State of Our Watersheds: Restoration needed in National Recreation Area

Levees need to be removed, service roads relocated, and stream crossings expanded along State Route 20 to restore floodplain processes to the Upper Skagit watershed.

As documented in the 2016 State of Our Watersheds Report, the flooplain at the mouth of Goodell Creek, a Skagit River tributary in the Ross Lake National Recreational Area, is restricted by roads, levees, power transmission lines and undersized stream crossings.

Restoration would increase productivity for multiple salmon species, including threatened chinook and steelhead.

Goodell_Concepts_MapFrom the report:

Even federally owned public trust lands that are protected in national parks, forests, recreational areas and wilderness designations may exhibit a history of ecosystem disturbance. These legacy issues are often overlooked for restoration opportunities, or worse, are deemed to be considered the new baseline for addressing future environmental and fishery-related impacts.

The (Upper Skagit) Tribe has focused on working with federal trustees to identify these legacy issues, and partnerships to support the trust responsibility and treaty rights. Restoration of these lands is an important aspect of treaty resource protection. The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe recently received (Salmon Funding Recovery Board) funding for the feasibility planning of the Goodell Creek project.

The Tribe is leading the collaborative effort with the National Park Service, Seattle City Light and state Department of Transportation to analyze and discuss the costs and benefits of constructing the restoration project. This planning phase will be crucial to identifying the funding strategy and determining how quickly the project will move ahead toward design and construction.

Learn more about the 2016 State of Our Watersheds report.