Illabot Creek restoration earns state APWA project of the year awardQQ

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- Looking at Illabot Creek today, you’d never know the creek channel was once in a totally different location: Straightened out, armored with levees and flowing beneath a single bridge on Rockport-Cascade Road. Now, the creek flows as nature intended – connected to its historic floodplain and complete with side channels, improved riparian growth, and a variety of logjams to slow water flow and provide salmon a place to spawn and grow for generations to come. Two new bridges along Rockport-Cascade Road span the new channels. Skagit County and the Skagit River Systems Cooperative were recognized by the     (read more)

Cooke Aquaculture will pay full $332,000 penalty for fish pen collapse in Puget Sound

(OLYMPIA)– Cooke Aquaculture will pay the full $332,000 penalty to the Washington Department of Ecology for the collapse of its floating pen near Cypress Island that released 250,000 non-native fish into Puget Sound. Initially, Cooke Aquaculture appealed the penalty to the Pollution Control Hearings Board, but in a legal settlement with Ecology, agreed to pay the full penalty. The collapse in August 2017 led to a multi-agency investigation, and ultimately to the state Legislature passing a bill to phase out non-native fish farming. As a result of the investigation, Ecology fined Cooke for water quality permit violations that include: poor net cleaning and     (read more)

A body was recovered from the Skagit River

(MOUNT VERNON)- According to a press release, Mount Vernon Police at approximately 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, responded to a call of a possible body floating near the east river bank just north of the State Route 536 Bridge. L Lieutenant Greg Booth said in the release that officers arrived and after making confirmation requested assistance from the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit. Once on-scene, deputies attempted to reach the body but were unable to access the location with their boat, due to logs and debris in the water. The US Border Patrol Search and Rescue team was contacted, and     (read more)

Bellingham air quality receives mixed ratings in new national report because of wildfire smoke impacts

(BELLINGHAM)- Wildfire smoke has worsened local air quality and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, according to the American Lung Association’s 20th annual “State of the Air” report covering the years 2015-17. Bellingham was one of only six cities in the nation on the cleanest cities lists for ozone and was among the 11 cities with the lowest year-round particle levels, according to an ALA news release. But, in an unwelcome change from previous years, overall Whatcom County air quality received only a “C” grade for 24-hour particle pollution because wildfire smoke caused spikes in fine     (read more)

Emergency Management Department updating its preparedness plans for natural disasters

(SKAGIT COUNTY)- How can we better prepare for the impacts from natural disasters? That’s a question the Skagit County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and its partners plan to answer with an update to the county’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (NHMP). The NHMP is a multijurisdictional planning document that benefits city, town and tribal partners throughout Skagit County. Its overarching goal is to reduce vulnerability and lessen the impact of disasters on the local community by creating plans for taking action in advance. It was last updated in 2014. “Skagit County has historically faced floods, severe windstorms, winter     (read more)