600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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November 13, 2003
Contact: Greg Schirato, WDFW, (360) 956-2800
Tim Shaw, USACE, (206) 764-6978

Meeting set Monday on Willapa estuary restoration plan

OLYMPIA - Proponents of an estuary restoration plan for the Willapa River will answer questions about the project and discuss a new design proposal at a public meeting scheduled Monday, Nov. 17, from 6-8 p.m. at the Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce Community Center in South Bend.

Anyone with ideas or concerns about the project is encouraged to attend. The community center is located at First Street and Alder in South Bend.

The restoration plan calls for removing a portion of the dike along the Willapa River near South Bend to restore or create 400 acres of estuarine and freshwater wetlands. It was first conceived in 1999 when local property owners sought to sell their properties through a federal conservation program.

As envisioned, the project would provide additional habitat for salmon and waterfowl, as well as helping to control flooding and mosquitoes, said Sue Patnude, regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

"People raised some good questions during the public meeting on this issue last January, and we've done a fair amount of research to find the answers," Patnude said. "We're hoping that everyone who's interested in this project will turn out for the meeting on Monday."

WDFW is one of a number of agencies and organizations involved in the project. Others include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Transportation, Ducks Unlimited and Pacific County government.