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Get Involved

Get Involved

Everyone in the Chehalis Watershed has a Role in Protecting and Restoring Salmon

For Grant Applicants


Have you been approached about being a sponsor of a salmon grant for the first time? Have you sponsored a project before and just want a reminder about this year’s process? This section is here to help! The information below is for you if you are a:

  • Local agency (County, City, Port)
  • State agency working in the Chehalis Basin
  • Native American Tribe
  • Nonprofit (Land Trust or other Non-profit organization)
  • Conservation District
  • Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group
  • Landowner with land in the Chehalis Basin

Types of projects funded through SRFB:

Acquisition, including purchase or other property rights
Restoration of degraded, damaged or destroyed habitat
Non-capital projects: assessments, design, inventories, studies
Design-only projects that lead to preliminary or final design
Combination acquisition/ restoration projects

Desired Projects

The goal of the Chehalis Lead Entity is to help get funding for projects that will do the most to help salmon in the Chehalis Basin. The Habitat Work Group is working on  identifying the types of projects needed to address high priority needs. Contact the Lead Entity Coordinator to get the latest resources on what types of projects are high priority.

Steps for Getting Your Project Ready

Do you have a project in mind? This section will help. Salmon habitat projects and activities must employ one or more of the strategies listed in the Chehalis Basin Salmon Habitat Restoration and Preservation Strategy for consideration by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. If you don’t know if your project aligns with this Strategy, check:

If you have a project in mind and you want to become a project sponsor:

  • Download Manual 18, the official guidance on the Salmon Recovery Grants program.
  •  This Manual is updated annually, so even if you are familiar with it, check for the latest version to make sure you are following all the appropriate steps.
  • Review the project ranking Criteria to see how your project will be evaluated.

Things to consider in developing your project:

  • If you plan to correct a passage barrier: What other barriers are there upstream? How much habitat is there upstream?
  • What species of salmonids are present in the sub-basin?
  • What is the landuse in the sub-basin?
  • What is the future land use of this sub-basin? What other regulations might affect the future of this sub-basin?
  • What is the water quality in this basin?
  • What are the salmonid life-stage uses of this basin?
  • What are the stream dynamics upstream that will affect this project over the long term?
  • How do I develop a stream habitat restoration strategy?

Resources to help answer those questions:

Steps for Application

Once you are ready to apply:

There are several steps to applying for a SRFB grant in the Chehalis Basin Lead Entity process. Chehalis Basin SRFB grant proposals must be submitted through the Chehalis Lead Entity and must meet recovery goals as outlined in the Chehalis Basin Salmon Habitat Restoration and Preservation Strategy for WRIA 22 and 23. A full description of the local process is outlined in Section 9 of this plan.

Steps for application:

Application Timeline

Every year, different components of the Salmon Recovery Funding cycle take place at approximately the same time. See the Calendar for the dates of this year’s grant round. The current year’s schedule can be found here: 2023 Grant Round timeline

JanuaryConceptual Project Form Due to Lead Entity Coordinator
February / MarchComplete application due in PRISM
January - MarchProject presentations to Habitat Work Group
AprilTechnical Review Team and State Reviewers visit sites of proposed projects
MayTechnical Review Team ranks projects
JuneFinal materials due in PRISM and process complete for project sponsors.
AugustRegion submits recommendations for funding, including alternate projects
SeptemberSRFB Announces Funding Decisions!
October - DecemberSponsors develop new project concepts and submit Conceptual Forms as needed

Other Sources of Project Funding

Whether you’re looking for a match for your Salmon Recovery funding, or your project is outside the scope of Salmon Recovery funding, the list below will help you find financial resources to complete your project:

