MASTER INDEX TO HISTORICAL
NEWSPAPER FLOOD ARTICLE RESEARCH
Researched, assembled and organized by: Dan Berentson, Josef and Larry Kunzler
Index prepared by Larry Kunzler,
Drainage Solution Expected (Editorial)
At long last it appears that a solution to at least part
of the Mount Vernon
storm water disposal problem has been found. . . . Now the City
Council has worked out a program with Drainage Dist. No. 17, to the south of
the city whereby a 7,000 gallon-a-minute pump will be installed to lift water
from the ditches of the district into the Skagit River.
. . . The pump with a capacity well in excess of the run off from the
200 acre hill area now makes possible, if it works according to plan, a
continuance of street paving projects. However, the agreement does
propose that if for any reason the pump does not accomplish its purpose in a
manner satisfactory to the Drainage District, the project can be
halted. For this reason complete installation of a storm sewer system
must await the outcome of one year’s experience with the new pump.
Drainage District #17
Pumped water from ditches into the Skagit River.
Inter-county Flood Control
Herman Hanson, Mt.
Vernon superintendent of public
works has called for inter-county planning for flood control as a major
discussion topic at the 25th annual meeting of Washington Flood
Control council being held today in Renton.
He is council president. It is obvious to anyone connected with river
work that most of the river work done to date has been piece-meal
construction, seldom accomplished in accordance with any over plan,”
Hanson wrote in his call for the meeting.
Flood work between counties has been “piece-meal.”
last Skagit river stern-wheeler sits on a sand bar below Mount Vernon while owners ponder whether
to junk it or try to salvage it for sale as a dockside eating house. It has become
unprofitable to use it for freight on the river. And so another tie with the
past disappears. The old paddle wheel boats can’t run on our four-lane
Charles Dwelley on Stern-Wheeler
254,000 steelhead planted in
If everything goes according to
plan the Skagit river will become the best
steelhead stream in the world. The
plan belongs to the State Game Department, whare now starting the program of
raising steelhead in their 27 acre rearing pond across the river at Rockport
in what is known as “Barnaby’s Slough”. The slough is stream fed with good water
and has been cleared, diked and equipped with a releasing trap for permitting
the mature fish in migrate naturally into the Skagit River. . . .
In addition to the Barnaby fish plant a summer run will be started
from Lake Shannon. The first plant of summer run steelhead was
of 60,000 fry. Another 100,000 will be
planted in hopes of assuring a continuing steelhead run from this spawning
Steelhead Fish Issue
It appears that at least 400,000
steelhead were put into the Skagit
River system in just
old gorge dam site disappears from site as new skagit lake builds up behind growing high dam
Only the tops of the sluice
gate towers of the old Gorge Diversion Dam remain visible as the waters
continue to rise behind Seattle City Light’s new high Gorge Dam. The crest of the concrete spillway of the
diversion dam was about 35 feet under water at the time the accompanying
picture was taken. It will be about
100 feet under water when the reservoir behind the high dam is filled.
steelheading on skagit best in state last season
Steelhead fishing is definitely
on the upturn last season and figures to date from the punch cards show that
148,281 fish were caught in the winter season. This is 21,751 more steelhead
taken than in the previous season. This was tempered a bit by the fact that
3,417 more punchcards were issued last year but still shows an increase in
the steelhead runs. The Skagit River again topped all rivers in the
state with 18,568 fish counted. The Green river
was next with 11,774 and the Cowlitzs third with 11,075. The previous winter
season on the Skagit netted fishermen 14,803
fish. The Green was listed with 9.914 and the Humptulips third with 8,601.
Steelhead Fish Issue
18,568 fish caught.
county backs jackman creek project
control project set up for Jackman Creek, which has been awaiting a sponsor
before the U.S. Army Engineers and the federal government would take action,
finally found one this week in Skagit
commissioners have agreed to set in the case, and to take over the
maintenance of the project after the work is done. Jackman
Creek due to erosion of a gravel bank a short distance upstream from the
state highway and the G. N. railway bridge, has jumped its banks a few times
the past few years, causing damage to nearby property, but threatening much
more serious damage in the future to highway bridges and private property
unless some control work is undertaken.
The county had balked at taking sponsorship of the project due to the
fact that no county roads or property is involved and that the sponsor is to
accept future responsibility for the control of the stream in flood
times. The federal government has set
up a $30,000 project for the repair of the stream bed, and a contract has now
been let for the work. The county will
have to secure the ownership or right of way.
Jackman Creek Project
And from this day forward the
County taxpayers have been paying for this project.
Results Show Scattered Vote On Dike Issues
Results from 18 of the 24 diking and drainage district
commissioner elections held Tuesday had been turned in to the office of
Skagit County Auditor Al Johnson
by this morning. Light voting was the rule in all but one of the
districts – Diking District One, where 121 voters turned out. In other
districts not more than 30 persons voted in each, and the average was nearer
15. In Diking District One, there was no apparent reason for the heavy
vote. Mrs. Howard Persons, an election judge, thought a
“get-out-the-vote” campaign might have been responsible.
Dike District Elections
Voter turnout very light except in Dike District #1.
Open Skagit To
Navigation Being Pushed
The Waterways Association meeting in Portland
Nov. 21 and 22, passed the Skagit resolution along with 31 other resolutions
backing various waterways proposals, mainly on the Columbia
River. . . . “The Skagit Valley
already has exceptional natural advantages that favor economic growth.”
U.S. Army Engineers would make the river study, determining if navigation
would justify its cost, explained Magnuson. A report on the study would
be submitted to Congress “at the earliest possible date,” he continued.
Brief initial studies have indicated navigation on the Skagit
will show economic justification, engineering soundness and relatively minor
dredging costs, Magnuson recalled.
Navigation Project for Skagit River Proposed
River Dredging Backed
Funds to study dredging of the Skagit river from the Sound
to Concrete, for navigation, may be asked of the next Congress, Senator
Warren Magnuson has advised Leo Sullivan, chairman of the Mt. Vernon
chamber of commerce industrial committee. . . . The project, said
Sullivan, “has hearty endorsement from 36 business firms and chambers of
commerce in the area,’ as well as the waterways association. . .
