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Case Study: Fisher Slough Marsh Restoration


Habitat restoration has immediate benefits—opening rivers for fish to swim upstream to spawn and grow—but it has long-term economic benefits, too.

The Fisher Slough marsh restoration project in Washington State improved fish passage to 15 miles of stream and restored 60 acres of freshwater marsh habitat. Through our partnership with The Nature Conservancy, we helped to upgrade floodgates, relocate and consolidate drainage infrastructure, create setback levees, and dig new tidal channels in the marsh. These improvements provided salmon with critical rearing habitat that had been isolated from the river for over a century.

The habitat improvements also had the immediate benefit of supporting 23 jobs and increasing flood protection for local farmers and their neighbors. In fact, a recent study found that the $7.7 million invested in the project may provide $8-$21 million in benefits to the community over the next several decades.  Now that’s a sound investment!

The improvements made at Fisher Slough are estimated to support an additional 16,000 young Chinook salmon. Not only did the project succeed in restoring valuable habitat for threatened fish, it also had a slew of other benefits, including:

  • Reduced drainage and irrigation maintenance costs for the local community by updating antiquated drainage and flood protection infrastructure
  • Reduced flood damage to agriculture and local infrastructure in the community
  • Increased farming opportunities

The Fisher Slough projected involved a diverse set of partners and established salmon recovery and flood protection goals. It was the first successfully implemented restoration action on private land in the Skagit delta. You can read the entire report on socioeconomic benefits from the Fisher Slough Project here.

Posted February 19, 2013



Migrating fish spotted at BZ Falls, upstream of Condit Dam

Fisher Slough submerged marsh