  • Washington State – Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board (FBRB) Funding is available to address severe fish passage barriers.  Funds come from the legislature during its two-year funding cycle. Applications open November 1, 2021.
  • Washington State – Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) The Family Forest Fish Passage Program provides funding to small forest landowners to repair or remove fish passage barriers. Cannot be used as match for SRFB.
  • Washington Coast –   Washington Coast Restoration and Resiliency Initiative (WCCRI). The grant program is aimed at proactively addressing the region’s highest priority restoration and resiliency needs and putting people to work restoring coastal lands and waters. Projects must address the region’s highest priority ecological protection and restoration needs while stimulating economic growth and creating jobs in coastal communities.
  • Washington State Washington Wildlife Recreation Program. Includes category for funding habitat conservation. Lead Entities may apply for riparian protection funding, but must provide a 50% match in resources contributed to the project.
  • USDA/WCC – Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program pays landowners a lease fee in exchange for creating and planting fenced riparian buffer areas. These voluntary riparian buffers cannot be cropped or grazed, and must be maintained for 10 to 15 years, depending on the lease. In addition to the annual rental payment, the program reimburses the cost of fencing and planting. Funding is mostly from the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Administration, with a state cost share provided through the Washington Conservation Commission.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) –  Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Provides financial and technical assistance to landowners (farmers, ranchers and foresters) that will improve habitat for salmon. NRCS funds planting, fencing, irrigation improvements, barrier correction, instream habitat improvements, and more. Read more here.
  • Chehalis Basin StrategyAquatic Species Restoration Plan Projects The Chehalis Basin Strategy is a program with a dual objective or reducing flood damage and improving aquatic species habitat. Learn more about  funding available for habitat projects on the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan page.
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service. Grants for improving habitat for aquatic species are awarded annual. Click here for the latest grant overview.
  • Water Quality Grants Applications for the following grants are due once per year, with applications accepted in September. See website for this year’s deadline.
  • Department of Ecology – Centennial Grant Program This program is funded by state dollars, provided primarily via the State Building Construction Account. The Centennial program provides grants for water quality infrastructure and nonpoint source pollution projects to improve and protect water quality. Eligible infrastructure projects are limited to wastewater treatment construction projects for financially distressed communities. Eligible nonpoint projects include stream restoration and buffers, on-site septic repair and replacement, education and outreach, and other eligible nonpoint activities.
  • Department of Ecology – Clean Water Act Section 319 Grant Program The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides Section 319 grant funds to Washington State with the state required to provide 40 percent match in funding. The Section 319 program provides grants to eligible nonpoint source pollution control projects similar to the state Centennial program.
  • Department of Ecology – Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program Provided for by the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program is funded via an annual EPA capitalization grant, state matching funds, and principal and interest repayments on past CWSRF loans. This program provides low interest and forgivable principal loan funding for wastewater treatment construction projects, eligible nonpoint source pollution control projects, and eligible Green projects.
  • Department of Ecology Floodplains by Design  Details about the RFP, the application process, and our new Floodplains by Design Funding Guidelines are available at Floodplain Management | SEA Program | Washington State Department of Ecology
  • **New** A Funding Library for the Washington Coast!  This website has a comprehensive list of the above funding programs, and more! Includes upcoming funding program deadlines.

How to Find Partners

The following resources may be useful in developing and implementing your project:

  • Washington Conservation Corps. The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group can provide a crew to implement riparian planting, large woody debris placement, and other projects. For more information, contact Tamara Cowles: tamara (at) pnwsalmoncenter (dot)org / (360) 275-3575, ext 24
  • Habitat Work Group.  Attend a Habitat Work Group meeting and learn what others working on restoration and protection in the Chehalis are doing. Meeting schedule can be found on our calendar.

For Landowners

Are you interested in making a stream on your land a better place for salmon?

If so, the information below can help. The Chehalis Basin Lead Entity coordinates getting State Salmon Recovery Funding to public and private landowners to conduct voluntary restoration and protection on their land. Since 1999, we have helped get funding to 141 projects around the Basin. The types of projects that have been completed in our basin include:

  • Removing barriers to salmon migration
  • Planting native shrubs and trees on stream banks
  • Installing large woody material to create habitat in a stream
  • Protecting key habitat areas through property acquisition


The following are examples of salmon recovery projects:

Planting native plants along a stream
Adding wood to a stream
Slowing the negative effects of erosion
Putting some of your land into a conservation easement or land trust
Replacing barriers to fish migration

Get Technical Assistance

Planting along newly created channel, October 2016

Conservation Districts provide resources to help landowners complete voluntary projects on their land.  Each of the four counties in the Chehalis Watershed have their own Conservation District.

