IntroductionAfter a 1960 flood inundated over 8000 acres of prime agricultural land in the Snohomish River Valley, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation built a series of levees and gates to reduce flooding and manage the return flow of the flood water.
Concerns and complaints led the state Department of Ecology and the Marshlands Flood Control District (MFCD), a small public entity not normally in the public’s eye, into what could have been a tense relationship that instead became a partnership to meet MFCD goals and improve water quality and help salmon.
ProblemThe underlying issue was a matter of trust. Ecology was concerned about the water quality in this predominantly agricultural area, including maintaining a natural fish population. The MFCD was leery of interacting with environmental agencies in general and Ecology in particular.
The specific issue was a failing flood gate on the Snohomish River about six miles upstream of Interstate 5. That gate served to drain Batt Slough, which is a remnant side channel that offers potential refuge habitat for migrating salmon. Batt Slough could provide about one mile of resting and refuge opportunities at a critical location. Significantly, the gate was not serving its original purpose of flood control.
To find out how the problem was resolved, read the full story online.
Story written by Bob Penhale, Ecology Northwest Regional Office
Telling our success storiesWater quality success stories provide a wealth of information associated with novel project designs, funding ideas, and useful resource suggestions. Some are clear successes; others supply valuable lessons to help us grow in our understanding of water quality protection and restoration. Stories illustrate successes gained from cooperation among Washington’s citizens and organizations.
Read all of our Ecology's water quality success stories, and check out our complete catalog of stories.