. He said brief initial studies have indicated economic justification
for the project could be shown and it would be engineering-wise sound.
This was actually done and the study was published 1/18/63
as FEASIBILITY REPORT, SKAGIT
RIVER (Dredging barge
channel), Col. Ernst Perry, Corps of Engineers
Survey Funds Sought For Dredging Skagit
Funds for complete study of
the feasibility of dredging the Skagit
River will be asked at
the next session of Congress. Such a study would be made by the Army
Corps of Engineers to appraise the economic benefits and estimate federal
costs entailed in dredging the existing course and channel of the river for
shallow barge transportation.
River was to be dredged from Concrete to Fir Island.
This was actually done and the study was published 1/18/63 as FEASIBILITY
REPORT, SKAGIT RIVER (Dredging barge channel), Col.
Ernst Perry, Corps of Engineers
Indians’ Fish Test In Court
Trial of a minor criminal case – of major importance to
Northwest Washington Indians – started in Skagit County Superior Court at
9:30 a.m. today. More than 100 persons, a majority Indians, were present in
Judge Charles F. Stafford’s courtroom. Only one Swinomish Indian, Joe McCoy,
is on trial, but the outcome of the case will affect fishing rights of all
Washington Indians west of the Cascades and north of the Duwamish River.
McCoy is charged by State with catching salmon during a closed season near
the mouth of the Skagit
River. THE STATE alleges
Indians have unrestricted fishing rights on, but not off, their reservations.
. . . The State, represented by County Prosecutor Walter J. Deierlein
Jr., says the 1855 treaty, and another augmenting it in 1873, does not put
the boundary out into the Skagit
River channel. DEFENSE
COUNSEL, Harwood Bannister, however, said he would show that the
reservation reaches out into the channel. . . . The State is pressing
this case because the rights of all fishermen, whites or Indians, sports or
commercial, are involved, the prosecutor said. (MILO
MOORE, State Fisheries director, has said the State mist be able to
regulate the taking of salmon headed into rivers in order to halt the
decrease in salmon runs.)
A Prelude To The Boldt Decision
Drawn In Fish Test
closures are a necessity to the conservation of salmon in Washington, top officials of the State
Fisheries Department testified in the Indian fishing rights test case
yesterday afternoon. Testifying, for the State, were Milo Moore, director,
and Edward Mains, research division supervisor. On trial in Skagit County
Superior Court is Joe McCoy, Swinomish Indian. Arrested near the mouth of the
North Fork, he is charged with salmon
fishing in a closed season. Moore, who said he previously lived along the Skagit about 40 years, said he feels the only way
salmon fishing could be effectively “rehabilitated” would be a halt to all
salmon fishing for two full salmon life cycles. In lieu of such a drastic
measure, he pointed out, temporary fishing closures at certain times are a
must. REGULATION OF fishing at certain places, particularly near river
mouths and immediately below falls and dams – places fish congregate – is a
necessary tool in the conservation of salmon runs, Mains said. . . . “A
few individual fishermen unregulated on the Skagit
could definetly destroy its salmon runs,” he emphasized. “By gill net they
could take up to 98 per cent of a run.”
The only way salmon fishing could be effectively
“rehabilitated” would be a halt to all salmon fishing for two full salmon
“By gill net they could take up to 98 per cent of a run.”
to Advise During Floods
The US Engineer Corps has assigned Frank B. Metzger and
two aids to come to Skagit county in event of a flood and give
advisory, or more direct, assistance . . . Because the county is more
self-reliant in time of flood emergency, with its county and dike district
personnel and staffs, the army engineers sent here will sit in only in an
advisory capacity unless and until the flood situation becomes so critical
that local authorities formally ask them to take chare, Metzger said.
Corps to be advisory during times of flood events.
dedication of gorge high dam of many years of
construction on upper skagit
dedication ceremonies at the new Gorge High Dam, above Newhalem on the Skagit
River, was held last Friday afternoon with two bus loads of dignitaries and
guests making the trip from Seattle, and many others also present from the
Skagit projects. Guests included Mayor
Gordon Clinton of Seattle; members of the Seattle city council and other officials; Dr. Wm. A.
Pearl, Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration; Henry Heckendorn
of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce; City Light officials; newspaper and
television men from Seattle and from Skagit
and Whatcom County. . . .
The Gorge plant was the first of the three Skagit plants built by the
City of Seattle
and was started in 1919. The first
generator was started by President Coolidge in September of 1924. A second generator was installed later the
same year and a third in 1929, giving the plant a capacity of 60,000 kw.
Started in 1919 as a diversion
dam. Produced power in 1924.
Valley Gets Head Start On High Water
By early evening, four members of a flood-fighting team dispatched
by the United States Army Corps of Engineers had established themselves at a
headquarters in the Courthouse at Mount
Vernon. . . . Fred Metzger, of Seattle,
a spokesman for the Engineers’ flood team, said he expected the Skagit River
to crest in Mount Vernon
at 24 feet about 8 p.m. today. . . . At 1 p.m., when flood
readings began, the river stood in Concrete at 26.85 feet. At 6:30
p.m., the Concrete reading was 28.09 feet. Then at 7 o’clock last
night, three gates at Baker Dam, normally closed from Friday evening through
Sunday evening, were opened. Engineers at the dam immediately forecast
a normal river rise of half a foot. Then half a foot and additional
water created by downpours of rain in the upper Valley served to increase the
river’s level to 29.27 feet by 8:30 last night. Early this morning, at
12:30 a.m., the Skagit County Sheriff’s office reported the Skagit
at Concrete had hit 30.08 feet – less than three feet below its predicted 6
a.m. crest of 33 feet. . . . Mount Vernon itself apparently faces no
imminent flood threat, Metzger indicated. He said normal flood stage in
the area along the city’s dike is 28 feet.
