Puget Sound Innovation Stories

Fir Island Restoration




CITY, COUNTY: Skagit, Skagit County

Project Summary

The Skagit River and its delta provide habitat to some of the largest runs of Chinook, pink, and chum salmon in the state. Tidal wetlands protect and feed young salmon before they move out into the ocean, giving them a better chance of returning as adults to spawn. The Fir Island Farm project, located in the Skagit River delta west of Conway, is an example of how local agricultural leaders and the state can work together to develop a project that benefits salmon recovery while preserving productive farmland. Removal of an existing dike will restore 131 acres of tidal marsh and channels, and opening up critical habitat for endangered juvenile Chinook salmon.  An estimated 65,000 Chinook smolts are expected to be produced annually after restoration is complete.

Key Actions

  • Breaching existing coastal dike along Skagit Bay to restore tidal influences
  • Construction of a new 5,800-foot setback dike
  • Restoring 131 acres of tidal marsh and channel habitat
  • Dredging and expanding historical tidal channels and excavating marsh channels to enhance restoration and limit erosion

fir islandBenefits

  • Restoring 17 acres of new tidal channel habitat bring water, sediment and nutrients to the marsh and maintains habitat for fish and wildlife
  • Restoration provides fish passage and estuarine habitat for salmon to grow and transition into salt water
  • Snow Goose Reserve at Fir Island provides winter forage for geese, hunting, recreation, and wildlife viewing
  • Maintained drainage and flood protection for the remaining farmland and neighboring farmland

Project Partners

  • Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Washington Recreation & Conservation Office
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Skagit River System Cooperative
  • Diking and Drainage District 22
  • Skagit Conservation District
  • Western Washington Agricultural Association
  • Skagit Watershed Council
  • Seattle City Light
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Floodplains by Design
  • Puget Sound Acquisition & Restoration (PSAR) Fund
  • Salmon Recovery Funding Board

Funding: $14,657,265 with $10,197,356 from PSAR funds


LD10, WRIA 3, CD2

More Info

Publish Date: August 28, 2017
Category: Estuaries | Salmon
Congressional Districts: Congressional Dist. 2
Legislative Districts: Legislative Dist. 10
Counties: Skagit
Habitat Types: Floodplain | Estuary