Development debris equals smiling salmon
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:34 AM
"Root balls and logs might not be good for new car dealership lots, but they're great for salmon creeks and streams.Members of the Illahee Community Club made a lot of salmon happy Monday, Aug. 6, when they added several tree root balls and tree trunk sections to Illahee Creek just west of the Illahee Road culvert.Obtaining the tree parts and strategically placing them involved cooperation between the county and the community.Irwin Krigsman, through whose property the creek runs from the road, obtained a grant to fund the project.Several neighbors, including Jim Trainor, Paul Stensen, and brother and sister Taylor and Kendal Mantzke, teamed with Rick McNicholas of the county Department of Community Development and Brian Stahl of the Conservation District to place the logs.Trainor, who is also Puget Sound Energy's community forester, helped load a root ball - a snarled bundle of tree roots, with the tree lopped off about two inches above it - onto a flat wagon and pull it to the streamside. McNicholas and Stahl, in the stream, helped guide it into place.The root balls and log segments will create eddies and pools in which salmon can rest on their journeys upstream to spawn, and again when the young salmon are ready to return to the ocean.The water's low now, Stensen pointed out as the swift water gurgled over rocks in the stream near the road. But as it rises it forms a pool for the fish to rest in.Said Krigsman, Some of the logs were placed when the culvert was built, but they stick up in the water. They're not doing what they're supposed to.Although there's no summer chum run at Chums Run, which Irwin and Judith Krigsman named their historic home, the stream improvements will be ready for the coho returning in the fall.We didn't see any chum this year, Krigsman said. But there were lots of coho, we counted 65 reds, and there are a lot of fry (young salmon) up the creek.Coho males turn bright red during spawning season.There was a discussion about the placement of one log near where the stream takes a right turn and seems to disappear under the bank.The water eddies around the log and eats the bank faster, one of the men said.But Krigsman said it wouldn't.Logs are ideal in lowering the flow of the water for salmon habitat, he said.He had a new obstruction in his portion of the stream since he hosted a neighborhood work crew to plant salmon fry in the upper reaches of the creek last spring.One of the moss-covered ornamental trees, which Trainor said might be a hawthorn, had toppled over branches first, then into the water.I was going to remove it, but then this is just what we want in the first place, he said.Krigsman applied for a $2,500 county Surface and Storm Water Management grant last fall to hire a logger to find the logs and root balls, a chainsaw winch to move them, and a landscaper to set the tree parts.McNicholas got involved because the community development office administers the grants.They advertised the grants in the newspaper, but I wasn't going to mess with it because of all the paperwork. But Kathy (Stensen) and Judy said, 'aw, go ahead', Krigsman said.So he did. And they were pleasantly surprised that they didn't have to hire a logger, or a landscaper, and had money left over to buy more trees later.The folks over at the Bremerton Wastewater Treatment Plant were doing some clearing at the new auto complex on State Route 3. We got word of it. I asked if they could save some (of the logs), and they said yes, Krigsman said.Then Brem-Air Disposal brought its truck and crane and picked them up and delivered them at the beginning of July, Krigsman said.They did buy the chainsaw winch, but We're giving it to SSWM, for the Stream Team to use, he added.We couldn't have done it without the citizens of Bremerton, he said of the project. That's the neat thing, you can always count on the people around here for help. "