Barnaby Reach Project to Focus on Infrastructure Removal and Possible Illabot Creek Connection

Barnaby Reach Project to Focus on Infrastructure Removal and Possible Illabot Creek Connection

Here is a letter received May 17, 2019, from Cynthia Carlstad, consultant to the sponsors of the Barnaby Reach habitat restoration project. It summarizes the current state of affairs regarding the project. We’re pleased to see the sponsors taking what appears to be a sound direction toward meeting their habitat restoration goals while doing so without causing increased environmental risks for our neighbors. The details of how flow from Illabot Creek would be handled have yet to be fully understood, but the direction now intended looks encouraging.


This message is being sent to individuals who have requested to receive updates on the Barnaby Reach Habitat Project. 

The project reached a significant milestone early this year – Existing Conditions Analyses are complete.  This includes technical analyses done over the last two years to gain a solid understanding about the Skagit and Sauk Rivers – flow levels, flooding, erosion, sediment transport, and channel migration, geology, groundwater and tributary drainage in the Barnaby reach.  The technical consultant (NSD) has completed their reports describing these existing conditions analyses, and those reports are available on the project website:

Note that the completed work includes an Existing Conditions Report and Hatchery Infrastructure Removal Preliminary Design Documents and does NOT include larger restoration project alternatives for the Barnaby Habitat Restoration Project.  The existing conditions analyses are an important foundation for the identification and evaluation of habitat project alternatives. 

The four project sponsor entities – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Seattle City Light, The Nature Conservancy, and Skagit River System Cooperative have identified potential alternatives to analyze for the habitat project. NSD is initially looking into two ideas for the project:

  1. Base alternative – removing hatchery infrastructure at Barnaby Slough and completing Martin Road drainage improvements/fish barrier removals.
  2. Illabot Creek connection – directing some flow from Illabot Creek into Upper Harrison Pond.  This concept would provide flow input to the sloughs that Chinook salmon like.  

Please note that no decisions on what to build have been made except to remove hatchery infrastructure and construct Martin Road drainage improvements. After considering estimated benefits, and potential impacts from the two options above, the project sponsors will likely refine and add/eliminate other ideas.  Their aim is to have this information to share with you the next time we meet – likely in July/August 2019.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me or Devin Smith, Project Manager (360-391-1984; 

All the best,

Cynthia Carlstad | Principal

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