Protecting Salmon in Diobsud Creek
In 2014, the Institute purchased a 9-acre property near Marblemount in the Upper Skagit Valley to provide housing for our expanding staff at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center. A few years later, with the support of the M.J. Murdock Trust and Institute donors, we constructed an adjoining house to increase capacity. Our staff and students nurture a ½ acre organic garden on the property, with produce going to our staff and the local food bank.
“Being able to acquire this amazing property helped us take root in the Upriver Community,” explained Saul Weisberg, the Institute’s executive director at the time.
The land is unique in that it is bordered by Diobsud Creek on one side and the Skagit River on another, and so is adjacent to the confluence of these two waterways.
We partnered with our friends at the Skagit Land Trust to place 5.8 acres – including 1,150 feet of creek and river shoreline – in a conservation easement so that this natural treasure will remain undeveloped forever. The easement was completed in December 2020 and brings the network of lands the Skagit Land Trust protects in the Diobsud Creek watershed to nearly 100 acres.
Diobsud Creek features essential spawning habitat for the Skagit’s struggling salmon populations, and in 2018, a wolf pack took up residence in the Diobsud watershed – the first wolf pack west of the Cascade crest in Washington since the 1930s! A wildlife cam installed at the confluence revealed that the area is frequented by a wide variety of wildlife. Black bear, deer, coyote and many bird species including wintering bald eagles utilize the creek in many different ways.
Wildlife cam photos courtesy of Brendan McGarry.
North Cascades Institute also created a $25,000 fund to support future stewardship work on this easement. We have already worked with Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, City Light and Upper Skagit Indian Tribe on habitat improvements including planting trees and creating in-stream structures for spawning salmon.
Read more about the conservation easement and good works of the Skagit Land Trust at goskagit.com.