Tribes work to improve spawning habitat near March Point refinery

The Skagit River System Cooperative, the natural resources arm of the Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattle tribes, is working with the state Department of Natural Resources to replace a boat launch and restore the beach around the Tesoro Refinery on March Point.

The Skagit Valley Herald has the story:

The average beachcomber might not see the difference when comparing the beaches on either side of the Tesoro Refinery boat launch at March Point.

To surf smelt or Pacific sand lance, looking to spawn in at high tide, the coarse sand and gravel north of the launch make a better nursery. The fish will avoid the mud and cobbles south of the boat ramp because it isn’t the right texture to ensure their eggs survive.

Steve Hinton, director of habitat restoration for the Skagit River System Cooperative, looking at the rocks south of the launch, said fish seeking to spawn would find it lacking.

“It’s kind of a wasteland,” Hinton said. “It’s starved on the other side of the ramp.”