DUPONT – On December 17th, the Sequalitchew Creek Watershed Restoration Planning Core Group adopted a set of recommended actions to restore the Sequalitchew Creek Watershed. Representatives from the Department of Ecology, Nisqually Indian Tribe, CalPortland, JBLM, a coalition of environmental organizations, the Sequalitchew Creek Watershed Council, Pierce County, and the City of DuPont all served on the Core Group.
“I have been working in this watershed for 25 years, and today marks monumental progress,” said David Troutt, Natural Resources director for the Nisqually Indian Tribe. “The desire to restore Sequalitchew Creek has long existed, but we have lacked a shared vision for restoration. Today we have a well-developed plan which we can act upon together.”
City of DuPont Mayor Michael Grayum noted that “Sequalitchew Creek has an extensive historic, economic, and cultural significance for the Pacific Northwest.” Sequalitchew Creek is the home of the trading post and historic Fort Nisqually site established in the 1800’s by the Hudson Bay Company. “The City of DuPont has a rich history related to the use of our natural resources, which continues today with a renewed emphasis on preservation and restoration. The recommended actions adopted will help promote environmental health, tourism, recreation, and continued economic growth in our community.”
The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) led the facilitation of the Core Group and the creation of a plan. In September 2012, the Core Group adopted a vision to “identify actions and probable project costs necessary to restore flows and ecological conditions suitable for native salmonid populations in the Sequalitchew Creek Basin.” The Core Group developed the plan through a series of four workshops, extensive technical analysis, and two well attended public stakeholder meetings to solicit input and comments on the plan.
Highlights of the recommended actions include:
• Working with Pierce County, JBLM, and others to manage beaver activity in the watershed.
• Restoring the dry reach of the creek between Center Drive and West Edmond Marsh to allow salmon to use the entire watershed.
• Replacing a section of the DuPont Railroad Trail with a bridge to encourage water to flow more freely through Edmond Marsh, and allow fish access to the eastern part of the marsh.
Mayor Grayum complimented SPSSEG and the Core Group on their work, saluting the power of multiple stakeholders coming together to support a common vision for restoration of this watershed.
Tom Skjervold, who represented the Environmental Caucus throughout the negotiation of the settlement agreement and restoration plan said: “This process was supported by a broad array of stakeholders and community members. It represents a well-reasoned approach to restoration.”
Lance Winecka, Executive Director of SPSSEG, characterized the final recommended actions as following a sequenced approach, one which uses adaptive management to build on previous success, allowing for change and improvement over time.
Core Group members also emphasized their hope that DuPont residents would become involved in implementation of the plan, assisting with removal of trash and unwanted vegetation, planting native plants, and monitoring beaver activity and water levels throughout the system.
In 2011, the CalPortland Company, the City of DuPont, the Washington Department of Ecology, and a coalition of environmental groups known in the agreement as the Environmental Caucus (Tahoma Audubon, Black Hills Audubon, Nisqually Delta Association and several others), signed an agreement called the 2011 Settlement Agreement for DuPont Mine, Restoration of Sequalitchew Creek Watershed, and Preservation of Puget Sound Shorelands and Adjacent Open Space. This agreement is related to a proposed continuance and expansion of the historic mineral resource extraction that has occurred in DuPont, with a creative, collaborative, more effective approach to mitigation. The Settlement Agreement called forth South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) to lead a multi?stakeholder effort to develop this restoration plan for the Sequalitchew Creek Watershed. Funding for the planning process was provided by CalPortland. The Core Group’s recommendations for a Restoration Plan are available on the City of DuPont’s website.