production aspects of the Beebe Springs project, group members also want to help educate the public about the importance of the area to other wildlife species.
"We envision a complex that will evoke a greater appreciation of nature," Clark said. "The fish hatchery already draws many visitors traveling State Route 97, who stop to view kokanee and rainbow, cutthroat, brown and brook trout raised for stocking in local fishing waters. Beebe Springs is a natural for broader fish and wildlife education, recreation and community economic development."
Clark is featured in a story about the Beebe Springs project in the April edition of WDFW’s “Wild About Washington” cable television show, viewable at http://wdfw.wa.gov/pubaffrs/wildwash/.