Coho return to Upper Skagit reservation

The Skagit Valley Herald:

For the first time in 50 years, the coho salmon have returned to the Upper Skagit Reservation.

To get them there, crews had to tear out a series of stacked culverts and remove 300 dump-truck loads of sediment that blocked the cohos’ path upstream.

The tribe and Skagit County also worked together to restore a lower section of Red Creek and one of its tributaries, channeling the water into two streams. This makes it easier for the 6- to 8-pound fish that had been forced to swim across a flooded field to reach the creek to spawn.

The return of the salmon last November to the 80-acre reservation, home to 200 of the tribe’s 1,031 members, has special significance for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, said Scott Schuyler, natural resources director and tribal member.

“The salmon for us has been part of our life for thousands and thousands of years,” Schuyler said. “To have the salmon return to the reservation, for us, has really deep cultural meaning. Of course, we’d like to see more fish, and not just to the reservation but in all of the Skagit (River) and not just for our fishermen but for recreational fishermen and the animals.”