The Duckabush estuary has been degraded for almost 100 years by a wall of highway fill that nearly severs the ecological connection of the estuary to the tidelands.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG), is proposing an estuary restoration project to correct this legacy environmental impact. The estuary is important habitat for salmon and other fish and wildlife, including several species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The restoration project would reconnect the Duckabush River to neighboring floodplains and wetlands by modifying local roads, elevating Highway 101 onto an estuary spanning bridge, and excavating historical channels.
Restoration would occur primarily on public land at the Duckabush Wildlife Area Unit managed by WDFW. Project partners are working on designing the restoration project, which is anticipated to be completed in early 2023. Once construction funding is secured, construction would take three to four years.
- Improve habitat for fish and wildlife, including Hood Canal summer chum and Chinook salmon, a main food source for endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.
- Reduce seasonal flooding in the area, benefitting both public and private property.
- Provide a modernized highway design that meets current safety standards.
- Create approximately 1,300 jobs and support the local economy.
- Establish a wildlife corridor under the highway to improve habitat connectivity and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.
Duckabush Wildlife Area Unit
The Duckabush Unit is located 4 miles south of Brinnon, and 22 miles north of Hoodsport, in Jefferson County. The unit can be accssed from Highway 101.
- Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group (HCSEG)
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
- Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT)
- U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE)
A preliminary project design was developed by WDFW, WSDOT, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with local Tribes, County government, and local conservation organizations. The current design partnership is incorporating site-specific data and public input to refine the preliminary design.
Preliminary project features include:
- Restoration and reconnection of several historic tidal and river channels to improve fish and wildlife habitat.
- A new 1,600-foot-long estuary-spanning bridge designed to accommodate future high tide and flood conditions.
- Wider highway shoulders, a re-designed intersection at Duckabush Road, and a left turn lane from northbound Highway 101 onto Duckabush Road.
- Additional public parking next to Duckabush Road at the north end of the new bridge to provide access to the Wildlife Area.
A virtual public meeting showcasing the preliminary design was held on Sept. 22, 2021. People can review the meeting's presentation for more details.
WDFW led the state environmental review of the proposed restoration project and prepared a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to identify and evaluate how the proposed project would likely affect the environment. Review the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Duckabush Estuary Restoration project.
The final SEIS was released in Summer 2020 and includes responses to comments received on the draft SEIS. For more information on the Duckabush State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process, visit the Duckabush Environmental Review webpage.
Public meetings and open houses that WDFW and project partners have hosted over the last several years.
Preliminary Design Online Public Meeting
- Sept. 22, 2021 from 6 - 7 p.m | Online via Zoom webinar
- Meeting materials: presentation
Public Open House
- Feb. 8, 2020 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. | at Brinnon School (46 Schoolhouse Rd., Brinnon, WA 98320)
SEPA Scoping Meeting
(Refer to the Duckabush Environmental Review page for more information.)
In the news
- A Chance To Go With The Flow: Plans include removal, replacement of US 101 bridges and highway through critical habitat (Port Townsend Leader)
- Duckabush restoration promises major benefits for five species of salmon (Kitsap Sun)
- Estuary restoration moving forward on Hood Canal (Peninsula Daily News)
- Duckabush estuary high priority in Puget Sound Plan (Kitsap Sun)
- WDFW hosts online public meeting for Duckabush estuary restoration project on Sep. 22 (Sep. 17, 2021)
- WDFW invites public input on a proposed Jefferson County estuary restoration project (Jan. 21, 2020)
- WDFW seeks public input on 38-acre Duckabush restoration project (June 27, 2019)
- WDFW and Corps to collaborate on 38-acre Duckabush restoration (April 23, 2019)
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For more information about the Duckabush Estuary Restoration Project, please contact Seth Ballhorn at Seth.Ballhorn@dfw.wa.gov or 360-791-4987.