InStream Conservation

Helping Fish

Helping Fish

In 2001 the East Fork Lewis, now a Sanctuary River, was declared one of the 10 most endangered rivers in the US by American Rivers. It’s native steelhead were identified as most at risk by the International Federation of Flyfishers. Today, 14 years later the severely wounded East Fork is still bleeding heavy sediment loads due in part to past gravel mining. This fine sediment is smothering salmon redds, reducing property values, while inundating the lower river and beyond. This is a tragedy beyond comprehension, yet as you read this the carnage continues on the lower East Fork below Daybreak Bridge. The proven restoration technology is here. Let’s use it to bring these legendary steelhead back!


Since the founding of the Washington State Salmon Recovery Board in 1999, how many of the 1,200 Habitat Restoration Projects constructed to help save our salmon and steelhead, at the cost of $332 million dollars, are still functioning as intended in 2014?

The following is a specific example why we need monitoring.

Dr. W. Barry Southerland and Dr. Frank Reckendorf completed a 5-year post project appraisal, they found a significant percent of the 39 ELJs (Engineered Log Jambs) they studied, did not meet the stated objectives and/or failed. The life expectancy and bank protection of ELJs is a concern when streambank protection is the primary objective. There are risks associated with wood that rapidly becomes mobile at high stage flows without proper design and installation. I think you must agree, this constitutes an enormous concern and a highly probable misuse (or highly questionable use) of tax and ratepayers money spent on design that doesn’t address the specific problem and in many cases, are responsible for the loss of ESA listed salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat. To improve success all ELJs need to be evaluated by qualified personnel at two, five and 10-year periods, and audited when failures are found. To insure proper technology is applied to a stream problem, there are restoration alternatives to explore using fish friendly, science and engineering based habitat restoration following NRCS Handbook #654 guidelines and other science based literature.

The following experts are leaders in the field and have evaluated thousands of miles of river habitat and successfully completed hundreds of river restoration projects, across the country. Dr. Frank Reckendorf, Private Consultant and retired NRCS WNTC Fluvial Geomorphologist Phone: (503) 451-2130 Email: Dr. Barry Southerland, Fluvial Geomorphologist, CPESC#514WNTSC, NRCS Phone: (503) 273-2436 Email: Richard Dyrland, Ms – Supervisory Hydrologist Phone: 360-887-0866 Email:

Russ Lawrence, P.E., M.Sc., Fluvial Geomorphologist Streamfix Phone: 503-631-8184 Email:

The tax and rate payers and our ESA listed salmon and steelhead deserve better. Let’s make use of this unparalleled talent now!