Author: kneumeyer

Stillaguamish restoration restores wetlands, protects farmland

The Stillaguamish Tribe is reconnecting 88 acres of coastal wetlands to tidal influence, while also protecting the surrounding farmland. “Just like agriculture, we are in the food business, except our crops are fish, wildlife and culturally important plants,” said tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity. In 2012, the tribe purchased the property along the Stillaguamish River and named it zis a ba for a former tribal chief. Formerly part of Port Susan, the estuary was isolated from the floodplain by a dike built more than 100 years ago to prevent flooding. “We’ve learned through experience, however, that a healthy floodplain is...

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Aerial photos track glacial changes

The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe is monitoring the amount of sediment moving through the watershed as glaciers recede. “The tribe is concerned that global warming is exacerbating the amount and timing of this sediment by exposing steep, loose material in the late summer – prime salmon spawning season,” said Scott Morris, the tribe’s water quality coordinator. A main source of suspended sediment is Glacier Peak. The tribe has access to high-resolution Long Distance and Ranging (LIDAR) images taken by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2014 and 2015. But LIDAR, which surveys topography with an airborne laser, is expensive. The Sauk-Suiattle...

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Restoration balances fish access with neighbor concerns

While it will still be a few years before any restoration work begins in Barnaby Slough, the Skagit River System Cooperative is alleviating neighbors’ concerns about the project’s potential impacts. Some landowners in the Martin Road area of eastern Skagit County were initially critical of a proposal to reconnect the Skagit River with Barnaby Slough, fearing the restoration would flood their properties. SRSC hired a professional facilitator and has spent the past year meeting with stakeholders and revising the project goals to include community interests. “We’re taking a step back and looking at existing conditions,” said Devin Smith, project...

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State of Our Watersheds: Well withdrawals should be capped

The state should propose a 350 gallon per day cap on permit-exempt wells withdrawing from the Stillaguamish watershed to protect against unaccounted over-withdrawal of water. By reducing the amount of surface water, over-withdrawal can harm salmon at all stages of their life cycle. From the State of Our Watersheds Report, released last year from the NWIFC: In the 2014 Stillaguamish Water Reservations Report, Washington Department of Ecology reported that 818 wells were withdrawing 143,500 gallons of water per day from the groundwater reserve for permit-exempt wells that was established in 2005. According to Ecology, an additional 50 to 75...

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State of Our Watersheds: Shoreline Management Act needs enforcement

The state Shoreline Management Act (SMA) needs to be better enforced if we are going to recover riparian habitat faster than it is being lost. Adopted by voters in 1972, the SMA aims “to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.” Intense human land use puts continuous stress on lowland riparian resources in the Snohomish River watershed, for example. Analysis by the NWIFC, released in last year’s State of Our Watersheds Report, found that along anadromous fish habitat streams in the Snohomish River basin, riparian forest cover was only 49% in 2011,...

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  • Northwest Treaty Tribes is a service of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

  • Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine for Winter 2016 Available Now

  • Billy Frank Jr Memorial Edition of the NWIFC Magazine Available Here

  • Treaty Rights at Risk

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