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City gets grant to study river restoration

Salmon spawning up the Cedar River this past October. - File Photo.
Salmon spawning up the Cedar River this past October.
— image credit: File Photo.

The City of Renton this month received a $150,000 grant to develop and implement salmon-friendly projects along the Cedar River.

The grant, from the Puget Sound Recovery Council, is designed to help the city determine the best ways to improve and restore the lower section of the Cedar River, which passes through the heart of downtown on its way to Lake Washington.

According to Renton Surface Water Utility Engineering Supervisor Ron Straka, the idea behind the grant is to study the area and see what could be done in the future, since this grant includes no money for building projects.

“It sets us up for future grants,” he said.

Straka said the primary focus would be the lower Cedar River, which stretches from Interstate 405 to the lake and is heavily developed but still a “critical” area for salmon, which spawn up the Cedar every year.

“The lower Cedar River is really important as far as improving habitat,” he said.

According to Straka, one of the problems with the lower section of the river, for example, is that it has created something of a “monoculture” habitat of rolling waters, and it might be beneficial to the fish and wildlife to create more pools, perhaps through the use of stumps or boulders.

There could also be new plantings or repairs of vegetation, including the possibility of moving the trail back from the river’s banks some, to create more shade to help keep the water cooler and more conducive to the fish.

But doing that could end up creating other problems with the river, such as possibly exacerbating flooding. Straka said they just don’t know if that would be the case and this grant should help the city determine what can be done.

Straka said the city would work with other agencies to develop a restoration plan for the river, including the feasibility of projects, given the restraints of the development in the area.

The plan will then be presented to the public.

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