JANUARY 16, 1961 FLOOD
USGS 30.61, 79,000 cfs Concrete, 29.40, 76,000 cfs Mt. Vernon
Baker Dam Opened During Flood
Normal flood stage in Mt. Vernon
Skagit Harbor, River
Projects In New Budget
Skagit Valley rivers and harbors are included
in the outlay of funds sought in President Eisenhower’s fiscal 1962
budget. Second District Congressman Jack Westland told the Herald last night.
. . . Swinomish Channel, operation and maintenance, $125,000. Skagit River, navigation project, general
Navigation Project Study $9,400
As the Skagit River crested late yesterday afternoon, a sheet of
water swirled across Francis
Road just north of its intersection with Lindgren Road and
isolated much of the Nookachamps
hundred acres of low-lying pastures and other farm land in the area was
inundated. A group of chorus spectators can be seen watching the water
pour east across the road. The camera is looking north.
Picture of Nookachamps Flooding
Higher Dikes Plan Hit by Flood Group
The Skagit County Flood Control Council is definitely
opposed to building dikes any higher along the Skagit River, Lloyd Johnson, county flood control coordinator, said
today that the group feels such action, because of the built up underlayments
of sand, logs and general debris, would only mislead public trust and
possibly end in a major break-through by the river at a weak point.
Following the council’s planning session at the courthouse yesterday, Johnson said the organization will not endorse any
one of the particular flood control plans, but will vigorously oppose the
higher dikes thinking. . . . Johnson
said that the Faber Dam proposal is recognized as an ideal solution to the
flood control problem. However, such an undertaking would require from
300 to 400 million dollars, and the complete cooperation of people in the
affected upriver area, and the sanction of the state fisheries
department. . . . Another plan that warrants strong consideration
is the proposed spillway near Avon to the
bay. Johnson said that such
a channel would completely eliminated flood dangers from Sedro-Woolley
south. Above that point, he felt the condition could be controlled with
dikes. The county flood control coordinator pointed out that the threat
of floods is hampering the Valley’s economic growth. He said that it
has been indicated that several large businesses have rejected sites here
because of the danger. Johnson
said that the Riverside Bend area which has been zoned for commercial
development is very poorly protected against rising waters because the dikes
are as high as practical on such shifty underfooting.
Higher Levees Opposed
Higher levees would lead to a false sense of security.
Endorsed Faber Dam proposal and Avon By-Pass.
Riverside Bend area very poorly protected against floods.
Legislator Backs Upriver Dredging
State Senator Fred J. Martin today disclosed he has
written a letter supporting the dredging of the Skagit
River as far east as Concrete to permit the stream’s use by shallow draft
vessels and barges. . . . IN HIS letter, Sen. Martin listed five
reasons for his support of the dredging proposal. They are as follows:
1. Dredging will “substantially lower the cost of transporting cement from
the plant at Concrete to market and enable it to better compete with other
plants more centrally located and will perhaps insure that the Lone Star
Cement Plant at Concrete can operate full time, which it is unable to do at
the present time because of the handicap of high freight rates.” 2.
Dredging will “make feasible and profitable the transportation of lime rock
from the large deposits in the Upper
to various other cement plants in the state.” 3. “It will make
profitable the mining and transportation of marble, silca, talc, olivine and
other non-metallic ores of which there are large deposits in the Upper Skagit
Valley.” 4. “It will lower the cost of transporting alder, cottonwood,
maple and other pulpwood varieties from the Upper Skagit
markets.” 5. “The dredging of the Skagit River
channel would have immense value for flood control as it would greatly reduce
stream-bank erosion above Sedro-Woolley and thereby substantially reduce
siltation of the river bed from Sedro-Woolley to its mouth.”
Dredging Proposal Supported
“The dredging of the Skagit River
channel would have immense value for flood control as it would greatly reduce
stream-bank erosion above Sedro-Woolley and thereby substantially reduce
siltation of the river bed from Sedro-Woolley to its mouth.”
Martin Cites Reasons for Skagit
Dredging to U.S.
Additional support for dredging the Skagit River
east to Concrete to facilitate shallow barge transportation has been voiced
by Senator Fred Martin. . . . The Senator’s letters follows:
“I believe that a proposal has been made to you that the
Skagit River be dredged as far as Concrete, Washington, to permit the use of shallow
draft vessels and barges. This proposal has a great deal of merit for
many reasons which I list as follows: “It will substantially lower the
cost of transporting cement from the plant at Concrete to market . . . “It
will also make feasible and profitable the transportation of lime rock . . .
“It will make profitable the mining the transportation of marble, silica,
tale, olivine and other non-metallic ores . . . “It will lower the cost of
transporting alder, cottonwood, maple and other pulp wood varieties . . .
“The dredging of the Skagit River channel would have immense value for flood
control as it would greatly reduce stream bank erosion above Sedro-Woolley
thereby substantially reduce siltation of the river bed from Sedro-Woolley to
REASONS FOR DREDGING
mining, timber and cement companies make money.
erosion of river banks.
baker lake level
takes up bulk of flood water
The 9.6 inch rainfall on the Baker district on January 14-15 resulted
in a seven-foot rise in the water level behind the Upper Baker Dam. The dam held back about 9.7 billion gallons
of water, helping to avert a flood on the Skagit River. Records show that during the week ending
January 20th the run off raised the Upper Baker reservoir 16 feet
and the Lower Baker three feet containing a total of about 67,000 acre
feet. The total storage of the two is
equivalent to 34,000,000 kwh.
Upper and Lower Baker Dam
January 16, 1961 Flood Event
USGS Concrete 79,000 cfs 30.61;
Mt Vernon 76,000 cfs 29.40. 9½ inches of rain in less then
48 hours. Lower Baker provided at least
3 feet of flood storage
flood control hearing develops little demand in faber
The large courtroom in the courthouse at Mount
Vernon was filled to capacity yesterday morning as Col. R. P.
Young, District Army Engineer, opened what was to have been an all-day
hearing on flood control problems of the Skagit River. At the last moment, however, the Colonel
decided to cut off hearing those present at noon. . . .
