Urban Wildlife Habitat projects fund close-to-home places to play and explore nature. As our urban areas are increasingly expanding and densifying, these grants protect important fish and wildlife habitat within five miles of densely populated areas, creating green refuges that help keep our ecosystems healthy and provide places to enjoy nature right in our backyards.
Snohomish County completed construction of the Smith Island Estuarine Restoration project, reestablishing estuarine tidal marsh conditions to more than 300 acres of the Snohomish River estuary, northeast of Everett, WA, for the benefit of ESA-listed species including Chinook, Steelhead and Bull Trout. Restoration work highlights included: construction of a mile-long setback dike to protect adjacent agricultural properties, WA Interstate-5, and Everett Waste Water Treatment Plant infrastructure, reconnection of more than 3-1/2 miles of tidal channels to Union Slough, filling a mile of linear ditches to prevent fish stranding, installing 42 wood structures; and returning tidal inundation by breaching nearly a mile of relic dike. In addition to reestablishing critical salmon rearing habitat, this project provides opportunities for passive recreation, including non-motorized boat access, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and walking along the City of Everett levee-top trail to the south of the project area. This project has achieved more than 25% of the 10-year estuary restoration benchmark set with the 2005 Snohomish River Basin Salmon Conservation Plan. Project information and video of the August 2018 remnant dike breach that returned tidal inundation to the site for the first time in 85 years is available at: https://snohomishcountywa.gov/1150/Smith-Island-Restoration-Project.