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Originally published Friday, December 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Issaquah gets grant to protect salmon

The city of Issaquah is getting $650,000 in state grants to protect and restore salmon populations and habitat, officials said Thursday...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

The city of Issaquah is getting $650,000 in state grants to protect and restore salmon populations and habitat, officials said Thursday.

The money is part of a $60 million statewide funding package announced Thursday that will go toward salmon-habitat acquisition and other restoration projects.

Including Issaquah's $650,000 grant, projects in King County's four major watersheds have been awarded more than $7 million. The watersheds stretch from the Cascade Crest west to the shores of Puget Sound and are home to chinook salmon, listed as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act, according to county officials.

In Issaquah, $400,000 will be used for a fish-passage improvement project in Issaquah Creek; the remaining $250,000 will help buy 3.89 acres along the creek.

"These two grants will enable the city of Issaquah to continue in its stewardship role in protecting the environment, in particular our creeks, salmon habitat and water quality overall," Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a release.

The city had been seeking to acquire the 3.89-acre parcel for several years, said Margaret Macleod, Issaquah's parks planner.

"We've targeted critical pieces, such as this, in our urban area to increase habitat value; not only for fish or salmon, but for all wildlife," Macleod said.

This latest funding gives the city a push to negotiate a deal with the owner, she said. The sale — and its price — will likely be finalized early next year, she said.

The land will protect 15 acres of wetland and bank area on the urban creek. Other funding to buy the land will come from the King County's Conservation Futures Levy and a citywide parks/open space bond, Macleod said.

The property is zoned for multifamily use; the owner, an elderly man, could have chosen to sell it to developers, Macleod said.

But, she added, "he grew up on the property. He doesn't want to see it develop into condominiums."

Sonia Krishnan: 206-515-5546 or skrishnan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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