As a lifelong Washingtonian and Skagit angler, I stand with the authors in their opposition to this misguided mining project. And as a founding member of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, which has spent the last 18 years fighting to protect the Skagit’s imperiled wild steelhead (Washington’s State Fish), I wholeheartedly agree the last thing the Skagit needs is a new threat.
The Skagit is emblematic of Washington’s treasures and challenges. Of Puget Sound’s 49 major rivers, the Skagit produces about half of all wild steelhead and Chinook salmon. That impressive fact is muted by the harsh reality that the Skagit now boasts an annual return of about 6,500 steelhead, less than 5 percent of the 149,000 steelhead the river produced in 1900.
For decades, Washingtonians have spent millions of dollars working to rebuild the Skagit’s fledgling fish runs. This destructive mining project threatens to undo this hard-earned progress and further imperil the iconic Skagit River and its invaluable fisheries. We cannot let that happen. We must defeat this project before it’s too late.
Rich Simms, Mukilteo