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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

House Passes Wild & Scenic Bill

Posted by Michael Lanthier

A Wild and Scenic River designation for the Illabot Creek, a major tributary to the Skagit River, just passed in the House today. Introduced by Representative Rick Larson and Senator Patty Murray, the senate bill still awaits a hearing. Both Rep Larson and Sen Murray led the efforts to create Washington's first designated wilderness in over 20 years, the Wild Sky Wilderness.

The passage of the Illabot Creek Bill would create the 7th tributary or river in Washington to be designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Washington's neighbor to the south, Oregon, has over 50.

Wild and Scenic River designation protects the free flowing condition of rivers. That designation is important for the Illabot Creek, which provides exceptional spawning and rearing habitat for summer and fall chinook, coho, and pink salmon. Illabot is also home to native steelhead and one of the largest populations of bull trout in the Skagit watershed. It also supports one of the largest wintering bald eagle populations in the lower 48.

Find out more about the Illabot Creek at American Rivers, an organization that Washington Wilderness works closely with in protect Washington's rivers.

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