A joint effort proposed by Snohomish County and the city of Everett, the Smith Island Restoration Project is located in the Snohomish River Estuary between Union Slough and Interstate 5 and is a key component of Chinook salmon recovery strategies for the Puget Sound region.
As part of the 2005 Snohomish River Basin Salmon Conservation Plan, the project will restore nearly 400 acres of land to estuary and tidal marshland conditions that are essential for Chinook salmon, which is listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Currently, only one-sixth of the original tidal marshlands downstream of the head of Ebey Slough remain intact and accessible to fish.
Restoration of Smith Island will include removing barriers to tidal and river waters from Union Slough to restore salmon habitat. The proposed project includes construction of a 7,800-foot-long setback dike east of Interstate 5 on Smith Island, followed by removal of portions of the existing dike along Union Slough. The land was initially diked in the early 1900s.
“Restoring salmon habitat is part of our county responsibilities,” said County Executive John Lovick. “Public input in the creation of this plan has been one of the keys to making giving us a successful head start.”
The finalization of the environmental impact statement is the culmination of four years of public involvement and review. The site was selected from more than two dozen potential sites studied and ranked in 2001. The Smith Island Project is considered vital to restoring Chinook salmon and is recognized regionally for its high restoration potential.
The final environmental impact statement may be viewed at the Snohomish County Public Works’ Customer Service Center, Robert J. Drewell Building, 2nd Floor, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue, Everett, or online atwww.snoco.org and then searching for “Smith Island EIS.”