Riparian habitats save salmon


February 9, 2022

The Jan. 23 article in the Skagit Valley Herald, “Piece of state legislation has its detractors in Skagit County,” reveals deep concerns about how to save our salmon. What is clear is that we must act quickly and move beyond the voluntary programs, or we will lose this crucial species. All stakeholders will be impacted and all stakeholders must work together.

The Lorraine Loomis Act for Salmon Recovery, introduced by Rep. Lekanoff, calls for repairing damage done to riparian zones around salmon rivers and streams. This will reduce pollution, cool the water and allow salmon to feed and survive on their journey.

The details have caused division and concerns among stakeholders, including the burden on agriculture.

But the timber industry has been regulated to require riparian habitat along salmon streams for over 20 years and economically they are prospering.

And SB 5727 provides many incentives, exceptions and exemptions to support affected landowners in the transition to better protecting water quality and habitat.

The bill contains incentives for landowners that need or want financial assistance restoring their lands, additional financial assistance when agricultural production might be reduced, exceptions for those that are already doing the work such as forest landowners and agricultural producers enrolled in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and reduced requirements for owners of small streamside parcels.

Planting trees and restoring riparian zones is just one essential part of saving our salmon. But over 2,000 miles of salmon streams in the Puget Sound are too hot for salmon and their offspring to survive. If we don’t pass the Loraine Loomis Act our salmon will continue to die off, causing irreparable damage to our ecosystems. And that will hurt all of us – all stakeholders.

Nancy Shimeall

Shelter Bay


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