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program helps eligible landowners plant trees around streams. The Irrigation Efficiencies program helps private landowners save water and aid in salmon recovery.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has other resources to help you out. Their “EQIP” program can pay to replace fish-blocking culverts, plantings, fencing, stock watering, and more. Contact NRCS to get financial and technical assistance to make improvements to your land that will improve its function and benefit salmon. Read More here: NRCS Program Details

How to Make your Property "Salmon Friendly"

JB McCrummen's 21 acres of paradise in rural Rochester includes a great variety of native plant species designed to attract the property's diverse wildlife — among them these native cherries from one of the property's many cherry trees. Adding native plants to your land is one way to help recover salmon populations.  Below is information about some local native plant nurseries that can help you get started adding native plants to your land:

  • Sound Native Plants, Inc., Olympia, WA, T: (360) 352-4122  www.soundnativeplants.com
  • Black Lake Organic Nursery and Garden Store, 4711 Black Lake Blvd Sw Olympia, WA 98512, www.blacklakeorganic.com 
  • Rochester Greenhouse – Weyerhauser Company, 7935 Highway 12 SW, Rochester, WA (360) 273-5527
  • SilvaSeed, 317 James St. Roy, WA, T: 253.843.2246, www.silvaseed.com 
  • Aldrich Berry Farm & Nursery: 190 Alddrich Rd, Mossyrock, WA (360) 983-3138
  • Watershed Garden Works. 2039 – 44th Ave. Longview, WA 98632. (360) 423-6456
  • Tree Management Plus. PO Box 311. Ethel, WA 98542. (360) 978-5305
  • WACD Plant Materials Center. 16564 Bradley Rd. Bow, WA 98232.  (360) 757-1094
  • Banksavers Nursery & Landscaping. 25525 Dahl Road. Arlington, WA 98223. (360) 629-4960
  • River Refuge Seed Company (seed only)26366 Gap Road. Brownsville, OR 97327. (541) 466-5309


How to Reduce Bank Erosion and Help Salmon

Bank_protection_wood_toeEroding river banks are prevalent throughout the Chehalis River and its tributaries.  Erosion is a natural process, but changes we’ve made in our watershed can make increase the extent and magnitude of erosion. Fortunately, there are techniques for reducing the negative impacts of bank erosion on private property while improving fish habitat. These include:

  • Protecting the existing “first defense” to bank erosion: native shrubs and trees along the river’s edge
  • Looking after the “toe” of an eroding bank by leaving wood in a stream, or employing bioengineer approaches to enhance the bank, if needed.

Learn more about the causes and mechanics of bank erosion and solutions in this illustrated PBank_erosion_screenshotower Point presentation: Bank Erosion Causes and Solutions.   Conservation Districts can visit your property and help determine what sort of work you can do to slow bank erosion on your property. If you live in Lewis County, contact: Lewis County Conservation District. In Grays Harbor County, contact: Grays Harbor Conservation District. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife can help determine what kinds of projects you can get a permit for on your land.  If you live in Lewis County, contact: Scott Brummer: brummsjb(at)dfw.wa.gov. In Grays Harbor County, Contact: Megan Tuttle, Megan.Tuttle(at)dfw.wa.gov. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is currently working on a Bank Erosion and Protection Strategy for the entire Chehalis Basin.  Check back here for guidance on how to develop a bank protection project, and where to get funding, in the coming months.

Living With Beaver

Beaver and their habit of creating ponds provide many benefits to watersheds and salmon, but their activities on the land can be distressing to landowners.  There is an organization called “Beavers Northwest” that has tips about how to co-exist with beaver.  They’ve put together a brochure, available for download here, with more information on their website:

Got Beavers? Coexistence Strategies.

