SEASIDE - Babies need a lot of tender, loving care and juvenile salmon are no different.

In an effort to make local habitat a little better for the young fish, Seaside and the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce will join forces to restore tidal wetlands on 25 acres of city-owned property along the Lewis and Clark River. CREST will work to remove sections of dike to open isolated wetlands to tidal influence and plant native riparian vegetation along the banks.

The work will improve habitat for juvenile coho, chinook and potentially chum salmon. It will also increase flood storage and sediment retention of the river, said Todd Cullison, CREST watershed coordinator for Clatsop County.

The city has owned the property, located about 10 miles northeast of Seaside on Lewis and Clark Road, for 10 years. Sludge from the city's wastewater treatment system is spread on the property. Because there are no existing homes on either side of the property, CREST will not have to build cross-dikes to protect homeowners.

Cullison estimates that preliminary channel creation work will begin in summer 2005, with the bulk of the work completed during the winter of 2005-06. CREST will provide funding in the form of state, federal and private grants and is working with Ducks Unlimited, who will do the majority of the engineering and design work.

"This is an opportunity for us to enter into a partnership with CREST," City Manager Mark Winstanley said. "We think this would be a very good project."

The council gave staff a consensus approval to proceed.

Council approves bid for fire equipmentThe council unanimously approved a bid from L.N. Curtis and Sons for $98,750 to purchase 30 self-contained breathing apparatus packs for the Seaside Fire Department. The packs include 45-minute air bottles, 30 extra 45-minutes bottles and 20 face masks equipped with voice amplifiers.

The air bottles contain about 4,500 pounds of fresh, slightly moisturized air that lasts about 45 minutes - 30 minutes if a firefighter is breathing heavily.

Library fee increase

The Seaside Library Board of Trustees recommended to the council that the fee for nonresident library cards increase from $35 to $50 annually over the next five years. Fees will be increased by $5 every other year in an effort to make the increase as affordable as possible. Out-of-town library fees are based on the amount spent per capita by taxpayers of Seaside. The current $35 cost for a nonresident library card has been in effect for 10 years, said Susan Park, chairwoman of the library board.

At Monday's meeting, the council was only informed of the board's recommendation and will take action at their May 10 meeting. The council did hear a first and second reading of an amended ordinance that will allow the council to adopt future fees for services by resolution. The third and final reading will be at the May 10 meeting.

Tree board appointmentThe council unanimously appointed Seaside Signal Publisher Kyle Larson to the tree board. The tree board works to maintain the city's Tree City USA status, plants trees and monitors maintenance of the city's trees and shrubs.