Suzan DelBene at Birdsview Brewery for Illabot Creek “Wild and Scenic Corridor”

Suzan DelBene at Birdsview Brewery for Illabot Creek “Wild and Scenic Corridor”

By Beth Easterday

I recently went to the Birdsview Brewery for a meet and greet with Suzan DelBene, Congresswoman, and Lisa Janicki,Commissioner. Representatives from The Nature Conservancy, Seattle City Light, WDFW. and the local rafting company were also present to talk about the proposed designation of Illabot Creek as a “Wild and Scenic Corridor.”

It was a casual, cordial and happy affair after an afternoon rafting past the mouth of Illabot Creek. I asked if their guides had pointed out the area that is proposed as the diversion of the Skagit River into Barnaby Slough? They looked at me like I was speaking French in a German bar. Suddenly, I was someone.


I was asked who I was, and who I represented. I explained: I like the Skagit River and don’t see any reason to have it diverted. Period. No affiliation, no group, no title. I asked if they were aware of the Barnaby Reach project? Some turned away and others feigned interest. So I began on my mission. I passed out the July 2015 informational sheet prepared by Skagit River System Cooperative, because their material shows the project to be non-invasive.

I think is important for the public and our elected officials to see the twist on public information.

I found it strange that the greeting wouldn’t take place at the Rockport Pub where more upriver locals would hear about Mrs. DelBene’s presence and have the opportunity to express their feelings about conservation of the Illabot Creek and the role of the Skagit Land Trust in conserving 100 acres of Perrigoue ranch. See the Skagit Land Trust newsletter at

I commend the Perrigoue’s for their role in conserving the salmon habitat that runs through Illabot Creek on their land and for partnering with the Skagit Land Trust. I value the work Skagit Land Trust does all over Skagit County.

I understand The Nature Conservancy does work all over the nation but I wonder how the Illabot Creek designation and salmon habitat conservation projects can be a stone’s throw away from the proposed Barnaby Reach project, and The Nature Conservancy supports diverting the Skagit River through Barnaby and Harrison Sloughs.

Does someone give the supporters blinders or rose colored glasses? Or, does The Nature Conservancy pick which projects to provide glossy photos and support for based on grant money or popularity?

I think that the Supporters listed on the Nature Conservancy flyer from the brewery meeting aren’t being told that the Nature Conservancy supports a diversion of the river less than a mile away from the Illabot Creek.

It might have been that Birdsview brew that clouded their judgment when they supported TNC.

I urge my upriver neighbors to write your congressman/woman, senators and local legislators about the Barnaby Slough project. When I see all these wonderful community groups working to protect Illabot Creek; I wonder why not protect the Barnaby Slough and Harrison Pond. Most importantly why not protect the residents of Martin Road and Rockport. Diverting the Skagit River is just messing with Mother Nature. Aren’t people more important than salmon?

Designation of the Illabot Creek as a Wild and Scenic Corridor will prohibit dams and other federally assisted water projects that impair the free-flowing nature of a river or its outstanding values; I ask that the supports of the designation of the Illabot Creek also partner together to help the residents of Martin Road, Rockport and all of Skagit County to abandon the idea of diverting the Skagit River through Barnaby Slough.

I hope you all will write to all the supporters listed on the Nature Conservancy image at the top of this article and oppose the Barnaby Reach project.

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  • christie fairchild
    September 25, 2015, 9:08 pm

    Well said, beth and thanks for going to that event and letting them know what’s gong on here! now we need to follow up and keep needling them so they don’t forget!


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