Upper Skagit Tribe

The Upper Skagit tribe includes descendants from 11 villages in the Upper Skagit and Samish watersheds. Although the tribe signed the treaty of Point Elliott, no reservation was established, and members refused to leave the region. Today, the tribe's population is scattered among different towns, including Sedro-Woolley, Mount Vernon, and Newhalem.

Upper Skagit Area of Concern:

The Skagit River provides 30% of freshwater input to Puget Sound, and the watershed is one of the healthiest in the region. This makes protecting existing habitat a high priority, as population growth will only put more pressure on the ecosystem. One focus has been Samish Bay, where fecal coliform pollution is impacting the tribe's ability to harvest shellfish. The tribe, working with local and state organizations, has helped create a plan to address the issue. Shrinking glaciers are also a concern for the Skagit. The basin has lost 400 billion gallons of ice since 1993, which equates to about a month of continuous flow. 

Natural Resource Management:

  • The tribe is examining scale samples from 75 wild steelhead to determine the age at which fish are returning to the Skagit River. Using equipment at the University of Washington, tribal scientists can tell how many years steelhead have spent in freshwater before migrating to the ocean, and how many years spent at sea before returning to spawn.
  • Using a mechanized device, the tribe planted more than 50,000 trees in the Hansen Creek floodplain in 2009. The contraption, called a “rotary stinger”, plants only one sapling at a time, but each tree is finished in under a minute. The floodplain restoration rejuvenated almost two miles of side channels, reversing 60 years of dredging and levee maintenance.
  • Beaver sometimes take over channels constructed for chum salmon, blocking the path of migrating fish. The tribe monitors some human-built channels, visiting weekly over the winter to make sure that beaver don’t interfere with the salmon and the process of restoring fish to previously degraded habitat.

Upper Skagit Tribe
25944 Community Plaza Way
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284

Phone: (360) 854-7090
FAX: (360) 854-7004

Chairperson: Jennifer Washington
Natural Resources Director: Scott Schuyler

source: NWIFC