The Skagit Valley Herald commended a recent project on the Upper Skagit Reservation, which brought coho salmon to tribal land for the first time in 50 years:
You’ve got to give the coho salmon high marks for persistence. For 50 years, coho had been trying to fight their way back to spawning grounds on the Upper Skagit Reservation. And for 50 years, man-made obstacles and sediment deposits blocked their way. Still they came.
Now, a restoration project on Red Creek, north of Sedro-Woolley, has made it possible for the coho to spawn again on the reservation.
The local project actually preceded resolution of a tribal lawsuit against the state, which resulted in a judge’s order that blockages to salmon runs created by state highways must be cleared. That legal decision will result in other habitats being restored around the state.
Skagit County was ahead of the game in addressing the stream restoration challenge. The coho’s return has profound spiritual meaning for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. For the rest of us, the $3.8 million restoration project demonstrates that with planning and fish-like resolve, we can reverse the damage caused to natural features and help restore nature’s course.