During the morning session only one speaker, representing a diking
district, favored the Faber dam as the only solution. Speakers against the dam included the state
game department, fisheries department and commercial fishermen. Also a number of speakers from the upper
valley. A short but vehement telegram
from Senator Fred Martin calling a dam at Faber ridiculous. Most of the testimony heard was on need for
better diking in the lower valley and projects to dredge the river on the
lower reaches to give the water a better flow. . . .
The 1951 estimate on a 300 foot dam at Faber was $218 million,
including only $2 million for land purchase.
At this height the dam would back water to Darrington and cover
approximately 35,000 acres. Land in
the lower valley considered threatened by floods was estimated at about
60,000 acres. Thus the cost of
building the dam would far outweigh the benefits gained. On a per-basis the benefit cost ration is
figured at 81 or a loss of about $2.5 million per year. The upper Sauk dam site listed on the
report is 9 miles above Darrington and would cost about $48 million. Here again the balance of benefit makes the
Faber, Sauk, Cascade Dams
Dams not feasible due to cost
and environmental impacts.
“In view of the costs and
distinct lack of profitable operation, it is not expected that any immediate
move will be made to use any of the dam sites in the present flood control
program. It would seem from listening
in at the hearing that the concentration will be on diking, dredging and
possibly a secondary channel for the river in the lower valley.”
The fuss over Faber dam, we predict, will quickly subside
under the light of thought and close scrutiny of the basic facts. Unfortunately it is down on paper in a
government report and will be raised from the file cabinet each time someone
asks for a study of the river for many years to come. We were glad there was a prompt response in
the upper valley when the subject appeared in print, but we must admit we
were also shocked by the number who believed that our upper valley would be
of more benefit to the county under water.
But, as one man put it after a quick study of the original report,
“None of us knew what we were talking about.”
The report does not favor a dam at Faber, or Cascade, or Sauk. It merely states that the sites are there
and what would be required to develop them.
The findings on the latter showed none of the projects as sound
investments, and most of them as huge debit items unfeasible except in dire
emergency or sudden unlimited wealth.
There are more sound and economical ways to end the periodic threat of
floods in the lower valley. The thing
is, don’t relax your vigilance in warding off danger to your valley and your
homes. Someone is always ready to offer
someone else as a sacrifice. Until we
have more voters than the lower valley, we are expendable.
Charles Dwelley on Faber Dam
Editorial--Our Greatest Asset
Needs A Push!
Recently it was announced that money had been appropriated in Congress for a
survey of the Skagit river by Army
engineers. Purpose of the study would be to determine the feasibility
of dredging the stream for shallow barge transportation. To many people
the full import of this project may be lost in the present day era when
government survey funds are allocated for a multitude of programs ranging
from rehabilitating the gooney bird to effecting world-wide birth
control. It should be pointed out, however, that the proposed dredging
of the Skagit is not just another crackpot
scheme or a ridiculous proposal fostered by dreamers. On the contrary,
the possibility of opening the Skagit for
limited navigation is most real, the need most pressing, the potential most
exciting and the impact on the economy of this region most promising. .
. . In the vast regions of its headwaters lie timber, minerals and rock
deposits, many of them virgin assets that call for dependable, economical
transportation to market before they can be put to use. . . .
Unlimited deposits of some of the finest limestone rock to be found anywhere
in the world are located nearby. . . . Transportation by river
barge would cut deposit-to-plant costs and mean more business and jobs for Skagit county. Limestone is but one of the many
raw materials that might find its way down the river once the stream was
deepened for navigation. Added flood control and soil conservation
could be considered bonus benefits that would automatically ensue.
MORE REASONS FOR DREDGING
mining, timber and cement companies make money.
control would be a bonus factor.
Our River: Keep Navigable!
The Mt. Vernon city council is going to guard the
“navigable” status of the Skagit
river. . . . Councilman James Kean brought up the question after
Mayor Don Lindbloom had read the letter, drafted by the county engineer’s
office, in which the city would sign in requesting that the old Riverside bridge be declared a fixed span. On
first reading, nearly everyone thought the letter also was asking the
engineers to declare the Skagit river to be
non-navigable. But after considerable discussion and careful rereading
of the letter, it was concluded the engineers were being invited only to
declare the river “non-navigable” for vessels too big to pass under the Riverside and the Great
Northern Railway bridges in closed position.
River declared non-navigable (to big ships).
Left and Right: Seattle
Needn’t Worry, Skagit
Valley Still Remains On
Seattleites may be surprised to learn that Mount Vernon
hasn’t yet been washed away . . . a Seattle radio station carried the report
over the weekend that the Skagit River was due to crest at 20 feet in Mount
Vernon and that flood stage was only 21 feet . . . the report was attributed
to the river forecasting division of the Army Corps of Engineers, which
either was having a bad weekend on the job . . . flood stage in Mount Vernon
is 27 feet . . . and if the river is going to flood, it’s always heartening
to realize that all the disc jockeys in Seattle will know it long before the
Flood Stage at Mt. Vernon
Flood stage 21 feet or 27 feet?
Contention Bone In State’s Teeth
The owners of five movable bridges across the Skagit River want to cross them when they
come to them. That’s why the State Highway Commission, Skagit County, the Great Northern Railway and
Northern Pacific Railway have asked the Army Engineers for permission to lock
the bridges permanently in place. THE APPLICATIONS were based on
the fact that no commercial ships now operate on the river which cannot pass
under the spans while they are closed. In Mount Vernon opposition is shaping up to
protest the fixing of the spans. Members of the industrial development
committee and the Chamber of Commerce are actively seeking to navigatable
[navigable] depths for commercial vessels, in an effort to further open up
the eastern section of the county. NONE OF the bridges have been
opened since 1959. Two of them haven’t budged for 14 years. The
two Highway Department bridges are in the Mount Vernon
area, the Great Northern bridge is near Mount Vernon,
the Northern Pacific bridge near Sedro-Woolley, and the Skagit County
bridge at Fir.
Railroads Want To “Lock” Moveable
None of the bridges had been opened since 1959. Two
of them hadn’t been opened for 14 years.
