Wetland along Columbia River to be restored after levee breach

Returning a wetland to the Columbia River

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- On Saturday, a levee along the Columbia River was breached, returning pastures to a wetland for the first time in 70 years.

"What an opportunity!" said owner Karin Hunt. 

"I mean I'm not looking, people go, you're taking away your land? You are breaching levee. And so yeah! I'm breaching a levee," she said. "What's the big deal, you know? I mean, this levee wasn't here probably, prior to 1940. And so it was wetlands anyway. But now it will be healthy wetlands."

Jenni Dykstra is the restoration ecologist on the project. She thinks punching a hole in the levee will make a big difference.

"That's been one of the main problems for a lot of fish and wildlife along the Columbia Basin. They just cant get to these areas where historically they did," she said.

Contractors shoved long logs deep into the banks of what will be a new tidal channel on the property. The logs will create side pools for fish.

During high tide, one-third of Hunt's 60-acres will flood.

Hunt is ready for the water to return.

"Its just a win-win situation. Its a win for us. Its a win for mother earth," she said.

The project costs $500,000 dollars. The Bonneville Power Administration is picking up the bill.

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