County receives federal funding to replace culvert at Green Cove Creek

To construct 150-foot bridge to help salmon, trout passage


Thurston County received a $3 million federal grant for the replacement of a culvert at Country Club Road as it passes Green Cove Creek, County Engineer Matt Unzelman reported to the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, August 29.

The county seeks to replace an undersized five-foot culvert with a new 150-foot bridge to help improve the passage of fish along the waterway.

According to the county website, the creek is currently three feet wide as it passes through the culvert, in contrast to its original size of 50 feet before the County Club Road was built during the 1970s. The project would restore the natural flow of the creek to improve the passage of fish species like chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii).

As the elevation of the road is high relative to the creek, the project would involve the removal of a 50-foot-deep mound of soil, or 20,000 cubic yards of dirt, to accommodate the bridge.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration through the Culvert Aquatic Organism Passage Program. Out of the $3 million funding, $2.5 million would be used for the construction of the bridge while the remainder would be used for pre-design studies to remove two barriers upstream of Green Cove Creek, specifically at 36th Avenue and Kaiser Road.

Unzelman said that they have already completed all the preliminary design work and secured environmental permitting for the project. They are now working towards right-of-way acquisition, with Unzelman hoping that they could complete settlements by the end of the year so they could have the culvert replaced by 2024.

The total cost of the projects is $9.1 million. Other sources of funding so far include a $2.8 million Public Works loan through the Department of Commerce, $1.1 million from the County Road Fund, and $150,000 from stormwater utility fees.