The Nature Conservancy is ramping up its efforts to protect a special river that meets the Pacific Ocean in what's called the Emerald Edge of the United States.
"We're looking at the mouth of the Hoh River coming into the Pacific Ocean," TNC Washington Forest Manager Kyle Smith explained.
The Nature Conservancy currently own more than 3,000 acres around the Hoh River and they just acquired nearly 7,000 more thanks to a land transfer from the Hoh River Trust.
They want to turn clear-cut brown patches back into green.
"A lot of times, you'll get a lot of soil run off in those clear cuts that will go right into streams. All that sediment is not good for fish habitat. It basically suffocates the eggs," Smith said.
KING 5 flew with Smith over the Hoh River thanks to Lighthawk volunteer pilot, Dan Marks, who kept us steady along the river to get a close look at how its been affected by industry.
A hundred years of logging has hurt fish habitat by changing the course, speed and temperature of the Hoh River. Its waters start as a glacier high up on Mount Olympus. The Nature Conservancy wants to protect that water over 30-miles.
"To build a conservation cooridor from the headwaters on the glaciers of Mt. Olympus all the way to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean on the Hoh River. That's what this project is focused on," Smith said. "The Hoh has one of the healthiest and most diverse salmon runs and wild steelhead runs in the lower 48. There are still very viable populations. What we're doing is looking to restore that habitat in this cooridor on the Hoh River."
The area is part of the only rainforest in the continental United States.
"The Hoh River receives over 12-feet of rain annually. Because of that we have some of the largest trees in the world," Smith said.
The Nature Conservancy plans to hire a forester to work on long term plans here. That will include planting new trees and rebuilding a landscape that looks more like what it did a hundred years ago. The area will remain open to hunting, fishing and recreation.
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