Removing Barriers for Wildlife
Since Willapa NWR purchased Greenhead Slough in 2003, the Refuge has been working with numerous partners to remove barriers for fish travel from its tributaries down into the Willapa Bay Estuary. To date, culverts on four streams (North, Lost, Chum and South Creeks) have been replaced by bridges and 10 miles of stream habitat has been enhanced to successfully encourage spawning and rearing habitat for salmon, cutthroat trout and lamprey. The last partial obstacle, a culvert/tide gate on Greenhead Slough remains. This culvert is the last remaining fish barrier to the 3.74 square mile (2,317 acres) watershed. View map.
A Backward Glance at Greenhead Slough
Greenhead Slough was modified in the 1940s when the Washington State Department of Transportation re-routed four streams along State Route 101. A culvert/tide gate was later installed to allow road access to private timberlands. In 2003, the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge purchased the property with an existing Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program easement as well as a right-of-way easement to Washington State Department of Transportation for State Route 101.
When a Bridge is an Open Door
Willapa NWR and its partners are developing a project that will replace the under-sized culvert/tide gate with a 70-foot long bridge. This replacement will restore unrestricted tidal exchange and stream flow in Greenhead Slough.
Learn more about the importance of estuarine conservation…
For three years following the habitat enhancement of the tributary streams, North, Chum, and Lost Creeks were monitored by GeoEnginers. Annual spawning surveys conducted by the Refuge on these streams have consistently documented chum and coho salmon, and cutthroat trout.
Discover how you can get involved…
Working Together for Wildlife at Greenhead Slough
The resources needed to accomplish this restoration effort reach well beyond the Refuge. Learn more about the Refuge partners that are working for wildlife in the Greenhead Slough watershed:
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