Riparian and floodplain vegetation provides shade, nutrients, a source of large woody debris, and other habitat functions for adjacent freshwater habitats.  Shrubs and hardwoods provide necessary shelter from predators and forage opportunities for salmonoids in delta and nearshore rearing habitats., and increasing salmonoid survivorship and fitness.Historic vegetation reconstructions indicate that conifers, hardwoods and shrubs were all well-represented in natural floodplains. However, riparian vegetation conditions are currently impaired within many Skagit River reaches.. Streamside conifer species are desirable in flood plain and riparian zones because they decay more slowly and function as key pieces of wood in a river or stream channel for much longer than hardwood species, providing stable pieces in the channel and anchoring log jams.  Because of the nature of degradation (established agricultural pastures, weed infestations, etc.), these sites would likely remain in a degraded state for a long period of time without intervention to reduce weed loads and restore native vegetation.

Riparian restoration is performed at numerous sites in a range of habitat types that support spawning, rearing, and migration of salmonid species in the Skagit River basin. Mainstem floodplain plantings are installed along major rivers (> 50 m width); tributary plantings are along streams that flow into mainstem rivers; nearshore and delta sites have tidal influence. Typically, sites are planted with appropriate native species at 500 to 600 plants per acre. A variety of factors are considered during species selection including the habitat type, hydrology, soil texture and light availability. Additional selection criteria include benefits to fish and wildlife, and increased vegetative species diversity at the site. Planting season is from November to May and we use a mixture of bareroot and potted stock at our sites. Biodegradable mesh tubing is used to protect the plants in pastures from excessive damage by vole populations. New plantings are monitored and maintained for at least three years. Walkthroughs are performed during the growing season to ensure plant health by identifying pest invasions and other issues while they are still treatable. Maintenance actions include addressing any issues identified during monitoring, releasing the plants by mowing competing vegetation and controlling invasive species within the planting areas.

 

SRSC Riparian Planting Projects (288.3 Acres Total)

SiteProject PartnersPrimary Funding SourceAcreageYear(s) PlantedHabitat Type
Smokehouse FloodplainSITCSRFB/WRP/ROSE29.22006-2009, 2015Nearshore
Government BridgeUSFWS/TFWSRFB6.02010Floodplain
Finney CreekSPI/GYN/TFWBIA22.52003Tributary
Hansen CreekSITC/SFEGWRP/SRFB/CREP33.92011-2013Tributary
Tin ShackSCLSCL/SRFB/WRP14.52002, 2008Floodplain
Kaaland/Upper Skiyou SloughUSFSPSE/SRFB28.12013-2015Floodplain
Kosbab SloughSLTSLT38.32002-2005Floodplain
QueensgateUSFSUSFS6.42012Floodplain
Martin RanchTNC/WSDOTTNC/WSDOT11.02014-2015Floodplain
Pressentin RanchSLTSLT5.02014-2015Floodplain
Sauk-Suiattle Conservation AreaSSITSSIT45.22001-2002, 2009-2012Floodplain
Seed OrchardUSFSUSFS5.02015Floodplain
Savage SloughSCLSCL/SRFB24.42011-2015Floodplain
Skiyou SloughUSFS/SFEGUSFS/SFEG11.9200-2003Floodplain
Thomas CreekSINSIN9.82010Tributary

GYN- Good Year Nelson
SSIT- Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe
SITC- Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
SCL- Seattle City Light
SLT- Skagit Land Trust
SIN- Samish Indian Nation
SPI- Sierra Pacific Industries
SFEG- Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group
TNC- The Nature Conservancy
TFW- SRSC Timber, Fish & Wildlife Department

USFS- United States Forest Service
BIA- Bureau of Indian Affairs (US DOI)
CRP- Conservation Reserve Program (USDA; FSA)
EPA- US Environmental Protection Agency
NFWF- Pioneers in Conservation (National Fish and Wildlife Foundation)
PSE- Puget Sound Energy
SRFB- Salmon Recovery Funding Board (WA RCO)
WRP- Wetlands Reserve Program (NRCS)
WSDOT- Washington State Department of Transportation

Primary Project Contact
Brenda Clifton