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Restoring fish and wildlife

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NACHES, WA - Several agencies are helping restore fish and wildlife in several local water ways.

"We are placing over 6,000 pieces of large wood over seven water sheds," said Kelly Clayton, Fish Habitat Biologist with Yakama Nation.

All of this work is part of a project called Wood Fiesta in which, Yakama Nation and six other agencies are trying to enhance habitat for native fish such as the salmon.

"The reason we are putting the wood in the stream is to benefit fish enhanced, fish habitat," said Clayton.

"These are all natural spawning salmon and so the numbers are beginning to dwindle and what we can do to help repopulate the number of salmon that come back into the system will only help all of the system it's self," said Gerald Lewis with Yakama Nation Tribal Council and Fish and Wildlife Chairman.

By placing wood into streams Clayton says it's creating cold pockets of water which fish need in order to survive and to reproduce.

The project involves Lick Creek, Swauk Creek, Umtanum Creek, NF Manastash Creek, Little Naches River, Little Rattlesnake Creek and Status Creek.

All of the work is greatly appreciated by Yakama Nation because not only is the land sacred, but so are the fish swimming in the streams.

"Salmon is our number one resource that we hold highly, especially within our religious purpose," said Lewis.

The project is part of a two year effort and Clayton says the reason it is so important is because warm waters are a huge issue for endangered species such as the Steelhead Mid Columbia Trout found in streams within Yakima.

Funding for the project comes from the Bonneville Power Administration, McNary Mitigation Fund, Yakima Basin Integrated Plan, Salmon Recovery Funding Board, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and The Nature Conservancy.