The Nature Conservancy has been working to preserve the mighty Skagit River for more than 30 years. Today we work with many partners on restoration—so thousands of migrating birds, hundreds of bald eagles, legendary Skagit salmon and many other species will be there for future generations.
The Skagit River runs from high in the Cascade Mountains to Puget Sound. The Skagit floodplain is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. Tideflats, estuaries and farm fields draw tens of thousands of Wrangel Island snow geese each winter, as well as trumpeter swans and countless shorebirds on their great migrations.
Generations of people have enjoyed the bounty of this river, farming, fishing, logging and playing. Here, The Nature Conservancy has developed one of the most robust and comprehensive conservation projects in the state. Its work is rooted in sound science as well as respect for the people who live, work and play here.
In 1976, the Conservancy and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife created the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area. In winter, bald eagles now gather by the hundreds to feed on returning salmon, inspiring a popular annual festival. This project includes another six landowning partners and has preserved more than 9,000 acres of eagle habitat, including more than10 miles of river and thousands of acres of forests. About 1,300 acres are owned and managed by the Conservancy. In the Skagit Delta, the Conservancy is leading an innovative effort to restore highly productive tidal marshes—critical habitat for threatened salmon—while enhancing flood control and farmland preservation.
In the pioneering Farming for Wildlife program, the Conservancy is partnering with Skagit Delta farmers to incorporate flooding into their crop rotations to create important wetland habitat for shorebirds as well as maintain family farms.
Skagit River and Delta Map
Click on map to enlarge image.
The Mighty Skagit
Click image to enlarge
Click image to watch a video of Skagit shorebirds in flight.
There are many wonderful ways to explore the upper and lower stretches of the Skagit River throughout the year. Click here for a detailed Skagit River and Delta visitors guide [pdf, 245 kb].
- Learn about the annual Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival and Interpretive Center.
- Visit the Breazeale Interpretive Center at Padilla Bay.
- Read this wildlife viewing guide by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Farming for Wildlife: The Nature Conservancy and Skagit Valley farmers are collaborating to improve conditions for migrating birds and for the local agricultural community. Learn more.
Download the Skagit River Visitors Guide for print [pdf, 196 kb]