Construction began on the Downey Farmstead Restoration Project this week, the City of Kent announced. Formerly a tree nursery located between the Green River and State Road 516, the 22-acre Downey Farmstead will be transformed into a large salmon habitat and flood storage area.

“This project provides an excellent opportunity to improve the river ecosystem, creating protected locations for endangered salmon species to have a greater ability to thrive,”Tim LaPorte, Public Works Director for the City of Kent, said in a statement. “At the same time, the project will significantly reduce flood issues along this reach of the river by providing a broader river channel in this area. A project with multiple objectives and benefits is a plus for our community.”

    Courtesy City of Kent.

A network of side channels of varying depths will allow endangered Chinook salmon to take shelter during periods of high flow in the river, and provide rearing habitat during summer months. The project will also decrease peak flood levels by up to six inches, lessening flood impacts to nearby homes and businesses.

The project is expected to be completed in 2021. Construction will proceed in several phases, the first of which will clear and grade the existing site. Subsequent phases will modify Frager Road, create side channels for the Green River, and plant 30,000 native plant species.

The Downey Farmstead Restoration Project is funded by a series of grants from organizations, including the Puget Sound Partnership, the King County Flood Control District, the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and King County.