“Fish Nirvana” is the term one fish biologist used to describe the habitat opened up on Nason Creek, 120 years after railroad tracks cut off 2 miles of its historic channel.  The creek has been reconnected to 152 acres of wetland, 5 mountain streams, and critical juvenile rearing habitat for endangered spring Chinook and threatened steelhead.

A few highlights:

  • The entire project was done with regular train traffic during available work windows. Over 20 cargo and passenger trains ply the track daily.
  • Over the past two months, a new bridge was constructed on top of 16 steel piles driven over 200 feet deep by Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) crews, replacing a section of the Chicago-Seattle main line.
  • Hurst Excavation, under contract with Chelan County, removed 2300 cubic yards of railroad grade under the tracks that previously blocked fish from the oxbow.
  • This ambitious project was completed by Chelan County and BNSF Railway with $4 million provided by the US Bureau of Reclamation, WA Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and UCSRB programmatic funds from the Bonneville Power Administration, and in cooperation with over 70 landowners.
  • The project took over six years to complete and involved numerous partner agencies, and extensive design, engineering and construction review.

See link to a recent article about this project in the Wenatchee World: http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2013/sep/28/new-railroad-bridge-clears-century-old-obstacle-for-young-salmon/

Thanks to MaryJo Sanborn/CCNRD