Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC) has submitted a “pre-application” for funding a project to improve drainage along Martin Road in Rockport. The pre-application will be screened along with others and, if approved, SRSC will be invited to submit a “full application.” The screening process is expected to be completed by mid-March, 2018. A copy of the pre-application can be found at the end of this article.
Here is a map showing the locations of culverts under consideration (click on the image to enlarge it):
The pre-application included the following summary description of the project:
“The overall goal of this project is to revitalize salmon habitat, improve ecological function, and reduce flood and erosion risks in the Barnaby Reach of the Skagit River. The “early action” projects proposed here support this reach level goal and provide specific benefits to community flood resiliency, floodplain connectivity, and fish passage in the near term. In addition, they will build trust and goodwill in the developing partnership between the community and resource agencies that will be essential for constructing larger floodplain projects in the future. The Skagit River is the largest river system in the Puget Sound and the Barnaby Reach has a very broad floodplain that includes an extensive network of sloughs, wetlands, ponds, side channels, and other off-channel habitats that support a diversity of fish and wildlife species. The reach also includes substantial habitat impacts from dikes, flow control structures, and fish passage barriers. It has over 1,400 acres in public or conservation ownership, and includes private landowners, public roads and highways, and industrial timber land. The extensive conservation ownership provides a unique opportunity for habitat restoration across a large floodplain area, while at the same time the existing flood and erosion risks create opportunities to provide community benefits. For this reason work is underway to develop a large floodplain restoration project in the Barnaby Reach. Floodplains by Design funding is supporting this effort and additional information can be found on the project website: https://barnabystudy.wordpress.com/.
The pre-application goes on to to provide more detailed information about the project:
“The project proposed here consists of design, permitting and construction for a package of road and culvert improvements in the Barnaby reach that have three primary benefits: (1) reduction of flood risks to community members, (2) improved floodplain connectivity, and (3) restoration of fish passage. The sites were identified based on the results of a drainage capacity analysis completed by Natural Systems Design (included as attachment), input from landowners about sites that could provide the greatest benefits during floods, and previous analyses of fish passage.
“The first benefit of this project is reduction of flood risks to community members in the Barnaby Reach. By increasing the capacity of the Martin road drainage system to convey floodwaters, landowners will be able to escape flood prone areas (along with cars, livestock and other possessions) more easily at higher flows, emergency vehicles will have improved access during flood events, and floodwaters will drain more rapidly. These upgrades will also improve the integrity of Martin Road and reduce maintenance costs from flood damage. There are approximately 35 families along Martin Road that will benefit from reduced flooding problems, and of those 12 families currently become entirely isolated by floodwaters during fairly common flooding conditions (approximatey 32′ on Skagit at Concrete gage).
“The second benefit is to improve floodplain connectivity by enhancing the natural conveyance of side channels and sloughs during flood conditions. At one site a culvert will be installed where currently no culvert exists and the road dams an overflow channel, and at two sites culverts will be designed to be larger than current channel widths to meet fish passage requirements. These improvements will greatly improve floodplain connectivity.
The third benefit is to improve fish passage at three sites that have been identified as barriers according to standard WDFW methods. Fish passage will be completely restored at two sites with new culverts or bridges, and will be temporarily improved at the third site until Skagit County makes a decision about the future of the roadway. This will allow fish including Chinook, coho, and steelhead to have improved access to approximately 7 acres of off-channel habitat.”
SRSC included the following explanation describing its motivation for this project:
“A major reason to move forward with these early action projects is to demonstrate the commitment of project sponsors to incorporate community values in project planning and to develop credibility for successful project implementation. In the initial efforts at floodplain restoration in the Barnaby Reach several years ago landowners expressed strong concerns about potential flood risks from a large scale project and for not including community input into project development. Since that time project sponsors have made great strides by revising project goals to include community interests, setting up regular informal community gatherings and formal public meetings, and establishing a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The projects proposed here will not only directly benefit the community and provide valuable habitat improvements, but are essential for building community trust and support that will be needed for constructing additional floodplain projects in the future.”
Our neighbors are generally supportive of this project and some wrote letters to be included with the application. We have gathered the letters we are aware of into another article, along with additional views and remarks by other neighbors. You can read those letters and views here: Neighbor Views.
Here is a complete copy of the “pre-application:”