What is the Smith Island Restoration Project? Can you tell me more?
The Smith Island Restoration Project is part of the Snohomish County’s Sustainable Lands Strategy, which is balancing the need to restore vital salmon habitat while also protecting the viability of local agriculture. Farming and salmon production play a key role in the history, culture and economy of Snohomish County and both are protected through sustainable land projects.


According to Washington’s Government Land Office Survey of 1860, Smith Island was once very productive estuary for juvenile salmon. However, the land was later converted for farm use. Over the past several decades, the viability of the agricultural land diminished due to several factors, including ground subsidence and deterioration of drainage infrastructure. There have also been several incidences of erosion along the existing levee which have required continued maintenance. These factors aided in the Smith Island site selection.

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1. What is the Smith Island Restoration Project? Can you tell me more?
2. Who's doing this?
3. Why are you doing this?
4. How will this benefit salmon?
5. How will I benefit from the project?
6. When will you start?
7. So what exactly does it mean to breach a dike? Is it dangerous?
8. What happens to river levels once the old dike is breached and the new dike is built?
9. Should adjacent property owners be worried? Do they know what’s happening?
10. What about flooding? Won’t this increase the chance for flooding on their property?
11. I heard this has always been farmland. How can you call it a “restoration” project? Aren’t you just destroying farmland?
12. How can you say you’re protecting farmland if you’re flooding it all?
13. Who owns the land?
14. What's the cost?
15. That's a lot of money. Is it really worth it?
16. I hear it will only save eight adult fish. That doesn’t seem worth it.
17. Can’t you do this somewhere else? The impacts seem too large.
18. I’ve heard the soil is contaminated with arsenic. Won’t this project release dangerous contaminants into the water? Won’t that kill the fish or endanger my health?
19. What about the Puget Sound Energy pipeline? Is there the chance of explosion or a damaged pipe?
20. OK, you’re going to flood a lot of land. As plants and trees decay, won’t that smell?
21. But what about heat, won’t the water be too hot for fish?
22. How can I learn more about the project?