Investment in removing fish barriers pays many dividends

Small woodland owners own 3.2 million acres of Washington’s forests—about half of the private forestland in the state. State regulations enacted to comply with federal protections for salmon and other migrating fish require all forest landowners to remove barriers to migrating fish in streams associated with forest road crossings. To a small forest landowner, the cost can be substantial and, potentially, influence their decisions about converting their forestland to another use.

The Family Forest Fish Passage Program helps reduce the regulatory and monetary burdens on small family forest landowners and to restore habitat for fish. This state-funded program has paid dividends: since 2003, 844 miles of fish habitat have been reconnected and 368 fish barriers have been eliminated.

It is estimated that for every $100,000 invested in fish passage projects, 1.57 local jobs are created during the construction season. This estimate does not include the additional indirect jobs created, such as manufacturing culverts and bridges.

The program is poised to do a lot more. Learn more about how small forest landowners can get help to remove fish-blocking structures from their streams. www.dnr.wa.gov/fffpp