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Elma High School junior honored for salmon restoration work

MacLeod Pappidas | The Daily World  Jarred Figlar-Barnes stands under a new bridge spanning McDonald Creek in this file photo from last year. Figlar-Barnes has dedicated himself to restoring the creek, a task that includes replacing two aging culverts with the 40-foot bridge.
MacLeod Pappidas | The Daily World Jarred Figlar-Barnes stands under a new bridge spanning McDonald Creek in this file photo from last year. Figlar-Barnes has dedicated himself to restoring the creek, a task that includes replacing two aging culverts with the 40-foot bridge.

Elma High School junior Jarred Figlar-Barnes has been honored by the state Recreation and Conservation Office’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board for his efforts in restoring salmon runs on McDonald Creek in Elma.

During a conference with more than 550 people in Vancouver, Wash., Board Chairman David Troutt presented Figlar-Barnes with a certificate of appreciation and some new chest waders for his work on the creek, which runs through the grounds of the new Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma.

Figlar-Barnes, 17, has been working on McDonald Creek since he was 12 years old, talking with landowners about when they last saw salmon, and identifying barrier culverts that were impeding fish passage. He became concerned when he realized there hadn’t been any salmon runs in McDonald Creek for the past 40 years and he made it his mission to do habitat restoration work.

To date, Figlar-Barnes has supervised the removal of two fish barriers in the lower section of the creek with grant funds from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the state Department of Ecology’s Husseman Fund. Plus, he oversaw the replacement of eight fish passage barriers in the middle section of McDonald Creek when the new hospital was built.

In addition, Figlar-Barnes did three Coho salmon “plants” (reintroductions of salmon) in McDonald Creek, one during each of the past three fall seasons. Those spawning pairs laid thousands of eggs in redds throughout the creek. Also, last year, two native stray adult Coho found their way back to McDonald Creek and three redds were found from their spawning.

“Jarred is truly an amazing kid and such an inspiration to those of us who do this work,” Janel Bistrika, coordinator for the Grays Harbor/Chehalis Basin Lead Entity said in a press release. “It has been a real pleasure working with someone who is so passionate about his local community creek and wanting to bring back the salmon.”

Figlar-Barnes is the son of biologist Ron Figlar-Barnes, who recently filed to run for port commissioner against incumbent Chuck Caldwell.

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