About Skagit County
From the glacier-covered Cascades to the fertile Skagit Valley and the marine waters of the Northwest Straits, Skagit County is one of the most environmentally and economically diverse regions of western Washington. The County's mighty Skagit River is the largest river system in the state of Washington that contains all five Pacific salmon species. The Skagit River delta supports large concentrations of wintering waterfowl and provides fertile soils for some of the most productive farmlands in the region. The County boasts 275 miles of marine shoreline, including rocky islands and tidelands, bays and pocket estuaries, and countless sloughs, that provide important habitat for a diverse range of fish, shellfish, waterfowl, marine mammals, and other wildlife.
Not only is a healthy marine environment important to the fish and wildlife it supports, it is also important to the local economy and to those who depend on it as a way of life including the four local tribes (the Swinomish Tribe, the Upper Skagit Tribe, the Samish Indian Nation, and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe) as well as the commercial/recreational fishing and shellfish industries.
Skagit County Marine Resources Committee
Because of its dependence on clean water and healthy marine resources, Skagit County established the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) in 1999 per Resolution #17433, as part of the congressionally authorized Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative (NWSI).
The Skagit MRC's stated purpose is to "act as a catalyst for the protection and restoration of the marine waters, habitats and species of Skagit County to achieve ecosystem health and sustainable resource use."
To that end, the Skagit MRC combines sound science and a "bottom-up" or citizen-based approach to protecting and restoring the marine resources of the Northwest Straits. A key task for the Skagit MRC is to involve and educate the public about these issues. The projects and priorities are determined at the local level, taking into account diverse interests and perspectives; the methods are science-based; and most importantly, community involvement is essential. Thus the Skagit MRC works in collaboration with an expanding list of partners. With the help of these partners and volunteers, the Skagit MRC is able to accomplish a great deal on a very small budget.
The work of the Skagit MRC is funded in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency through the Puget Sound Partnership.