Skagit: Seattle City Light continues land purchases - Utility buys two parcels for wildlife protection

Skagit Valley Herald

Kim Robinson / Skagit Valley Herald
Skagit County, WA - 3/7/02 - Seattle City Light has purchased two pieces of land in the Skagit River basin for wildlife habitat protection.

The utility, which owns the Ross and Diablo dams on the upper Skagit River, bought the land as part of an ongoing habitat protection program, according to Lynn Best, Seattle City Light’s manager of science policy.

One piece of land is 14 acres along the south bank of the Skagit River near Sedro-Woolley. The land includes the mouth of Gilligan Creek, which Best described as a critical piece of habitat off the Skagit River’s main channel. The Gilligan Creek parcel cost about $66,000.

“There’s very little off-channel habitat in the lower Skagit River,” Best said.

This purchase will preserve one of the remaining pieces used by chinook, coho and pink salmon as well as steelhead trout, she said.

The other land is 40 acres between Rockport and Darrington along Highway 530. Best described the land as wetlands and forested areas with many beaver ponds. This parcel cost about $68,000, Best said.

The land was purchased though a Seattle City Light program that set $4.5 million aside for acquisition of fish habitat.

The purchases are separate from the land acquisitions the utility made in the upper Skagit basin as part of its federal dam relicensing agreement. Diablo and Ross dams were relicensed in 1996.

The purchases were just the most recent in the utility’s acquisition of Skagit County land.

Seattle City Light already owned 54 acres for its endangered species program, the same one the newest purchases are included under. In addition, the utility owns 90 acres along rivers and creeks required as part of the dam relicensing package.

The largest purchases were 7,884 acres in the Nooksack and Skagit basins for wildlife protection. Those purchases also were part of the dam relicensing agreement.

The purchases were endorsed by the Skagit Watershed Council after a process that included a technical review and discussion by a subcommittee, a committee and the full council, according to Shirley Solomon, chair of the group.


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