The Washington state Department of Transportation will replace a culvert beneath the east-west portion of Grandview Road near Terrell Creek in 2011.
Although still in the design phase of the project, DOT officials say the project will significantly improve the creek for fish passage by replacing a six-foot round concrete culvert with a large box or bridge that will better allow salmonids to reach prime spawning gravel and rearing habitats upstream.
The project comes as a result of a push by community groups, state agencies and local businesses to restore Terrell Creek and its surrounding watershed and because Puget Sound steelhead, which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, are among the fish that depend on Terrell Creek for habitat.
State fish and wildlife officials say Steelhead salmon present in the creek have drastically decreased during the last 50 years.
The creek once also supported viable runs of chum, coho and coastal cutthroat salmon.
The completed project should also protect the highway from erosion caused by water flowing out of holes in the culvert and pooling around it.
Damaged culverts can create sinkholes and cause roads to crumble, officials said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011 and will be paid partly by the state’s gas tax fund although the department is still seeking additional grants for up to $4 million.