The Nature Conservancy congratulates Representative Rick Larsen on passage by the House of Representatives of a bill to designate Illabot Creek, a key tributary to the Skagit River, as a Wild and Scenic River.
The House voted on Oct. 13 to pass the bill, introduced by Larsen in March. A similar measure must pass the Senate for the creek to be included in the National Wild and Scenic River System. It has been introduced by Sen. Patty Murray and co-sponsored by Sen. Maria Cantwell, both of whom are working to ensure its passage
“Illabot Creek is a haven for two of the Northwest’s beloved icons—salmon and eagles,” said Karen Anderson, Washington director for the Conservancy. “This vote by the House is a significant milestone in protecting this treasure. Rep. Larsen has shown tremendous leadership and vision to ensure salmon runs for the future and quality of life for all the people of Puget Sound.”
Illabot Creek, which flows for more than 14 miles through Skagit County, provides important spawning habitat for Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout, all threatened species.Further, the area around Illabot creek is home to several other species including bald eagles, elk, and spotted owls.Wintering bald eagles roost at night in stands of old-growth forest along the creek and feast on the salmon.
Designating the creek as Wild and Scenic will prohibit dams and other water projects that impair the free-flowing nature of a river and establish a protected corridor extending one-quarter mile from the ordinary high-water mark on both sides of the river.
Illabot Creek has long been the focus of voluntary land protection efforts. In fact, through these efforts the vast majority of the stream corridor, including the entire area proposed for Wild and Scenic river designation, has been brought into public ownership.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
(206) 343-4345, ext 338