The Barnaby Reach Project imagines four possible alternatives. The most ambitious one is referred to as “Alternative #4.”
Alternative #4 directs a portion of the Skagit River into Barnaby Slough. It would involve cutting connecting channels to link the Skagit River with Barnaby Slough, as well as Harrison Slough and Lucas Slough, so that a portion of the Skagit River would flow into and out of these sloughs. The SRSC estimates significant habitat benefits at an estimated cost for this alternative of $16.4 to $19 million.
This aggressive design idea is frightening! It diverts the Skagit River southwestward across a relatively flat flood plain creating exposure to catastrophic damage to downstream homes and properties. The benign intention of the channel is to provide water for salmon habitat, but the channel could lead to a much greater portion of the Skagit flowing across the flood plain.
Rivers like the Skagit have minds of their own. Let’s be more careful with thinking they can be predictably controlled.
Salmon habitat is great. Let’s find ways to do it without putting our neighbors at risk.