Riparian areas, or the vegetation along a waterbody, are fundamental building blocks for creating and maintaining functional salmon habitat and water quality. Functions provided include temperature and water quality control, bank stabilization, organic inputs of bugs and leaf litter, and recruitment of trees into our streams to form pools and hiding places. Without native vegetation along the banks of the Skagit, sustainable populations of salmon and trout would disappear!
In 2017, the Council completed an assessment of freshwater riparian conditions to determine if we have been gaining or losing habitat recently compared to desired future conditions and to help identify where restoration or protection projects would be most effective. The assessment characterized both the large river floodplains of the Skagit, Sauk, Suiattle, and Cascade Rivers and also the 14 key Chinook tributaries identified in the 2015 SWC Strategic Approach.
Data outputs include 2013 land cover classification, vegetation height in 2006 and 2015, areas planted with trees by SWC member organizations since 2000, loss of forest cover between 2006 and 2013, and public lands conserved in perpetuity. Additional information was compiled that highlights areas of poor water quality, armored streambanks, and shadowed or isolated floodplains, Data was analyzed at different distances from waterbodies, for both conserved and private lands, and by reach, WRIA and watershed scales.
You can explore the results of this assessment in a variety of ways: