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House Passes Bonamici Provision to Restore Salmon Habitat in Clatsop County

June 6, 2018
Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C. [06/06/18] – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) celebrated the passage of her provision in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 (H.R. 8) to restore approximately 52 acres of salmon habitat off the Columbia River. WRDA benefits Oregon by making improvements to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts on flood control, navigation, hydropower, and environmental protection and restoration. Similar legislation is under consideration in the Senate.

“Salmon are an important part of our heritage in the Pacific Northwest, but old, unnecessary levees on our rivers and waterways have turned salmon habitat into farm or pasture land,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “As we learn more about the environmental significance of wetlands to salmon and the environment, it makes sense to remove these levees and allow the natural ecosystem to return. My provision will restore more than fifty acres of salmon habitat on Clatsop County’s Walluski River. Through habitat restoration projects and smart infrastructure upgrades, we can protect the environment and make sure that the salmon that nourished and inspired generations before us will continue to be there for generations to come.”

Bonamici’s provision deauthorizes part of the federally authorized Clatsop County Diking District No.13 levee system on the Walluski River. The Army Corps of Engineers determined that the levees are in poor condition because of vegetation growth, slope failures, and erosion. The owner of the affected property is working with CREST (Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce) to breach the levees and restore wetlands habitat.

“With the successful passage of the WRDA bill and the Walluski de-authorization, CREST will implement a habitat restoration project that restores 52 acres of historic wetlands in the Columbia River Estuary, providing valuable habitat and food web connections for threatened and endangered Columbia River salmon,” said Denise Lofman, Director of CREST. “Restoring and enhancing Columbia River Estuary wetlands through voluntary partnerships with private landowners increases essential off-channel habitat for juvenile salmon and improves the long-term protection and survival of one of our region’s most iconic species.”

The Water Resources Development Act of 2018 authorizes funding for our nation’s water resource infrastructure through FY 2023. The bill:

  • Supports economic growth by making necessary investments in our ports, channels, locks, dams, and other infrastructure that supports the maritime and waterways transportation system,
  • Supports the small ports that are lifelines to rural Oregon communities by making sure that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is used only for harbor maintenance,
  • Protects communities from flooding by reauthorizing the Levee Safety Initiative and the National Dam Safety Program; and
  • Encourages more community engagement by directing the Army Corps of Engineers to engage stakeholders in the development of implementation guidance.