Army Engineers reply to writer
disputed the report and noted that the rivers flood stage at Mt Vernon actually
is 27 feet. The Army replied today that 21 feet is decidedly a flood
stage for the river at their gauge in Mt. Vernon.
They explained the USGS operates another gauge upstream one mile where the
zero damage point or crest is 27 feet. . . . To avoid confusion
residents may note that 21 feet on the gauge at Skagit River
at Mt Vernon means zero damage, but anything above 21 results in some flood
Difference Between USGS gage and
The new Baker Lake, promised to be unspoiled and even improved
by the new dam, is in danger of becoming a public disgrace. We speak of the
driftwood now making the water hazardous to boats and a menace to its
usefulness to the public. According to the agreements, the power company is
to see that no such condition is allowed to exist. So far they have had a
perfunctory contract for sweeping the main debris, but since have ignored
sensible suggestions of burning the drift as it please along the shores and
low water periods. The lake is now high and the accumulation is at the mercy
of the winds. It has been just a year since completion of the dam. We’d hate
to see this beautiful lake go the way of Lake Shannon
– one reason for all the pre-construction clearing and sweeping agreements.
Apparently the public is going to have to get good and mad. Our suggestion is
that they do it now, rather than complain periodically over a 30-year period
with no results as in the lower lake. The Forest Service has not released the
company from their commitments. What is occurring is just plain lack of
active compliance. Besides the bad effect on visitors to the lake, condition
of the water may cancel Cascade Days plans for boat races. A few well-placed
letters might build the necessary fires needed to get immediate action. Delay
can mean a long time grind. * * *
of money is a national problem. The
poor are cursed by lack of it, the rich by too much of it, the government by
the power of it, the world by our careless use of it.
Charles Dwelley on Baker Lake and The Curse of Money
way is still
Today, on a whim the Herald began checking gauges.
The Moose Hall gauge showed clearly that flooding would not begin until the
water level reached 27 feet. A query at the County Engineers
office disclosed that this is the correct gauge. County Engineer
Frank Gilkey said, “I can’t understand what all the controversy is
about. Normal flooding does not begin in Mt. Vernon
until 27 feet.
Gage Argument Continues
Nookachamps an overflow basin.
Volunteers Installing River Gauge
. . . The big black numbers on a white background will be
set in place to match the US Engineers gauge located on a piling behind the
Moose Hall. The fishermen’s boatmen’s-river gauge will start at 5 feet,
run up to 28 feet, with every fifth foot against a yellow background, and
“21”, the engineers official flood stage set against slanting orange
lines. . . . “Local residents may note that 21 feet on the gauge
at Skagit river in Mt.
Vernon means zero
damage, but anything above 21 results in some flood damage. Residents
would be living with a false sense of security if they believed 27 feet meant
zero damage—for a stage of 27 feet on the Moose Hall gauge used by the Corps
of Engineers and Skagit county personnel concerned with flood situations, would
result in severe flooding and a critical situation in the lower Skagit
river.” (Ed.—The zero damage point at 27 feet sometimes heard of is on
another gauge, maintained by the US Geological Survey a mile above Mt. Vernon.
And A Historical Note—Last major flood crested at 28.2 feet Feb 2,
1951. Main street
was sandbagged when the water came within six inches of spilling over into
the downtown area. . . . Two years earlier, in November, 1949,
the river surged up to 26.05 feet, gave the valley its first real flood scare
in many years.
NOTE: Is this due to an 8 ft fall in elevation or
different datum? If the answer is elevation we could now determine at about
what level the river was during 1917, 1921 floods when levees broke which
would be about 31 feet.
Sound Power and Light’s 285 foot Lower Baker River Dam near Concrete has been
in operation since 1924, when it was the seventh highest dam in the
country. . . . Puget Power officials say the Baker River is the
first major river in the state to have its water resources comprehensively
developed for multiple use of power, flood control, domestic and industrial
water supply, fish preservation, and recreation. Lake Shannon
is formed by the dam and is nine and one-half miles long.
Lower Baker Dam Picture
In 1961 flood control provided by Upper Baker only was
skagit river still tops for steelhead fishing
The Skagit River still fed all streams in the
state for steelhead last season.
Although the catch for the entire state showed a decrease of 21 per
cent from the 1959-60 season, a total of 117,750 fish were reported through
the punch card returns. The Skagit River produced 12,566 steelhead,
according to the figures reported back by the sportsmen. Next highest stream was the Green River, which had a total of 8,448. Last season the Skagit
showed a total of 18,568 fish caught.
Steelhead Fish Issue
12,566 fish caught. 18,568 the year before.
Skagit River in these parts, there is a comic
opera feud raging between the ‘revenooers’ and the ‘natives’ over salmon
fishing. Local fishermen contend that
they are being discriminated against by being denied the right to catch a
salmon at their door step on hook and line, while at the entrance of the
river commercial fishermen catch more in a single night than all the
fishermen up here would catch in a whole season. On the other hand the fisheries men feel
that a salmon feel that a salmon who has escaped the nets and the lures of
down-river should be home free when they reach here. There is also a difference of opinion on
whether or not it is legal to play a salmon on sports tackle if it is turned
loose without being harmed. Big fines
are sought for law-breakers over the loud protest of those who are hauled
into court. The result is a break-down
in respect for law on one side and sportsmen on the other. It seems to us that the situation calls for
a sensible get together at a public meeting where all angles can be discussed
and a compromise reached that will give local anglers some fishing and still
keep the fisheries men happy. To
continue the feud merely widens the gap of discontent over a bad law. And bad laws are those that can not be
enforced with fairness.
Charles Dwelley on Fishing and Bad
Old Log Jam Dike Rebuilt
Nearing completion this week is a mile and a quarter of bank
protection and dike bolstering that should mean “we won’t ever have to worry”
about a flood, to quote one commissioner of Dike District No. 1 . . .
The extensive project extends from Edgewater park in West Mt Vernon to Penn
road. . . . The downstream half of the improvement is at a sharp
bend in the river, site of the tremendous log jam that kept the stream
impassable for years after the settling of Mt. Vernon.
