Two projects to protect waterways in Chelan County are collectively being funded by more than $1.25 million from the U.S. Interior Department.

Chelan County is getting nearly $768,587 to complete the study and design of a project to relocate and reconnect the Peshastin Creek with its historic floodplain near U.S. Hwy 97 north of Blewett Pass.  

Aquatic habitat in Peshastin Creek was severely degraded by the construction of U.S. 97 in the 1950’s, which reduced and straightened the stream and disconnected it from the historic channel footprint and floodplain.

The project will relocate and reconnect Peshastin Creek with its historic floodplain and build two highway bridges across the rerouted creek.

The other grant of $500,000 is being awarded to complete designs for a large-scale salmon habitat restoration project along Nason Creek north of Leavenworth.

The project will develop final construction designs to remove, and re-route, a 0.65-mile stretch of State Route 207 away from the Nason Creek floodway to restore stream habitat for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed spring Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout.

The location is within the Northern Treaty Territory of the Yakama Nation, which is partnering with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the Wenatchee Subbasin Watershed Action Team (WAT) on the project.

The Interior Department announced the projects this week as part of a $51 million federal effort to restore and protect rivers and watersheds in 18 states.

“The benefits of these projects are far-reaching in terms of climate resilience and ecosystem restoration benefits,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “The work to restore and protect the habitat for fish and wildlife also helps to improve water quality and mitigate impacts of drought and potential flood events.”

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