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Lindvig passage paves way for Fish Park

POULSBO — Visitors to see the stream under the new Lindvig Bridge recently also got a great show.

Paul Dorn, Suquamish Tribe Salmon Recovery Coordinator pointed to the water where small forage fish scuttled beneath the surface. Then, as if on cue, a large salmon jumped in the channel.

“Hey, did you see Paul’s trained fish?” someone joked.

But the health that can already be seen returning to connection of Liberty Bay to Dogfish Creek is only a sample of things to come.

The completion of the Lindvig Bridge, a project aimed at creating a new fish passage, ushers in the beginning stages of planning for the new Fish Park. The 13-acre parcel beginning at the new bridge was purchased by the City of Poulsbo in July 2002 for the purpose of creating an environmentally-geared park.

The City of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation Committee has held off on officially recommending a name for the park just until after it has been developed. Many supporters (like Dorn, who prefers to call it Salmon Park) dislike the name Fish Park, however, are stuck with it for now.

The land purchase was primarily funded by Salmon Recovery Funding Board, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Aquatic Lands Enhancement grants. Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey said acquisition was also supported by the community.

“There was a site plan from the former owner that talked about making it into an industrial park and I think people wanted to see it stay the way it was because it was so near the stream,” McCluskey said.

“This is an excellent use of the money,” Dorn added. “This was zoned commercial and it could have been Wal-Mart here, but instead that’s being built up on the hill.”

The waterway restoration taking place under the new Lindvig Bridge is the first showpiece of what Dorn and Marine Science Center volunteer Tom Nordlie hope will become a world-class aquatic education center. Last week, East Kitsap Salmon Habitat Restoration Advisory Committee and Kitsap County Stream Team members were on hand to view the progress so far.

Committee chair Paul Austin said he was impressed with the recovering watershed. Dorn said he estimates about 1,000 cubic yards of silt have flushed out of the channel since it was completed in August.

The committee makes recommendations for projects to be funded by the SRFB between Point No Point and the Gig Harbor peninsula, which are then judged against projects from across the state. Both the Lindvig Bridge and Fish Park acquisitions were recommended to and funded by the SRFB.

Austin said he’d been in full support of the bridge project going forward because with his engineering background, he’d long thought culverts were the wrong way to go.

“The bridge on Dogfish is a good project and it’s going to affect the health of salmon on Dogfish,” Austin said. “Of course, the size of the run will be determined by upstream and if we get property owners to do something positive there, that will also help.”

Joleen Palmer of Kingston said she was excited to see the Lindvig Bridge project because it is similar to what will happen next summer near Appletree Cove. She also said turning Fish Park into a watershed education center will be a plus for North Kitsap.

“All in all, I think it will be a win-win for us all,” Palmer commented on Lindvig and Fish Park. “I think more people will want to come to Poulsbo and it will get more people excited about this stuff.”

While developing out the rest of Fish park is dependent on money, the public can expect to see planning under way soon. Dorn and Nordlie have recommended that a steering committee of interested individuals and organizations be put together to start planning the look of the parcel.

The MSC and Poulsbo/North Kitsap Rotary have already shown interest in being part of future development.

Nordlie said the Morrison Knutsen Nature Center in Boise, Idaho is one park he’s interested in mirroring Poulsbo’s park after. The center includes interpretive areas, walking trails and even underwater viewing sites.

The City of Poulsbo also has about $100,000 left from the original SRFB property acquisition money to jump start the project. McCluskey said much of the amount will likely be used in the coming year to begin adding plantings and trails that will make the developing park more usable.

For more information about planning for Fish Park, call McCluskey at (360) 779-9898.

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