The jam was removed by blasting and much hand labor. . . .
To Commissioner Helde, dike work and concern about the river are remembered
back to his childhood, including the big floods of 1909 and 1917. At
his parents home, next to his own on Jungquist road, he recalls watching
flood waters creep upward “one step away from being in the house.”
Dike 1 never has to worry about floods.
Site of old log jam.
Jam removed by blasting.
NOTE: If we could find Helde residence on Jungquist Road we
could determine how deep the flood waters were in 1909 and 1917.
Salmon run record seen
A record breaking silver salmon run is in the making on
the Skagit River with 11,434 silvers counted at
the Lower Baker Dam to date this year. In the record year of 1935, only
4,307 silvers had been counted on this same date, and a total of 19,000 were
counted for the entire season. . . . Sockeyes, 450 slightly below
average. Puget Sound Power has maintained fish count records since
Record year for silvers.
rockport bridge dedication at 2:00 saturday
All roads will lead to Rockport this coming
Saturday, as that little community plays host to the entire county, and as
many from outside as want to come, at the dedication of the new Rockport
bridge. When the ribbon is cut
following the ceremonies at 2:00 P.M., the Rockport ferry, which has provided
transportation across the river since 1903, will no longer be needed. The people at Rockport feel this calls for
a celebration and they intend to provide one.
The opening of traffic across the bridge ends an era that once saw
eighteen current-operated ferries in operation on the Skagit River. There were crossings at Skagit City,
Burlington, Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, Skiyou, Lyman, Day Creek, Hamilton,
Birdsview, Pressentin, … Concrete, East Concrete, Van Horn, Faber, Sauk City,
Rockport, O’Brien’s and Marblemount.
County Engineer Frank Gilkey once estimated that to maintain those
same ferries today would cost the county at least a quarter of a million
dollars a year. The new Rockport bridge
contract was let for $258,433.00 to Croy Construction Co., just a little
above what could been a year’s ferry costs.
“Actually the first ferry in
operation at Rockport was built in 1903 by Ed Carniele, valley
carpenter. It was first used to bring
children across the river to school and was operated by Skagit Bill
Pressentin. After the ferry had proved
it’s value, the county aided in the operation by paying the magnificent
salary of $12 a month to the operator.”
25 Year Flood Plan Said Favorable
A 25 year flood protection program for the Skagit Valley
appears practical, through diking improvements, the Skagit County Flood
Control council was told in Mt.
Scrinde, Stanwood Army Engineer reserve colonel reporting on progress of the
engineers’ restudy of the Skagit, said a
longer flood protection program, such as 50 to 100 years, would involve major
works such as a bypass channel or a storage dam upstream.
25 year flood plan.
rancher jim ovenell tells historical society of early
days on the skagit flats
crowd turned out on Tuesday evening for the Skagit Historical meeting to hear
Jim Ovenell tell of the early days as he remembered them. He spoke briefly of his grandparents and of
the trip his grandmother’s family made from Connecticut around the Horn to the west
coast which took six months and ten days.
His grandfather came to Whidbey Island in 1858 from England. Nelson Ovenell, Jim’s father, was born in
1861 on Whidbey and came with the family to Skagit
County in 1866, settling on what was
later known as the Downey
Local Pioneer Tells of Family
river makes 20 foot crest, begins to drop
Skagit River, high and muddy almost a week as the result of heavy winter
rains, crested last night in Mt. Vernon at 20 feet and began dropping.
. . . Johnson said the Skagit River had crested at 25.7 feet at
Concrete early yesterday.
forest service pleased with work of clearing ross
completed by city light
Satisfactory completion of the
creation of Ross
Lake, begun 25 years
ago, was acknowledged this week by the United States Forest Service. The announcement that the 24-mile-long lake
behind Seattle City Light’s Ross Dam had met strict Forest Service
requirements was made jointly by Mt. Baker National Forest Supervisor H.C.
Chriswell and City Light superintendent Paul J. Raver. “As a result of your cooperation we now
have a 24-mile lake which helps produce electric power provides a beautiful
recreational area with excellent sports fishing and also aids in controlling
floods. . . . Raver explained that preliminary clearing
began in 1937 with start of construction on the dam. “The clearing operation began in earnest in
1943. Logging was completed in 1955,
and the clearing of debris was completed in 1961. Cost of the clearing operation to City
Light was over $3 million.”
Preliminary clearing began in 1937 with start of
construction on the dam. “The clearing
operation began in earnest in 1943.
Logging was completed in 1955, and the clearing of debris was
completed in 1961.
shredded gill net draped at city hall monday morning
warns of battle
over river fishing
It remained for colorful
Concrete to provide the incident in the present controversy over Indians gill
netting steelhead in the Skagit. . . .
Game man. Ole Eide said at present there are eight Indians setting
nets between Sedro-Woolley and Loretta
Creek and that last
week they landed 256 fish. They are
selling the fish for about 25¢ a pound.
Until the rights of the Indian to fish freely is changed by federal
laws, Eide said nothing can be done to stop the netting. . . .
The big complaint on the Skagit is
that this year the steelhead run is 30 per cent above normal due to an
extended planting program paid for by game fishing licenses, and there is a
belief that the run can be killed completely in a few years if the river is
fished commercially with nets. In
their visit here the Game Department officials warned the local sportsmen not
to create an out-and-out war against the nets as evidenced by the city hall
display, as this could only make negotiations more difficult. They suggest that each sportsman contact
his congressman to ask for immediate federal action to clear up the treaty
rights for all time.
Tribal fishing controversy
Local residents believed Tribal
fishermen could exterminate steelhead runs by using nets.
Fish Expert Testifies At Indian Trial
Testimony this morning in the trial of Indian fishermen
Lawrence Joe and Raymond Boome was confined to the opinions of Edwards
Maines, assistant director of Fisheries in the State of Washington. . . . He spent
part of the morning giving a detailed accounting of the life cycle of the
five types of salmon. Indians claim that there are six types of
salmon–classifying the steelhead as the sixth type rather than as a game
fish. . . . Interrupts . . . When Deputy
Prosecutor Paul N. Luvera Jr. asked Maines
if he felt set nets should be prohibited in order to conserve salmon.
