Fisher Creek Family Forest Fish Passage Project


The project area included a section of Fisher Creek, a tributary to the south fork of the Skagit River in western Washington State, that passed under a small residential road where a steep culvert blocked coho, cutthroat, and other native fishes from accessing vital stream and wetland habitat. By interrupting habitat connectivity, even a single barrier can have a disproportionately large impact on the abundance and resiliency of wild fish populations.

Man-made barriers to fish migration have significant impacts on wild fish; limiting distribution, reducing access to spawning and rearing habitats, and disrupting the spatial habitat complexity historically available to fish populations. Whether for resident species that spend their entire lives in one watershed, or migratory species that travel thousands of miles, instream barriers compromise a populations’ ability to weather environmental uncertainties. Evolutionary fitness of the entire population is weakened when barriers restrict gene flow, creating small, isolated sub-groups that can suffer from inbreeding.

The Family Forest Fish Passage Program (FFFPP) assists private forestland owners in removing culverts and other stream crossing structures that prevent ESA listed salmonids from migrating upstream. Through the management of DNR’s Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office some 376 landowners have taken advantage of the program to remove 433 barriers since 2003.

Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) staff replaced the failing culvert with a 14-foot wide, 30-foot long steel bridge that will provide a huge increase in flow capacity and provide wild salmonids access to critical spawning and rearing habitat upstream from the project site.

Start Date
Fisher Creek, a tributary to the south fork of the Skagit River, Snohomish County, western Washington State
Project Type
Completion Date
Fish Passage

Goals & Objectives

The goal of the project was to connect isolated habitat to increase the range and distribution of salmon.

The objective of the project was to increase access to areas blocked by human-caused impediments.

Primary Habitats Impacted By Project:
Managing Agency/ Organization:
Riparian Stream Channels
Wild Fish Conservancy
Project Contact:
Budget or Project Cost:
Jamie Glasgow
Funding Sources:
Family Forest Fish Passage Grants
Landowners Craig and Michele Larson