Learn More about Your Stream

Do you know what kinds of fish use the streams near your property? Do you know if fish migration is blocked by barriers upstream or downstream? To answer those questions, check out “SalmonScape, an interactive online map with information about fish in streams throughout Washington. SalmonScape_image

How to Find a Project Sponsor

If you want to get started on completing a salmon recovery project on your land, your first step is to find a Project Sponsor in your area. The Salmon Recovery Funding grant application process is complex and competitive, and having a Sponsor who has gone through this process before will increase your chances of getting your project funded. If the project is successfully funded by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Project Sponsor also implements the project. Consider contacting a local Conservation District or Fisheries Enhancement Group in your region to ask if they would serve as your project’s sponsor. Sponsors of past projects in our watershed include:

Lower Chehalis/ Grays HarborChehalis Basin Fisheries Task Forcehttp://www.cbftf.com/
Lewis CountyLewis Conservation Districthttps://lewisconservation.wordpress.com/
Lewis CountyLewis County Public Workshttps://lewiscountywa.gov/departments/public-works/
Grays Harbor CountyGrays Harbor Conservation Districthttps://www.graysharborcd.org/
Thurston CountyCapitol Land Trusthttps://capitollandtrust.org/
Thurston CountyThurston Conservation Districthttps://www.thurstoncd.com/
Mason CountyMason Conservation Districthttps://www.masoncd.org/
BasinwideTrout UnlimitedAlex Gustafson alex.gustafson(at)tu.org
Middle ChehalisChehalis Confederated Tribeshttps://www.chehalistribe.org/
Chehalis BasinChehalis River Basin Land Trusthttp://www.chehalislandtrust.org/
Chehalis BasinWild Fish Conservancyhttp://wildfishconservancy.org/
Chehalis BasinDucks Unlimitedhttps://www.ducks.org/Washington
Lower Chehalis/ Grays HarborWA Dept. of Fish and WildlifeMegan Tuttle, Region 6 megan.tuttle(at)dfw.wa.gov
Centralia City LimitsCity of Centraliahttp://www.cityofcentralia.com/
The Salmon Recovery Grant Program is a bottoms-up driven process. The ideas and activities driving this process come from people living and working throughout the basin.

How to Find Project Partners

The following resources may be useful in developing and implementing your project:

  • Habitat Work Group. Come learn what other restoration work is happening in the Chehalis Basin and meet others to collaborate with at this monthly meeting. See Calendar for details.
  • Washington Conservation Corps. The Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group can provide a crew to implement riparian planting, large woody debris placement, and other projects. For more information, contact Tamara Cowles: tamara (at) pnwsalmoncenter (dot)org / (360) 275-3575, ext 24

Salmon Hero Stories

esd5_sm Everyone has a role in salmon habitat protection and restoration.  Below are links to stories about residents of the Chehalis Basin who are working to protect natural resources through works on their land and in their community.

Laura Lopez and Sam Howell: Inspirational Couple Join Community Conservation Efforts

Robert and Lecia Criswell Team up With Neighbors to Tackle Invasive Japanese Knotweed in the Wynoochee Valley

Grays Harbor College Fish Labbers – Passionate about Sustainability

Montesano School Teacher is a Watershed Hero

Chanele Holbrook, a Tenino Watershed Hero

Long time Elma farmer nourishes land and wildlife

Lewis County Juvenile Detention work crew helps

Adna landowners revitalize wetlands and salmon habitat

Rochester man enhances homesite to help preserve natural resources

McCleary resident a Strong voice for the Chehalis Basin

Homeowners association leads charge to enhance its backyard

Elma man helps restore local watershed for resurgent coho

High School scientists monitor and preserve lake for generations to come

Lake Lucinda community celebrates conservation success

Wisner Creek project restores channel, fight back reed canary grass

Oakville Resident transforms untamed pasture into lush oak savannah

For Volunteers

Opportunities to help out in your community:  .