After lengthy arguments Maine
was allowed to answer and said “Yes”. He said that set nets lend
themselves to such a variety of construction that it is conceivable that one
could be built that would imperil the whole salmon run.
Fish Issue – Indian Trial
Nets in the river could imperil whole salmon runs.
Jury Given Fishermen’s Case Early
The trial of Lawrence Joe and Raymond Boome, who have been
charged with violating state fishing regulations by fishing with a set net in
the Skagit River, is being heard in Skagit
Superior Court. . . . Defense attorney Malcolm McLeod, Seattle, called just
four witnesses in the Indians’ defense. He had indicated earlier that
approximately 35 would be placed on the stand. Request Denied McLeod,
known for his dogged determination that the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855 be
interpreted in favor of Indians, asked the court to dismiss the charges
against his clients on the basis of fishing rights granted them by the
Treaty, but it was denied. . . . McLeod had Carl Boome, chief of
the Upper Skagit Tribe, take the stand and testify that tribal members had
always fished the Skagit form the Conway
Bridge to the Diablo
Dam. . . . Final Witness Raymond Boome, the other
defendant, said that the Gilligan Creek location where he was fishing with a
set net when game protectors arrested him, is an usual and accustomed fishing
place for Indians. Taken in its broadest interpretation the Treaty
states that Indians may fish in their usual and accustomed fishing
grounds. . . . Second Surprise This morning the
second surprise came. The state waived its right to rebuttal after the
defense had finished presenting its witnesses, so steps were begun to
instruct the jury on what it must consider in considering the evidence.
. . . Each side had prepared instructions and Judge A. H. Ward had
selected from each set [of] those instructions that he thought best fitted
Upper Skagit Chief testified his tribe had fished the
River from Conway
Today Seattle City Light says no fish made it past
Newhalem. Could they be wrong or did the Chief not tell the truth?
Jury Says Fishermen Are Guilty
Two members of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe were found guilty
by a superior court jury Friday night of violating state game laws by net
fishing for steelhead on the Skagit
River. The two,
Lawrence Joe and Raymond Boome, both of Sedro-Woolley, contended they held
the right by treaty to fish in the river. . . . The Chinook gillnet
catch in the Skagit through July 20 was
4,500 fish, said Starlund, about the same as in the record low years of 1956
and 1957. He noted, however, that in those years there was no fishing during
closed periods, permitting some fish to escape upstream to spawning grounds.
Tribe members found guilty of netting steelhead.
Indians Ask Fish Rights Conference
A plea to Indian fisherman to observe state laws, made
Friday by the director of the State Department of Fisheries, has brought
immediate response from the Swinomish Tribe. Speaking for the tribe,
Tandy Wilbur replied to Director George Starlund’s plea today, and announced
that the Indian fisherman have agreed to comply with the state request.
Starlund had asked in a telegram made public, that Indian fishermen comply
with closed periods and help “provide seed for future runs”. He said
Indian gear has placed the 1962 run in great jeopardy. Asks
Meeting Wilbur’s reply said that the Indians would like to meet
with Starlund and his staff and work out a better understanding of their
mutual problems. “Indian fishermen are greatly outnumbered and so
compelled to exercise their treaty fishing rights to gain a livelihood”, he
said. “They should be given exclusive fishing times and grounds.”
. . . “Hungry People” Commenting on the contents of the
telegram the Swinomish are sending to Starlund, Wilbur said that tribal
fishing grounds have been taken away by one means and another during the past
50 years. “You are dealing with hungry people,” he said. “Fishing
is the Swinomish peoples’ only means of making a living. They have no
year around employment. They were granted fishing rights and it would
seem to me these concessions made in the Treaty should be honored by the
white man.” “The Swinomish are not fishing for selfish reasons.
They have gone into court and claimed fishing rights on the Skagit River
because their old fishing grounds on the Swinomish Channel have been
destroyed through the years,” Wilbur said.
Tribes to comply with State law.
“Fishing is the Swinomish peoples’ only means of making a
living. They have no year around employment. They were granted
fishing rights and it would seem to me these concessions made in the Treaty
should be honored by the white man.”
Fish ruling to go before state court
The case of Indian fisherman Joe McCoy will come before
the State Supreme Court Nov. 19. The nine man court announced yesterday
that the decision of Skagit Superior Curt Judge Charles F. Stafford will be
given a hearing in the state high court on that date. . . . The
unrestricted right to fish is in the nature of a contractual right, reserved
by treaty between the Indians and the United States government”, says Bannister.
indians to police own fishing ban
Swinomish Tribe Indians announced yesterday that the tribe
will begin policing its own fishermen and hand out stiff fines to any who
fail to observe salmon conservation closures. . . . A spokesman
for the tribe said, “The Swinomish Indians have agreed to voluntarily close
all fisheries for a period of 48 hours during August 3rd and 4th.
However, we have mavericks among us the same as any other group. We
will operate our own patrols and catch the violators.”
avon canal to
control river level
A long-considered flood control project is undergoing new
study in the Skagit
Valley as probably the
most practical means of curbing damage and offering a number of other
advantages. The project is the Avon By-Pass first authorized in 1936,
frequently discussed since then and now revived by the Corps of Engineers as
the most practicable solution to Skagit River Flood problems. . .
. “For the 1951 flood the Bypass would have lowered flood stages three
to five feet in the Skagit River and two to four feet in the North and South
Forks of the Skagit River”, the Engineers noted.
Cost of the By-Pass put at $19,000,000
Bypass Could Produce New Skagit Fish Runs—Start in 1964 Is Possibility
Development of new fish runs and of a several-mile length
of excellent boating-swimming water are important by-products of the revived
“Avon By-Pass” flood control plan for the Skagit valley that are being
seriously studied. . . . “The experts say near-ideal conditions
could be provided for natural fish propagation and it is possible completely
new runs of fish could be produced.” . . . Johnson
said it was possible the engineers could proceed with final design and
construction as early as 1964.
