Fisher Slough Restoration

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Fisher slough beach seine.JPG
Link to new summary report

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.

Skagit Overview Map

Key Outcomes:

  • 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:


Fisher Slough Before Restoration
Fisher Slough After Restoration

Overall project information

Monitoring Information:

Other Notes

  • 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.

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