  • Lewis County Stream Team — *New!** Want to help plant trees and restore watersways in Lewis County? Get involved by contacting Kenna: Kenna.fosnacht@lewiscdwa.com
  • Centralia Stream TeamWant to be a part of the solution to creek pollution? Join the Centralia Stream Team, which has focused their efforts on cleaning up and restoring their beloved community creek “China Creek” that flows through the City of Centralia. For more information please contact Kim Ashmore (360) 330-7512 or email kashmore@cityofcentralia.com
  • Grays Harbor Stream Team: The Grays Harbor Stream Team is a coalition of students, educators, citizen volunteers, local agencies, and non-profit organizations dedicated to the protection and restoration of streams that flow through the Chehalis River and into Grays Harbor.  Planned projects include trash removal and invasive species removal from the shorelines of area streams and the estuary, as well as outreach and education about the sources of biological pollution, and what citizens can do to make Grays Harbor’s waterways cleaner. To join their mailing list, write to Alexa Brown at: graysharborstreamteam@gmail.com.
  • Chehalis River Basin Land Trust: Is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving natural lands in the Chehalis River Basin.  Currently they have over 3,000 acres of protected land. Follow the link to find out about their volunteer opportunities. Or contact office@chehalislandtrust.org
  • Clean Streams and Memes: Clean Streams and Memes is a movement to clean up the garbage off the riverbeds, shorelines, and creek banks in the Grays Harbor area of Washington. They have had weekly cleanup events on most weeks since the program started in February of 2013.
  • Capitol Land Trust.  The land trust stewards natural areas throughout the south Puget Sound region and occasionally has volunteer opportunities in the Chehalis watershed. Check out their website for more details!

icon-fb-sm Chehalis Basin Partnership icon-fb-sm Clean Streams and Memes M.Wagoner2

Photo by Michaela Wagoner, Age 16

Picture by Michaela Wagoner, Age 16

Here are some fun volunteer activities you can do in your own neighborhood.

Fish Passage Viewer Tour: How to find the nearest fish passage in your neighborhood or town and share what you find with the Grays Harbor Stream Team.

Backyard Invasive Plant Removal: How to identify, remove, and dispose of common invasive plants and share with the Grays Harbor Stream Team.

Neighborhood Cleanups – Social Distancing Style: How to safely pick up garbage in your area and share with the Grays Harbor Stream Team.


For Educators and Students

Here are some documents for reading, listening, and sharing.

Wood in Water is Good for Salmon Did you know that wood in the water provides diverse, complex habitat for salmon and other creatures. The more complex a system is, the better it is for fish? Read these and other facts on this fact sheet!





Beavers: Vital for Salmon and a Healthy Chehalis Watershed.  Beavers do amazing things that help our watershed and salmon. Learn everything you ever wanted to know – and more – in this comprehensive guide to the work of these ecosystem engineers. Watch a video of a Chehalis River beaver lodge here!






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These documents summarize the details of the biologically distinct parts of the Chehalis, known as Ecological Regions, as is described the Aquatic Species Restoration Plan. Make sure to click on the pictures and links for more information!

Black Hills Ecological Region

Black River Ecological Region

Cascade Mountains Ecological Region

Chehalis Tidal Ecological Region

Lower Chehalis River Ecological Region

Olympic Mountain Ecological Region

Willapa Hills Ecological Region:

The Pacific Lamprey is an interesting anadromous fish native to the rivers of the Pacific Northwest to learn more about this ancient fish read this fact sheet!



Chehalis Basin Native Freshwater Mussels! Our native mussels can live up to 100 years old and work hard to keep our rive water clean!  Learn more by clicking on the title in blue.  Additional resources on how to conduct restoration projects without hurting mussels can be found here:
Conservation Guidelines

Conservation Guidelines II

                                  __                          Mussel-friendly Restoration

Click here to download this Estuaries & Salmon, an Essential Relationship PDF document:

Conserve Water, Protect Salmon.  Here are tips on what you can do to conserve water at home and keep water in our streams where salmon need them.

Want something educational to watch?

Here is the link to a virtual riparian zone tour: https://youtu.be/NkqRpHKxdow

Here is the link to a virtual tide pool tourhttps://youtu.be/8R8m7q8ldzE

See underwater images of spawning Chum Salmon in the East Fork Satsop by clicking here!

Learn about how improving fish passage helps salmonWatch here!

Diagram of a Salmon Life-Cycle:  All of our work to help salmon needs to be grounded in understanding when the different life stages of salmon are living in freshwater streams.  This life-cycle diagram is the first step.