Chatham Acres Restoration Project
The Chatham Acres Restoration Project site is located on the North Fork Stillaguamish River between Oso and the town of Darrington, Washington. The site covers an area of approximately 27 acres on the south bank of the river, owned entirely by Snohomish County. A side channel flows through the site across the inside of the meander bend of the mainstem river channel.
The proposed restoration project seeks to:
- Improve degraded salmon habitat conditions in the North Fork Stillaguamish River, and
- Address the cumulative loss of habitat quality and quantity in the North Fork Stillaguamish River caused primarily by historical and recent human impacts.
This will be accomplished by increasing pool frequency and edge habitat diversity and by increasing the amount of complex woody cover at low- and high-flows through the addition of wood and stable log jams. These restoration elements are designed to benefit North Fork Stillaguamish salmon adults and juveniles, and support recovery of the salmon populations.
Restoration objectives include:
- Enhancement of approximately 1,640 feet of existing side channel with wood structures,
- Increased side channel connection, and
- Improved quality and quantity of cold-water habitat important to salmon juveniles.
Project History and Status
In 1999 a flood event and resulting river erosion caused extreme damage to homes in the Chatham Acres Homeowner’s Association. Because the remaining homes were deemed to be at significant risk of future flood damage, over subsequent years, Snohomish County led an effort to use Washington State Hazard Mitigation Grant funds to acquire the remaining homes and lots. Homes and other residential structures were eventually removed from the site. These actions protected the public from flood hazards and made the floodplain area available for future restoration to a more natural state.
Building on two decades of work to acquire and maintain the property and develop restoration design concepts, the current restoration effort began in 2019 when the County received a Washington State Salmon Recovery Fund Board (SRFB) grant and contracted Natural Systems Design (NSD) to develop preliminary designs.
An additional $500,000 SRFB grant was awarded in 2022 to fund the project through construction. NSD has been contracted to continue through final project design, conduct cultural resource review and obtain necessary permits. Construction is slated to begin in the Summer of 2024 and continue into 2025.