Skagit River Barnaby Reach Restoration, Rockport, WA
The Barnaby Reach of the Skagit River lies between Illabot Creek to the west and the town of Rockport, Washington to the east. The reach is home to four historic oxbows that carry the potential to rear and protect coho fry and other juvenile salmonids–if local dikes and hatchery structures are removed to ensure floodplain connectivity. The Skagit River Systems Cooperative (SRSC), The Nature Conservancy, Seattle City Light, and WDFW have identified this as a priority restoration project. SRSC hired Natural Systems Design to model the river’s dynamic behavior and provide treatment recommendations that ensure adjacent private property and infrastructure are not adversely affected through restoration efforts. Key elements of the project include reconnection of the floodplain, restoration of natural processes and off-channel rearing habitat, geomorphic assessment, and 2-D hydraulic analysis using River-Flo2D on a 3.5-mile section of the river. Other elements include channel response analysis, a risk and benefit analysis of potential treatment actions. Future stages of the project will develop preliminary design plans to support construction of the project.