The Morse Creek watershed needs our help to return it to a salmon bearing stream.
Here is a description:
Issue: Morse Creek is the largest of the independent drainages to salt water between the Dungeness and Elwha rivers, entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca approximately 2 miles east of Port Angeles. The stream extends 16.3 miles from its headwaters in the Olympic National Park. Its moderate watershed (52.7+ mi2)1 drains steep headwaters, including Hurricane Ridge, Mount Angeles, and Deer Park. Fishery stocks known to have inhabited Morse Creek include spring/summer chinook, coho, chum, and pink salmon, summer and winter steelhead, and searun cutthroat trout. Natural falls at river mile 4.9 divide the watershed, posing an impassable barrier to anadromous fish (Haring 1999), and a resident population of rainbow trout occurs above the falls. The City of Port Angeles holds water rights on Morse Creek for both hydropower generation and for emergency back-up water supply (see Section 2.6.7 for more details and a map). With the planned removal of the Elwha dams, the City is reserving its Morse Creek water right for emergency domestic water supply. The Limiting Factors Analysis (LFA) (Haring, 1999) has identified water quality and/or habitat recommendations to address on this stream.
Here are some of the Gov't recommendations:
Habitat Restoration: Respecting existing property rights and working with willing property owners, seek opportunities to restore habitat and recover salmonids. Where possible and as needed, based on habitat and changing conditions, achieve the following objectives using tools such as conservation easements, donations, purchases, and City or County planning, zoning and critical areas ordinances and regulations:
a. Restorestreammeandersinthelowerriver,belowandimmediately above the Highway 101 bridge (the WDFW properties).
b. Encourage conifer regeneration in deciduous stands along the creek.
c. Restore and protect natural stream banks, including natural riparian vegetation.
d. Restoreandprotectestuarineandnearshoremarineproperly functioning conditions. Eliminate or mitigate nearshore and shoreline structures where these impair properly functioning conditions. However, continue to protect the Olympic Discovery Trail. Restore drift processes and recruitment of marine sediments to the west of Morse Creek.
i. Conduct a feasibility study addressing both estuary and drift cell restoration.
ii. Determine sediment sources (whether from Morse Creek or longshore drift).
iii. Collaborate with and educate landowners. Encourage affected landowner involvement.