Presentation Abstract

Half of Puget Sound’s wild Chinook salmon come from the Skagit River. Although the number dropped dramatically as 80 percent of salmon habitat in the river delta was lost over the last two centuries, the Skagit remains a critical stronghold for Puget Sound Chinook. The Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan calls for 2,700 acres of estuary restoration. But with farms in Skagit County generating more than $500 million each year, there are concerns that habitat restoration would mean loss of agricultural land, and the economy and culture it supports. The Fisher Slough project was intended to overcome long-standing conflicts between farm and fish interests in the Skagit delta. Project partners sought to demonstrate that true collaboration could achieve multiple benefits on privately owned land. The project restored habitat for fish, updated aging drainage infrastructure, and enhanced flood protection for surrounding fields, roads and homes. Measuring progress towards well-defined goals across interests was a critical component of the project and was identified early on as a priority by all partners. Project goals included restoring habitat for juvenile Chinook, improving adult spawner passage, and protecting adjacent lands from flooding. Pre-project monitoring began in 2009, the project was implemented in 2009-2011 and monitoring continued through 2015. Through monitoring we learned that we created more than five times more tidal marsh habitat supporting greater numbers and faster growing juvenile chinook salmon, we improved passage for juvenile and adult salmon, and created nearly five times more flood storage capacity. Monitoring documented that project goals had been met. Social, economic and other farm-related outcomes were also important aspects of the project. A socioeconomic study and agreed-upon performance measures documented high return on investment, well-functioning drainage and flood protection, and improved relationships. This presentation will focus on how project outcomes across farm, fish and flood interests were measured.

Session Title

Building Resilient Floodplains through Regional Policy, Community-driven Solutions and Science: The Story of Integrated Floodplain Management

Keywords

Monitoring, Multi-benefit, Fish-farm-flood, Restoration

Conference Track

SSE1: Habitat Restoration and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE1-110

Start Date

5-4-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 3:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 3:30 PM Apr 5th, 3:45 PM

The Fisher Slough case study: seven-year monitoring summary: measuring outcomes for fish, farms and flooding

Half of Puget Sound’s wild Chinook salmon come from the Skagit River. Although the number dropped dramatically as 80 percent of salmon habitat in the river delta was lost over the last two centuries, the Skagit remains a critical stronghold for Puget Sound Chinook. The Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan calls for 2,700 acres of estuary restoration. But with farms in Skagit County generating more than $500 million each year, there are concerns that habitat restoration would mean loss of agricultural land, and the economy and culture it supports. The Fisher Slough project was intended to overcome long-standing conflicts between farm and fish interests in the Skagit delta. Project partners sought to demonstrate that true collaboration could achieve multiple benefits on privately owned land. The project restored habitat for fish, updated aging drainage infrastructure, and enhanced flood protection for surrounding fields, roads and homes. Measuring progress towards well-defined goals across interests was a critical component of the project and was identified early on as a priority by all partners. Project goals included restoring habitat for juvenile Chinook, improving adult spawner passage, and protecting adjacent lands from flooding. Pre-project monitoring began in 2009, the project was implemented in 2009-2011 and monitoring continued through 2015. Through monitoring we learned that we created more than five times more tidal marsh habitat supporting greater numbers and faster growing juvenile chinook salmon, we improved passage for juvenile and adult salmon, and created nearly five times more flood storage capacity. Monitoring documented that project goals had been met. Social, economic and other farm-related outcomes were also important aspects of the project. A socioeconomic study and agreed-upon performance measures documented high return on investment, well-functioning drainage and flood protection, and improved relationships. This presentation will focus on how project outcomes across farm, fish and flood interests were measured.