Fisher Slough is a project in Washington’s Skagit Delta where The Nature Conservancy is creating new salmon habitat while improving flood protection for area farmers.
This project got its start from a generous private donation that enabled the Conservancy to purchase the 60 acres being restored from a local farmer, who was interested in seeing a project that could bring agriculture and fisheries interests together. That private donation kickstarted state and federal grants, the largest of which, $5.2 million, came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the federal Recovery Act.
As of July, the federal grant has paid for more than 30,000 hours of labor, touching more than 225 jobs at 16 companies and at the Conservancy.
Phase 1 – Replaced old floodgates at the mouth of Fisher Slough with state-of-the-art floodgates that increase tidal exchange and access by fish during critical times of the year.
Phase 2 – Relocated a large drainage and irrigation ditch known as “Big Ditch” and the associated culvert system to provide improved drainage to upstream farmlands, remove a barrier to fish and provide space for levee setback.
Underway right now!:
Phase 3 – Set back levees and restore natural streams and tidal processes to create a 60-acre freshwater, tidally influenced marsh.