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Smith Island: Action Needed by March 3rd

Help Support the Smith Island Project & Chinook Recovery!

Help Support the Smith Island Project & Chinook Recovery!

The Snohomish County Council will be voting on Smith IslandMarch 4th regarding the future of the Smith Island project.  Smith Island represents one of the largest and best opportunities to restore a mid-estuary river delta site within the Snohomish River Estuary. The Smith Island project would convert a portion of the diked island into about 400-acres of tidal wetland.  This is critical habitat for juvenile salmonids to rear and shelter while making the physiological transition from fresh to salt water.

If you live in Snohomish or King County and want to see the project move forward, please contact the Snohomish County Council members listed below by March 3rd. The vote on March 4th is crucial to its success.  Tell the Snohomish County Council that you support the restoration of critical fish habitat functions to Smith Island!

Snohomish County Council Members:

Terry Ryan:  [email protected]
Stephanie Wright:  [email protected]
Brian Sullivan:  [email protected]

Sample Support Letter:

Please use the following letter/language as a guide when contacting/emailing the above listed council members.  It is important that you customize it to make it your own.  Thank you!

Dear Councilman,

I am writing in support of restoring critical fish habitat functions to Smith Island.  Chinook salmon juveniles from the entire Snohomish watershed, including the upper reaches of the Snoqualmie River in King County, need the opportunity to spend time in estuarine habitat for their survival.  The Smith Island project is one of the largest and most important delta restoration proposals in the Snohomish system and its completion will provide that opportunity.  If the county fails to finish this vital project, it will be difficult to achieve salmon recovery benchmarks identified in the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan, the Puget Sound Action Agenda, and the Snohomish River Basin Salmon Conservation Plan.  Please vote to restore tidal habitat to Smith Island; providing an opportunity for recovery of Chinook salmon. As juveniles spawned in King County are important to Snohomish County's interests in Chinook recovery, so too is habitat in Snohomish County important to those of us with business addresses in King County.  And thus we ask for your help in this regional effort. Thank you for your time and consideration.

More on the Smith Island Project:

Smith Island is a large estuary restoration project in the lower Snohomish basin. Smith Island is located east of I-5, north of the City of Everett, WA.  The site is located along a key stretch of Union Slough where riverine fresh water mixes with tidal salt water.  The county has been trying for more than a decade to get this project to completion, surmounting many concerns, and problems, and completing a full Environmental Impact Analysis.  A small group representing a portion of the agricultural interests of the county are trying to block the project, as part of a larger effort to prevent all conversion efforts that would restore diked former fish habitat back to fish habitat.

Historically, farmers installed dikes along Union Slough and drainage ditches across Smith Island to reclaim the land for agricultural use.  The restoration project would restore historic tidal estuarine marsh habitats on Smith Island by removing dikes and tide gates along the slough, filling old drainage ditches on the island, and excavating new tidal channels.  A setback dike is being added to protect I-5, utilities, and agricultural land from tidal flows. Smith Island is surrounded by other restoration project sites in the Snohomish Estuary.

Restoration of the island would provide ecological connectivity between these areas, providing another step toward recovery of Chinook salmon in the estuary.  This project is presently the highest priority for Puget Sound salmon restoration interests and a vital project for Chinook recovery.

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