• Board of County Commissioners pass resolution calling on City of Seattle to commit to a regionally e

    October 30, 2021

    Yesterday, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed County Resolution No. R20210210 which asks Seattle City Light to commit to a regionally equitable salmon investment in the Skagit.

    “For too long, the City of Seattle has allowed its dams to degrade the Skagit watershed without proper and effective mitigation investment,” said Commissioner Peter Browning. “It’s time the City of Seattle and its power users do right by the Skagit and commit to reasonable, equitable investment in fish passage and habitat restoration.”

    The City of Seattle, through its municipal electric utility Seattle City Light, operates three hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River. Unlike virtually every other hydroelectric project in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle City Light Skagit project does not provide any fish passage. In total, Seattle’s three dams block approximately 37 percent of the mainstream Skagit to fish passage, also creating significant downstream impacts.  

    Commissioner Lisa Janicki said, “We’re in a unique situation in the Skagit. In one watershed, we’ve got all five species of salmon on which endangered Orcas rely for food, three Endangered Species Act-listed anadromous species, and two separate hydroelectric projects. It’s imperative that we all work to protect the fisheries resources for the Skagit basin and for the Treaty Tribes- that’s all we’re asking Seattle to do.”

    Skagit Treaty Tribes and state and federal resource agencies have identified fish passage as a priority recovery strategy.  Skagit County is charged with protecting the watershed’s natural resources land base for fishing, farming, and forestry. Skagit County is actively supporting Skagit Treaty Tribes in their effort to secure fish passage from Seattle City Light.

    Commissioner Ron Wesen said, “Over the lifetime of Seattle City Light’s previous FERC license, our fish numbers steadily declined.  This is the only opportunity for the next 50 years to ask that Seattle contribute to our collective fisheries obligations in the Skagit, and we can’t wait any longer for Seattle to step up to a reasonable level of investment.” 

    For more information on this topic, please contact the Skagit County Commissioners’ office at 360-416-1300 or commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us

    County Commissioners: Lisa Janicki, Peter Browning, Ron Wesen
    1800 Continental Place, Suite 100
    Mount Vernon, WA 98273


    Laura Han
    laurah@co.skagit.wa.us, 360-416-1309