OLYMPIA – On April 16, Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, introduced House Joint Memorial 4013, regarding logging and mining operations within the upper Skagit River watershed. This follows concerns raised that logging and mining operations by Canadian companies would cause severe harm to Washington’s efforts to restore water quality and fish supply.
“The flow of water does not stop at our borders. Toxins that flow from these projects will have detrimental impacts to the recovery of our salmon,” said Lekanoff. “Salmon are vital to the existence of our resident orcas, and to the culture, tribes and people of the Pacific Northwest. Washington state stands with our tribes in protecting the Skagit River’s precious resources.”
The Skagit River watershed is shared between Washington state and Canada, and supplies 30 percent of water that flows into the Salish Sea. Skagit waters are an enormous environmental resource to the habitat of the Pacific Northwest. The Skagit River is the only major river in Puget Sound that still has all six species of Pacific Salmon.
Over the course of the legislative session, lawmakers pushed policy efforts to help recovery of Southern Resident orcas. This has included legislation protecting against catastrophic oil spills, reducing boat noise, preventing toxins from entering Washington waters and increasing Chinook salmon – the primary food source for orcas. There are only 75 Southern Resident orcas left in existence.
The legislative session is set to adjourn on April 28.