Conserving land along our waterways protects important habitat and helps keep our rivers healthy, clean, and more resilient to drought. Riparian Protection projects conserve and restore fresh and saltwater habitat while protecting fish habitat. In doing so, the grants help provide our families, farms, and fisheries with clean water across the state.
The Samish River is the major tributary to Samish Bay, and major land uses are agriculture and forestry. Degraded habitat and poor water quality due to alteration and loss of Riparian Protection area, sedimentation, elevated temperature, and fecal contamination were identified in the 1995 WAC 400-12 Samish Bay Watershed Nonpoint Action Plan as threats to beneficial uses. Beneficial uses negatively impacted include: shellfish and fishery industry; fisheries spawning and rearing habitat supporting fall Chinook, Coho, Chum, Winter Steelhead, and Cutthroat ; habitat for avian species including bald eagle, perigine falcon, and marbled murrelet; and high quality wetlands used as wildlife habitat and rearing habitat for Coho. This project was identified in the Action Plan Implementation Strategy Plan. District partners include the Nature Conservancy, Skagit fisheries Enhancement Group, Skagit Land Trust, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, and Skagit County. Project objectives include: (1) acquisition of permanent easements targeting agricultural lands on approximately five miles of Riparian Protection buffers along the Upper Samish River corridor; (2) protection and restoration along 2.5 miles of easement corridor; including livestock fencing and Riparian Protection planting to provide improved fish & wildlife habitat and water quality, culvert replacement to improve fish passage, and bank stabilization to prevent sedimentation. (3) coordination of post-project monitoring.