In 2017, a dam on Barrel Springs began to fail. The dam was installed in the 1960s by the father of the current property owner with the intension of raising salmonids for fishing and for remote-control boating. Since the passing of Mr. Spore, the dam has gone mostly unmaintained and is no longer desired by the property owner. The dam has no fish passage. On the same property, two failing culverts exist, one on Dry Creek and one on Barrel Springs. A third culvert is located immediately upstream on Barrel Springs. This culvert routinely plugs and causes flooding while blocking fish passage.
Skagit County will use this grant to restore stream habitat and fish passage at 3 barriers on Barrel Springs and 1 barrier on Dry Creek in the Samish watershed in Alger, WA. The project will remove a failing dam and replace three culverts with two bridges and one fish passable culvert; regrade the channel and install large woody material; replant native riparian vegetation to restore 2.4 acres of thermal refugia habitat; and reconnect over 3.5 miles of habitat. Barrel springs is Dry Creek’s only source of water during the summer months, making access to this thermal refuge increasingly important with climate change threats. The primary species that will benefit from this project include ESA-listed Steelhead and Coho, Chum, and Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout. This project is a high priority for the County and American Rivers, who have worked closely with local Tribes, WDFW, Skagit Fisheries Enhancement group, and the landowners to complete design. Rose Foundation previously contributed $25,000 to the design effort. This project presents a rare opportunity to restore fish passage through four known barriers at one construction site, address an imminent water quality impairment, and directly address climate change impacts. Project completion would also improve Skagit County capacity and partnerships enabling similar barriers to be improved on private lands within the Skagit watershed.