Restoration planned this summer for Skagit River tributary

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Work is set to begin this summer to restore salmon habitat in Illabot Creek, a tributary to the Skagit River.

Once a winding, multi-channeled creek, Illabot was straightened and diked in 1970 when a bridge crossing was constructed on Rockport-Cascade Road. Straightening the creek degraded salmon habitat by creating a steeper gradient, reducing channel area and habitat complexity.

Illabot Creek is a highly productive tributary to the upper Skagit River, supporting chinook, chum, coho and pink salmon, native char and steelhead trout. Much of the watershed already has been protected or restored, but this half-mile reach on the historic alluvial fan remains heavily degraded.

The Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC), the natural resources extension of the Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle tribes, plans to restore Illabot Creek to its historic channel by removing dikes downstream of the road and excavating to encourage new channels to develop.

“Not only will the restoration improve channel complexity and instream habitat conditions, but it also will restore connectivity within the floodplain and increase the number and surface area of channels as Illabot Creek migrates over time,” said Devin Smith, senior restoration ecologist with SRSC.

Future restoration plans include installing two new bridges and removing dikes upstream of the road.

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe starts Washington Harbor restoration

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe seined Washington Harbor to develop a baseline of fish populations in the harbor. The harbor’s roadway and two culverts will be replaced by a bridge later this summer. More photos can be found at NWIFC’s Flickr page by clicking on the photo.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe seined Washington Harbor to develop a baseline of fish populations in the harbor. The harbor’s roadway and two culverts will be replaced by a bridge later this summer. More photos can be found at NWIFC’s Flickr page by clicking on the photo.

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is restoring salmon habitat in the 118-acre Washington Harbor by replacing a roadway and two culverts with a 600-foot-long bridge.

The 600-foot-long road and the two 6-foot-wide culverts restrict tidal flow to a 37-acre estuary within the harbor adjacent to Sequim Bay, blocking fish access and harming salmon habitat.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe seined Washington Harbor to develop a baseline of fish populations in the harbor. The harbor’s roadway and two culverts will be replaced by a bridge later this summer. More photos can be found at NWIFC’s Flickr page by clicking on the photo.

The tribe seined the harbor in April to take stock of current fish populations before construction begins this summer. Chum and chinook and pink salmon, as well as coastal cutthroat, all use the estuary. Young salmon come from a number of streams, including nearby Jimmycomelately Creek at the head of Sequim Bay.

Historically, the area had quality tidal marsh and eelgrass habitat until the roadway and culverts were installed about 50 years ago, said Randy Johnson, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe habitat program manager.

“The roadway and culverts appear to have severely degraded this habitat, with evidence showing that the estuary marsh has been deprived of sediment and is eroding,” he said. “The structures restrict access for fish and for high quality habitat to develop.”