SEDRO-WOOLLEY (September 3, 2004)- The Upper Skagit Tribe will research critical needs for salmon in the Skagit River watershed this year, funded by a new grant from the Department of the Interior.

“In order to use our limited salmon recovery dollars most effectively, we need information about the area we’re working with,” said Scott Schuyler, natural resources policy coordinator for the Upper Skagit Tribe. “Knowing where essential habitat for salmon exists enables us to protect that habitat.”

The study will identify off-channel habitat restoration sites in the Skagit basin. Off-channel habitat areas, such as groundwater channels and small streams running in “relic” channels that are distinct from a river’s main stem, are essential factories producing fish – especially coho and chinook salmon. Skagit River chinook are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Information gathered from this project will help determine where essential spawning and rearing sites for fish exist, and how best to protect those places effectively.

“The idea is to look at the whole picture, and this data will allow us to do that,” said Schuyler. “Based on what we learn, we can direct available salmon recovery funds to their best possible application.”

The grant, announced on Friday, Aug. 27, is for $12,000.

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For more information, contact: Jeff Shaw, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, 360.424.8226; Scott Schuyler, Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, 360.854.7009.