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· retiredfishak
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The Nature Conservancy in Washington Press Releases
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Robin Stanton
[email protected] (206) 436-6274; (425) 478-5641 (cell)
Local Contractor Selected for Fisher Slough Restoration Project
Nature Conservancy project restores salmon habitat and improves flood protection

SEATTLE - June 3, 2010 - The Nature Conservancy has contracted with Interwest Construction, Inc., of Burlington, WA, to complete the final two phases of a major habitat restoration, drainage improvement and flood control project at Fisher Slough, near Conway.

The project, a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Skagit County, Drainage District 17 Dike District 3 and Western Washington Agricultural Association received $5.2 million in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the federal stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"The Fisher Slough project is a great example of a project with that benefits everyone-restoring habitat for salmon, improving flood protection for local family farms, and providing good jobs for the community," said Karen Anderson, The Nature Conservancy's Washington director. "We're grateful for the support of Rep. Rick Larsen and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for ensuring funding for NOAA to undertake this vital restoration work."

Restoration activities will support more than 55 new jobs and help maintain another 13 existing jobs- on the ground construction workers, landscapers, skilled laborers, engineers, and project management and monitoring staff will be working on this project.

"Restoring the local salmon habitat and improving flood protection in Skagit County will create good private-sector jobs while protecting local property and the environment," said Rep. Larsen.

"We're very excited to be working on this project with the Conservancy and the dike district and the drainage district," said Andy Conner, project manager for Interwest Construction.

The project restores 60 acres of freshwater tidal marsh, which will provide salmon habitat while improving water quality, reducing erosion and improving drainage within the site. The project will also improve passage to 15 miles of high quality salmon spawning and rearing stream habitat, and reduce damage from flooding within the lowlands of the 23-square-mile watershed upstream.

In Phase 1, completed in the fall of 2009, antiquated manual floodgates were replaced with new water-level-regulated floodgates at the mouth of Fisher Slough to improve passage of salmon during crucial times in their lifecycle as well as improve floodgate management.

In Phases 2 and 3, Interwest Construction will relocate a large irrigation ditch and its associated culvert system, and set back levees to restore natural stream and tidal processes to about 60 acres. Work will occur over the summer of 2010 and the summer of 2011.

In addition to funding by NOAA, this project is supported by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, and the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board.

What a fucking joke, they are plowing dirt where fish didn't live before, man oh man, I know quite a few old guys are here, if they screw up the fisher slough gates might be a flood problem, go check it out guys.


· Registered
473 Posts
How am I supposed to interpret your comment at the bottom? (Serious question) I see a statement about plowing dirt, some old guys and flooding, and a call to go check it out. Chris, If I'm out of line tell me but I'm curious. How is this project bad?

Here is the actual WDFW SEPA Document for the project:

Do you mean that the project won't provide tidally influenced freshwater marsh which is one of the most important (for juvenile salmon) habitat associations as well severely reduced from historical levels? We filled in estuaries, floodplains, and marshes to make farmland possible. Not the other way around. The very existence of dikes and flood control is evidence of that and a habit of building in floodplains.

Do you mean that updating floodgates from manual operation to automatic new-generation floodgates that allow fish passage will cause flooding?
  • The flood control district helped fund the project
  • One of the stated goals was to improve flood control

I'm not defending any of the groups associated with this project but I am defending constructed wetlands / tidal marshes and habitat restoration. If we want salmon to recover we need to do some serious restoration work.

If you're writing off all restoration work because "there wasn't dirt there" you are simply wrong. The people behind most of these projects are truly experts and look for opportunities to cooperatively help recover salmon. The benefits of restoration are scientifically supported. The Puget Sound Partnership, WRIA 8 and WRIA 9, and other cooperatives are great examples. The cooperation of everyone is needed, not lawsuits and internal battles fought between two parties based on assumptions and fear.

In full disclosure, I am not personally familiar with the Fisher slough nor did I spend a tremendous amount of time researching this issue. The references provided are all from credible peer-reviewed sources which were researched for another project, not this reply.
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