Laying down the gravel-work

Doug Morse spilled the gravel from the third Fred Hill Materials truck into the new channel last week. - Photo by Valentina Petrova
Doug Morse spilled the gravel from the third Fred Hill Materials truck into the new channel last week.
— image credit: Photo by Valentina Petrova

Ron Ross Jr. peered into a muddy channel off of Clear Creek that he had spent more than 40 hours laboring over. He volunteered his time and the heavy equipment from the family’s Royal Valley LLC. The result — a 250-foot loop off the creek, just north of Waaga Way, destined for a spawning area for wild salmon.

“I was pretty confident I’d be able to get everything donated and I said I’ll do it for free,” Ross said.

Last Tuesday he was directing Fred Hill Materials driver who steered four truck-fulls of gravel, donated by the Poulsbo-based company.

The rocks shot into the air and formed an arch splashing into the hollow water in the channel where tree stumps and large roots, courtesy of Williams Wood Waste, already lay.

The gravel was “spawning-size” and a good place for the bugs on the salmon’s menu to hide in.

“You’re not throwing boulders in and you’re not throwing aquarium-size gravel,” said biologist Paul Dorn, salmon recovery coordinator for the Suquamish Tribe.

The wood bits on the bottom of the channel also serve a dual purpose. The salmon can use the stumps as hiding places and insects gain a nutrient source.

Dorn, who is the idea-master behind the project, says the purpose is to create another vibrant habitat for “a wealth of animals” not just fish. He said he hopes there will be other similar efforts to foster habitats for salmon populations because “you can have a lot of people or a lot of salmon but not a lot of both.”

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