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April 3, 2020

1/29/2020 2:23:00 PM
Rebuild jetty fishway

To the Editor:
The inadequate fishway in the jetty between Goat Island and McGlinn Island should now be rectified. Its original design was to have three feet of water, for the passage of salmon fry at any minus tide and to allow small boat passage.
The miles of sanctuary waters off the Swinomish Channel, north of La Conner, Telegraph Slough and others were key control areas for survival of young salmon in their transition from fresh water to the sea.
The fishway was built too shallow and would not allow fry to swim through it at any tide less than four feet, consequently they were washed into Skagit Bay and Deception Pass.
Prior to construction of the jetty in 1937 the Swinomish channel north of La Conner produced huge runs of adult King salmon, supplying a good living for commercial fishermen and enough to spawn and sustain the runs.
The demise of these fish began to show on the first cycle after the jetty was built and within four cycles of Kings it was over.
These were times of war and salmon runs were the last things on the minds of politicians and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The cost of rebuilding the fishway to the correct depth and keep it open would be small compared to the talk of removing dams on the Snake River to save the orca.
The Port of Skagit County, local tribes and the Washington State Fisheries should demand the Army Corps of Engineers to re-do the fishway in the jetty and this time get it functional.
The history with data and pictures written by Milo Moore, ex-director of Washington State Fisheries is available.
Denny Sather
Mount Vernon


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