The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to start work on a new project on July 8 that will help re-establish fish habitat in the Pilchuck River along State Route 92 near Granite Falls.

[Above photo by WSDOT]

The agency said in a statement that this particular project seeks to replace a protected fish habitat made from “woody debris” that recently washed away with a more permanent solution.

Contractor crews working for WSDOT will build log jacks, or groups of four to six logs tied together in a pyramid with an anchor in the middle. The log jacks will be placed along a bend in the Pilchuck River near SR 92 to create natural habitat for fish to rest and hide, increasing fish survival rates as they move through the river.

The Pilchuck River severely eroded its banks in 2009 south of Granite Falls near SR 92, WSDOT said. Over a period of years, that river erosion caused a house to be swept away by the waters and leaving the SR 92 roadway within 40 feet of being completely undermined.

In 2016, WSDOT temporarily rerouted the river to shore up the riverbank and added large pieces of wood in the river to create fish habitat. In the years since, the work successfully protected SR 92, but much of woody debris placed for fish washed away. That’s why this project is installing log jacks in their place, WSDOT said, as those jacks create a more permanent and resilient fish habitat.

The agency said the jacks will be placed in the Pilchuck River in August, when work in the water can take place without harming fish – with the project fully completed by the fall 2024.