Fisher Slough Restoration
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Fisher slough is a freshwater tidal marsh restoration project on the South Fork Skagit Delta. The Nature Conservancy of Washington collaborated with local partners to restore the 60-acre site. The project design was guided by co-equal objectives, which were to:
- Restore the processes, structures and functions that support habitat for target species, such as Chinook salmon.
- Restore and improve freshwater tidal rearing habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon.
- Restore passage for coho and chum salmon to access spawning habitat in the watershed.
- Improve flood storage and protect adjacent farm uses.
Activities included a levee setback, relocating and updating drainage infrastructure, installing fish-friendly tidegates, excavating channels and planting native vegetation.
- More than five times more area is flooded regularly by the tides after restoration, providing habitat for salmon.
- There are 10 times as many juvenile Chinook salmon in Fisher Slough after restoration.
- The restored area provides almost five times as much flood storage capacity, reducing the risk of floods to neighbors.
Funding was provided by:
- Dike District 3
- Drainage and Irrigation District 17
- Fish America Foundation
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- NOAA/Restoration Center
- Private donors and foundations
- Skagit County
- Puget Sound Partnership/Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund
- US Environmental Protection Agency
- RCO's Salmon Recovery Funding Board
- WDFW/Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program
Overall project information
- Summary of the project context, approach and outcomes. File:TNC 2017 fisher slough restoration summary.pdf
- Presentation about the project background, approach and detailed project outcomes. File:Fisher ESRP Webex 20170724 final.pdf
- Grant report to NOAA, which provided $5.7M in funding for design, implementation and monitoring. Report includes detailed information on project background, inclusive and transparent approach, parties involved, design and construction, socioeconomic benefits, lessons learned and monitoring. File:NOAA FISHER SLOUGH FINAL REPORT.pdf
- Fisher Slough Monitoring and adaptive management plan File:Parametrix 2010.pdf
- Fisher Slough Site monitoring results 2009-2015 File:Henderson et al. 2016 Fisher Slough Monitoring Report Final small.pdf
- Fisher Slough Fish monitoring results 2009-2015 File:Beamer et al. 2017 Fisher Slough Fish Monitoring.pdf
- Fisher Slough Floodgate monitoring report for final year/WY2015Henderson and Beamer 2016 Floodgate Report
- Monitoring lessons learned File:Boyd 2013 fisher slough monitoring lessons.pdf
- File:Greene et al 2012 effects of tidegates on fish.pdf and File:Lyons & Ramsey 2013 tide gate synthesis.pdf describes a Fish and floodgate analysis for several sites including Fisher Slough and is an important case study in the tide gate effects on salmonid passage and utilization topic.
- Weinerman et al 2012 - Economic benefits analysis of the Fisher Slough restoration project.
- Beamer 2016 provides a summary of fish effectiveness monitoring (fish and site monitoring through 2013 and floodgate monitoring though 2015), and links back to all previous Fisher Slough monitoring reports.
- Observed rearing capacity based on density measurements are higher than predicted by the current Skagit model.
- The details of SRT operations stongly affect fish access to the site.
- Fisher Slough was enabled by an unusually large NOAA award that was enabled by the ARRA stimulus funding.
- Fisher Slough was an early action within a portfolio of "multiple benefit" projects, an approach to restoration further advanced by The Nature Conservancy under the Floodplains by Design initiative.
- Following Fisher Slough and Port Susan Restoration, perhaps due to the scope and scale of these efforts, TNC reduced its focus on direct project implementation.
- This is a link to the state contracting record for Fisher Slough Tidegate