Cynthia Carlstad, consultant to the Skagit River System Cooperative for its Barnaby Reach project called me in response to a letter I wrote to the SRSC leadership. She confirmed that the project proponents and their sponsors are very aware of our steadfast opposition to the channel feature in the current project design. No alternative approach to introducing water into the proposed fish habitat area has been identified yet, she said. We also talked about community concerns about the project’s potential impact on property values in the area, and agreed that this is something that deserves serious attention as the project proceeds.
Here is Ms. Carlstad’s letter of today, September 8, 2016, updating interested individuals on the current status of the Barnaby Reach project. We are sharing it here to give it wider distribution.
This message is being sent to individuals who have requested to receive updates on the Barnaby Reach Habitat Project. I want to give you an update on project status, including recent and upcoming activities.
Ove the last year, the project sponsors (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Seattle City Light, The Nature Conservancy, and Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC)) have worked to establish better communications with the community and other stakeholders. This has included convening a Stakeholder Advisory Committee, holding a community meeting in Rockport last December, conducting individual interviews and small group meetings, expansion of the project goals and objectives, and regular project website updates, including meeting summaries (see https://barnabystudy.wordpress.com/.) No new technical project development work has occurred during this period.
The project sponsors are ready to begin the next phase of technical work. They are developing a scope of work that covers more detailed topographic and bathymetric (underwater) survey, surface and ground water data collection, sediment and groundwater characterization, hydrologic analysis, and hydraulic (river and flood flow) modeling. This work will build on the previous analysis and modeling, and will provide a more complete understanding about the river, floodplain, tributaries, groundwater, and how all of those features are interconnected.
No decisions have been made yet on what alternative configurations will be modeled in the next phase of technical work – that step will come later, and will be discussed with the Stakeholder Advisory Committee prior to beginning the work.
A Technical Advisory Committee has also been formed to provide third party review for the upcoming technical work. The Technical Advisory Committee is comprised of Rob Schanz of WSDOT, Jon Riedel of the National Park Service, and Vaughn Collins/Casey Kramer of Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (NHC)). These individuals and organizations have the expertise needed to critically review upcoming work products. They have also been helping the project sponsors craft the scope of work for the next phase of technical work. The project sponsors hope to have a technical consultant selected for this next phase of work by November.
SRSC is also installing water level monitors around the Barnaby Reach vicinity to collect data that will help us better understand how water in the Skagit River, sloughs, tributary streams, and groundwater interact. These data monitors record water levels automatically at regular intervals, and will be used by the project team and technical consultant to describe the interactions between these waters under current conditions, and later, with potential Barnaby Reach project configurations.
I’ll continue to update you monthly on project activities. Hope everyone is enjoying the waning days of summer!
All the best,