Kwoneesum Dam Removal Project
Skamania County, Washington
In 2021, Cascade assisted the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to provide wetland and aquatic resource support for the Tribe’s Kwoneesum Dam Removal Project on Wildboy Creek in Skamania County, Washington. The 56-year-old dam was constructed by the Camp Fire Organization to create a recreational lake and camp on a tributary to the Washougal River. The camp was closed in the late 1980’s, sold to a local timber company, and most recently to the Columbia Land Trust (CLT). CLT purchased the property with the intention of partnering with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to remove the dam and restore riverine habitat. Removing the dam will connect approximately 6.5 miles of stream habitat for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed Lower Columbia Steelhead and coho salmon and will restore geomorphic processes to the Washougal River watershed for benefit of all native fish. This restorative process will include removing the warming affect that impoundments cause on downstream temperatures, restoring sediment and wood transport, and connecting habitats that are separated by the dam.
Cascade staff collected data on soils, vegetation, and hydrology data, aerial photography, precipitation data, and general site descriptions to complete the formal wetland delineation. Cascade developed a qualitative functions assessment narrative that highlights the project’s environmental benefits, and justifies a determination of the Kwoneesum Dam Removal as a “self-mitigating ”project, and coordinated with the Department of Ecology and the Corps of Engineers for the delineation and functions assessment on the atypical site. Cascade also completed all 404/401 permitting, and associated water quality documents, secured the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and completed local permit requirements.