Megler Creek Restoration is one part of the Columbia-Pacific Passage Habitat Restoration Project, a multi-phase project sponsored by CREST involving three separate tributaries to the Columbia River estuary. The three sites are located within 7 miles of each other on the Columbia River shoreline in southwest Washington. The three sites of this large-scale restoration effort include Fort Columbia, which was restored in 2010 as part of Phase I of the project, Megler Creek, which was restored last winter (Nov 16-February17) as part of Phase II, and Hungry Harbor, which will be constructed during the third and final phase of the restoration strategy. Restoration is needed within this estuarine reach of the Columbia River because extensive historical alterations of the shoreline have eliminated the majority of off-channel foraging and rearing opportunities along this important migration corridor. Almost the entire lower river shoreline in Washington from Knappton Cove to the town of Chinook is riprapped to protect State Route 401 and Highway 101. As a result, most of the historical estuarine tributaries that once served as off-channel habitat for migrating and spawning salmon have been disconnected from the Columbia mainstem by inappropriately sized and placed culverts. Fish presence studies conducted by NOAA on the Columbia River mainstem indicate that the North Channel is the primary route taken by outgoing juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River system. Therefore, reconnecting off-channel rearing habitat necessary for migrating salmonids along this widely used route is vitally important for improving salmonid survival for ESA listed fishes in the Estuary.
The Megler Creek project involves the replacement of an undersized 48-inch diameter corrugated metal pipe culvert, located beneath SR 401, with a concrete box culvert (25-foot span, 10-foot rise, 65-feet long). In addition to the removal of a fish passage barrier the project restored nearly 300 linear feet of Megler Creek to its historic estuarine condition. Restoration actions consisted of the excavation of accreted materials to pre-disturbance elevation and gradients, placement of large wood habitat structures, and extensive native plantings along Megler Creek.
The complete list of project partners and funders includes:
- Bonneville Power Administration
- National Park Service- Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
- Washington State Department of Transportation
- Washington Department of Natural Resources
- Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board
- Salmon Recovery Funding Board
- Pacific Marine & Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service