KING5 reporter Alison Morrow again visited Skagit County to report on the important issue of fish habitat and farmland. A solid report but something vital was missing: the fact that the Skagit river system already has some of the best and most protected fish habitat of any river system in Puget Sound, and much of that due to farmer participation and initiative.

Conservation experts agree that the voluntary measures have proven most successful and are the most effective way to continue habitat improvements. Skagit county with its strong farm community is a stellar example of what can be accomplished through voluntary, cooperative and collaborative work. For the details on this, including what the experts say, see our information on this subject here.

What is clear in the report is that the Swinomish leader is continuing his repeated calls for mandatory stream buffers even on man-made drainage ditches that flow to salt water and have no impact on salmon at all. Despite the remarkable progress made, documented even in their own reports, Chairman Cladoosby continues to insist on government regulations that would not address key issues of chinook recovery but would result in significant losses of already declining Skagit farmland.

The history of Skagit farmers work in creating and restoring fish habitat is remarkable and demonstrates the commitment is there to do what is right, reasonable and effective. It’s one main reason why, as Chairman Cladoosby pointed out, the Skagit river system is the healthiest and most productive for all species of salmon of any Puget Sound river system. The unreasonable demand for more regulations and further loss of irreplaceable farmland is simply wrong. Ecology, the Puget Sound Partnership and others involved need to do more to focus on those that have yet to experience the success the Skagit system has.