Defending Water in the Skagit River Basin
By Sandra Spargo
- Turners Bay Salmon Pocket Estuary
In 2009, a $671,000 grant was spent to restore the Turners Bay Salmon Pocket Estuary. Chinook salmon now have access to a nearly 60-acre tidal channel lagoon and marsh complex. The lagoon is located at the northeast end of Similk Bay, in the Whidbey Basin of Puget Sound, one of 12 pocket estuaries that had been identified as a high priority restoration site in the Chinook Recovery Plan, part of the Puget Sound Shared Strategy.
According to Skagit County Planning and Development Services,
“While the [Anacortes] petition application references the construction of [Tethys Enterprises, Inc.] beverage bottling plant, this specific project, or another, and their potential impacts or merits are not within the scope of the County’s review.”
Thus, citizens are forced to object to an urban growth area (UGA) petition that would eventually allow Anacortes to rezone the 11.15 acres to light manufacturing next to Turners Bay Salmon Pocket Estuary, because any manufacturing—especially North America’s largest bottling plant operation—could pollute the lagoon.
In the Anacortes American of Dec. 5, 2012, Tethys CEO Steve Winter stated, “We definitely plan to use the property in the UGA expansion. It could be used for anything. It could be used for rail transportation staging or it could be used for the [one million square foot] building.”
How would storm water runoff and train and truck oil drippings be managed away from the close-by estuary?
Moreover, the rainy season couples with high tides to produce high water levels in the lagoon. Data collection in the Whidbey Basin indicate that juvenile salmon displaced from Skagit River delta habitat as a result of flood events could reach the lagoon site in as little as five or six hours.
GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT STEERING COMMITTEE
The Growth Management Act Steering Committee is comprised of representation as follows:
- City of Anacortes
- City of Burlington
- City of Mount Vernon
- City of Sedro Woolley
- Port of Anacortes
- Port of Skagit
- Swinomish Tribal Community
- Samish Indian Nation
- Skagit County
- Skagit Transit
- Town of Concrete
- Town of La Conner