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Scope/Content: Abstract: This report addresses the need and justification for implementing a restoration project along Goldsborough Creek located in the southern Olympic Mountains in western Washington. An existing dam structure located at river mile 2.3 on Goldsborough Creek and associated channel degradation and instability has created a bottleneck in the system that hinders upstream and downstream passage of fish. The dam actually consists of four separate structures or steps with the largest drop at 14 feet and the total vertical drop over the dam of 35 feet. Under the existing conditions access to 14 miles of high value habitat area is severely restricted. Five species of anadromous salmonids (coho, chinook and chum salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout) inhabit the lower reach of the creek. Only two of these species, coho and steelhead, can sometimes ascend the existing project reach. Chum salmon are unable to jump high enough to use the present passage facility, and cutthroat trout are too small to manage this passage, these species stand to gain the most significant benefit from restoration. Though chinook have been seen below the dam, they have not been observed above. Each of the species would have significantly higher reliability of accessing the upper watershed with the project in place and would benefit from more stable channel and habitat conditions. However, greater fish numbers tell only part of the story envisioned by the group of tribal, state and federal government and industry officials working together to remove the dam on Goldsborough Creek. With spawning and rearing habitat being continually lost to development throughout the Puget Sound area, the importance of a healthy, useable watershed takes on increasing significance. The Goldsborough Creek watershed is largely undeveloped, most of the watershed is designated long-term forestland in the Mason County Growth Management Plan, and the remainder is designated as rural. What makes this project so appealing is that the dam is the bottleneck to the entire Goldsborough Creek watershed system, and the environmental return in terms of habitat available is so much greater than just what will be accomplished in the project area.
Alternative analysis Ecology and river restoration Dams Dam retirement
Goldsborough Creek, WA Goldsborough Creek Dam United States