Kerry Island Restoration Project

Map_Kerry_IslandHENDERSON, in partnership with the Columbia Land Trust (CLT), restored 109-acres of tidally-influenced wetland habitat on Kerry Island.

Located in Columbia County, Oregon along Westport Slough within the Columbia River Estuary, Kerry Island contains critical habitat for 13 species of salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act, as well as the federally endangered Columbia River population of Columbia white-tailed deer.

Historically Kerry Island was composed of spruce forest, marsh plain, and tidal channels, influenced by regular tidal inundation.  Past grazing and agricultural practices have altered the natural hydrology of the island, simplifying habitat characteristics and limiting refuge for resident wildlife species.  The loss of tens of thousands of acres of floodplain and inter-tidal wetland habitat along the Columbia River make restoration of this site a high priority.  The Kerry Island Restoration Project will provide immediate benefits to the Columbia River Estuary by increasing wetland function and food-web connections for fish and other wildlife species.

HENDERSON’s team was selected to excavate and transport approximately 59,270 cubic yards of material on Kerry Island for the enhancement and re-connection of tidal channels to Westport Slough.  Channel and marsh plain lowering accounted for regular tidal cycles.  Excavation and levee beaching activities took place during falling tides, minimizing water quality impacts.  There were 12 levee breaches, with excavated materials utilized onsite for drainage ditch removal and added topographic complexity.  A total of 31 large wood structures were added throughout the tidal channels for increased habitat complexity and fish refuge.  Post construction planting will be completed by CLT.

“I wanted to thank HENDERSON for a great project, delivered on time and on budget.  I think you guys did a great job and I really appreciated your attention to detail, willingness to adapt to meet changing conditions and our desires, and going the extra mile in buttoning up the site properly… It was definitely a challenging project and we pulled it off with acclaim from our funders.”

– Jeff Malone, CLT Natural Areas Manager

Since being listed in 1967, Columbian white-tailed deer populations have doubled, in large part due to the creation of wildlife refuges along the Columbia River.  Protection and enhancement of key habitat like Kerry Island has led to the recent downgrading of Columbian white-tailed deer from ‘endangered’ to ‘threatened’.

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