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Agencies collaborate on Stilly River conservation

The Cascade Land Conservancy recently announced that 77 acres of forest, riverfront and wetlands near the Stillaguamish River, shown here, have been conserved. - Adam Rudnick
The Cascade Land Conservancy recently announced that 77 acres of forest, riverfront and wetlands near the Stillaguamish River, shown here, have been conserved.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

ARLINGTON — A state conservation organization recently announced that 77 acres of forest, riverfront and wetlands along the north fork of the Stillaguamish River have been conserved.

The Cascade Land Conservancy and the Stillaguamish Tribe acquired the right to conserve the land, owned by Bryson Investment Group, LLC, through a grant from the Salmon Funding Recovery Board. Purchase price of the acreage was $325,000.

Riparian and in-stream restoration of the area, part of nearly 448,000 acres of land within the Stillaguamish River watershed, is scheduled to begin this summer.

“This is a critical piece of conservation for Snohomish County,” said Nick Harper, Snohomish County Conservation Director for the conservancy. “The Stillaguamish is the fifth largest river draining into Puget Sound so this conservation is an important element in helping with the Puget Sound Partnership’s effort to restore and protect the sound.”

Approximately 192,000 acres of Stillaguamish River watershed is managed by federal, state and industrial managers, as well as small forest landowners, according to a conservancy statement.

The management of the area over the years has led to increasing sediment loads and peak flows of the river, and has altered the shape of the river’s channels, which affects the recovery of Chinook and other salmon, conservation officials said.

“We are pleased to take on the responsibility of conserving this property,” said Shawn Yanity, fisheries manager for the Stillaguamish Tribe. “This is a major step toward protecting the habitat we need for strong salmon runs. For the tribe, this is about preserving our way of life and protecting our treaty-reserved right to fish.”

For more information about the conservancy, visit www.cascadeland.org.

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