Mail:   Phone: 1-360-276-8211 x7001

River Restoration

Quinault River Restoration Project

Quinault River Restoration Project
The goal of the river restoration project is to create sustainability of the Blueback Salmon

The Quinault River Restoration Project is restoring the Quinault River system to support healthy runs of prized blueback (sockeye) salmon and is a top priority for the Quinault Indian Nation. The Quinault Division of Natural Resources Fisheries Department is overseeing the creation of engineered log jams above Lake Quinault to expand salmon spawning habitat.

Although blueback populations are still relatively healthy in the Quinault River, they have been rapidly declining since the 1950s. Blueback were once a key component in local, natural nutrient-cycling and ecosystem processes and provided a primary source of income and subsistence for many Quinault families.

Over the past century, removal of old-growth forests and large woody debris destabilized the Quinault River floodplain and resulted in a nearly complete loss of cool, stable, off-channel salmon habitat where blueback can spawn.  The Upper Quinault River above Lake Quinault now comprises immature red alder growing in a shallow, braided river with few side channels.

Quinault River Restoration Log Jams

Quinault River Restoration Project
Creating engineered log jams for salmon habitat recovery

In 2007, the Quinault Indian Nation declared that recovery of the blueback to sustainable levels was a national priority. The QDNR Fisheries Department completed a long-term (100-year) restoration plan for the Upper Quinault River that focuses on land acquisition and restoration projects. In 2008 the QIN began engineering and constructing log jams in the Alder Creek portion of the Upper Quinault River floodplain.

The massive log jams are carefully built to form natural pools and channels that salmon will use. In some cases spruce, alder or cottonwoods are planted on or along the log jams to help establish a new floodplain forest that will stabilize the river channels and sediment.

Fifteen log jams were built in the first four years with financial support from The Nature Conservancy, the Wild Salmon Center, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Fisheries Senior Scientist, Larry Gilbertson  »  360.276.8215 x261

Fisheries Operations Manager, Tyler Jurasin  »  360.276.8215 x472

Habitat Management Scientist, Bill Armstrong  »  360.276.8215 x240

Environmental Scientist, Mark Mobbs  »  360.276.8215 x292

Additional Quinault River Restoration Resources:

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Wild Salmon Center

The Nature Conservancy