State of Our Watersheds: Lower Skagit not meeting temperature goals

The Lower Skagit River will not be in compliance with the state’s Total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) plan by 2080, according to the State of Our Watersheds Report released by the tribes of the NWIFC.

The TMDL is a planning tool to implement the Clean Water Act. It includes a voluntary plan for reducing stream temperature through a combination of financial incentives, outreach and technical training, and communication. With these measures in place, streams are supposed to be in temperature compliance by 2080.

Cool, clean water is essential to the survival of threatened chinook salmon. The primary way to lower stream temperature is by increasing the amount of shade from trees.

Unfortunately, by 2011, more than 51% of riparian acreage along fish-bearing streams within the Lower Skagit watersheds was non-forested and impaired.


From the report:

This suggests that the lower Skagit is failing to meet the primary management recommendation of the temperature TMDL: riparian reforestation.

High stream temperatures impact Chinook salmon at all life stages, especially during juvenile rearing.

The Lower Skagit Temperature TMDL remains in place for eight tributaries in the lower Skagit watershed as they are out of state compliance with Washington state water quality standards.

. . .

The present trend suggests that streams will not be compliance by 2080.


Learn more about the 2016 State of Our Watersheds report.