Downey Farmstead Restoration Project will help salmon, floods

Construction began this week on the Downey Farmstead Restoration Project, which will create a large scale salmon habitat and provide increased flood storage for the Green River.

The Downey Farmstead – formerly a tree nursery – is located between the Green River and SR 516 in Kent:

This 22-acre site will be redeveloped into a network of side channels of various depths that will enhance habitat for endangered Chinook salmon and other salmon species. This will allow the salmon to take shelter during high flow events in the river and provide rearing habitat during the summer. The project will also lower peak flood levels up to six inches during a 100-year flood event, giving relief to nearby levees, homes and businesses.

“This project provides an excellent opportunity to improve the river ecosystem, creating protected locations for endangered salmon species to have a greater ability to thrive,” said Tim LaPorte, Public Works Director for the City of Kent. “At the same time, the project will significantly reduce flood issues along this reach of the river by providing a broader river channel in this area. A project with multiple objectives and benefits is a plus for our community.”

The first phase of the project will clear and grade the existing project site with removed soil being transported off site. Later phases of the project include the modification of Frager Road and creation of a series of side channels for the Green River with the planting of 30,000 native plant species.

These additional phases will take place over the next couple of years with an estimated completion date of 2021. During the project, Frager Road will remain open to the public, except during the road modification.

This innovative project is largely grant funded. The city’s funding partners include the Puget Sound Partnership, the King County Flood Control District, the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and King County.