Conservation Northwest proposes to work in coordination with the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and diverse local stakeholder groups on watershed restoration in a heavily used and degraded landscape in the headwaters of the Upper White River watershed, which drains into Puget Sound. With lessons learned and relationships strengthened from their successful pilot work in 2018, they will lead a coordinated effort with the Forest Service and other partners to restore 19.41 miles of routes (system and non-system roads and motorized trails) and associated natural resource damage in the Government Meadows area while increasing outreach and engagement to ensure long-term sustainability in the uplands of this watershed. Natural resource specialists have identified these routes as high priorities for closure and restoration through a recent environmental analysis and travel management decision for federal lands in this area. Although the Upper White River watershed provides habitat for three fish species federally listed as threatened: Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Puget Sound steelhead, and bull trout, with the spring chinook being the only remaining spring Chinook stock in the South Sound, its watershed functions have been rated “poor” by the Forest Service due to high road density, sedimentation levels in the water, high stream temperatures, and lack of woody debris. Work funded by this grant will complement implementation of roadway improvements by the Forest Service, and will engage diverse interests in shared stewardship of a legal and sustainable access system, improve watershed health and hydrologic function, restore native habitat, and build momentum and critical relationships necessary towards Conservation Northwest’s efforts to develop a larger blueprint for restoration in this priority Puget Sound watershed.
Restoring Public Lands and Engaging Communities in Central Puget Sound’s Upper White River Watershed
Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, 2019