To start construction in 1964.
Revised Flood Plan Eyed
The Avon By-Pass…is being
revised as a solution to flood control here by the Corps of Engineers. . .
. Proposed by the US Engineers in 1936, the original by-pass plan was
dropped because of local costs involved and because of strong objections
based on the farm lands it would have taken out of production and feared
effects on adjoining lands. Now the engineers propose a 340 instead of
a 1600 foot wide channel. . . . About four million of the total
nineteen million dollar estimated cost of the project would have to raised by
the county…The by-pass plan would protect the valley from a “30-year” flood,
the engineers believe. . . . The by-pass could have lowered the
Skagit river flood stages three to five feet and the river level from two to
four feet in the North and South forks in the 1951 flood, which broke dikes
on Fir Island,
and lapped the top of dikes elsewhere up and down the river.
30 year flood protection, 340 ft wide channel instead of
1600 ft channel.
Bypass would have lowered 1951 flood 3 to 5 feet.
The Avon By-Pass has again been proposed to Skagit County
by the Corps of Army Engineers as the most practical means of additional
flood control. Many miscellaneous other uses of this by-pass other than
flood control are under study, such as fish farming, recreation, drainage,
irrigation and water transportation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
consider fish farming conditions in the upper part of the by-pass as very
good and they are reporting as being enthusiastic about the prospects.
The Skagit River water temperatures are near
ideal for fish farming. Plans for swimming, boating and other
recreation will be utilized to everyone’s advantage.
. . . Flood damages for a
flood larger than that of 1951 have been estimated at over six million
dollars at today’s prices and with our present development. . . .
The by-pass channel as authorized in 1936 contemplated a shallow channel
approximately 1,600 feet wide. The channel now proposed has been
deepened and narrowed to a 340 foot bottom with 3 to 1 side slopes. . .
. Protection for about a 10-year flood is provided by the present levee
system. With the by-pass constructed the area below the intake would
have protection for about a 30-year flood. For the 1951 flood the
by-pass would have lowered flood stages 3 to 5 feet in the Skagit River
and 2 to 4 feet in the North and South Forks of the Skagit River.
. . . Consideration is being given to additional flood protection by
upstream storage. Complete protection from storage alone is not
feasible because suitable storage sites are limited. The best sites for
multiple purpose storage have been developed for single purpose uses.
Flood damages over 6 million with present development.
340 feet wide vs 1,600 ft wide.
30 year flood protection
ross dam was able to hold much flood water
City Light last week released a
report of the work of the Skagit projects
during the flood situation on November 19th. Ross Dam was shut down from early Monday
evening, Nov. 29th, at 9:30 p.m. and not reopened until 2:00 on
Tuesday to hold back some of the abnormal river flow. The power was replaced on an interchange basis
from Bonneville and Pries Rapids dams which furnished 639,000 and 264,000 kw,
respectively. The Ross station showed
a rainfall of 4.41 inches from 8:00 a.m. to midnight Monday. The
Dalles gauge registered a stream flow of 114,000 cfs
per second from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Tuesday. A flow of 90,000 cfs is the point at which
Ross Powerhouse operators are alerted to flood control action.
Ross Dam and Rainfall
November 20, 1962 Flood Event
USGS Concrete 35.73 114,000 cfs;
30.44, 83,200 cfs. 4.41 inches of rain
at Ross in 16 hours.
Ross was “shut down” for 16.5
Flood Study Boosted
For Skagit county civil works, the budget asks $120,000
for dredging the Swinomish channel and revetment repairs, and $70,000 for
continuance of the Skagit flood
survey. . . . “Apparently, the Corps has decided a point of no
return has been reached,” Westland
explained. “Otherwise, the survey would have been discontinued.
Only the possibility of a favorable benefit-cost ratio would warrant
expansion and continuance of the survey from the original $135,000 to
More money to study the Skagit.
Flood By-Pass Route Revised—Project Given
State Commissioners Backing
The Washington Association of County Commissioners and
Engineers…passed a resolution requested by the Washington State Flood Control
association asking the legislature and the state highway department to
cooperate in the by-pass project.
. . . The new route will follow the line between
Drainage Dist. No. 19 and Dike and Drainage Dist No. 8
New route for by-pass.
flood ditch plan moves from avon
The Avon Bypass – a big ditch that is supposed to carry
flood waters from the Skagit River to Padilla
Bay – is no longer destined to be
located at Avon. Ray Skrinde of the
Corps of Engineers told a gathering of county people yesterday that
redesigning has placed the bypass nearer to Burlington, and extended its length to
approximately 8 miles. Compensating for the added length, however, is
the fact that plans for the proposed ditch have narrowed it from 1,600 feet
to 500 feet. . . . If the Avon Bypass is to be realized, it will
require local financing of about $4 million and federal financing of $15
Intake moved from Avon to Burlington and reduced in width from 1,600
feet to 500 feet.
Picture of new location of By-Pass
By-pass Explained At Meeting
The name of the water diversion channel is now a misnomer, but came about as
a result of earlier plans for a similar plan to control the river during flood
stages. Under the previous plan the river would have been diverted at
Avon and flood water taken by a shallow ditch 1,600 feet wide and dumped into
Padilla Bay. Recent plans call for
changes in the intake location of the ditch and a width of only 340 at the
bottom but deeper than originally proposed. The intake of the channel
has been relocated to utilize Gages Slough south of Burlington and follow the hillside north of
the valley keeping to a minimum the amount of valuable farmland
required. Cost of the structure estimated at $19,000,000 with the
Federal Government paying $15 million of the cost. Average annual
benefits from the project are said to be $1,000,000. . . . The
plans call for levee extension and improvement west of Burlington. . . . Protection
for about a 10-year flood is provided by the present levee system. With
the by-pass, the area below the intake would have protection for about a
30-year flood. The Army Engineer said river flow up to 200,000 second
feet of water could be controlled under the plan.
Intake relocated to utilize Gages Slough.
Cost $19,000,000, local cost $4,000,000.
Levees in Sterling.
Would control floods up to 200,000 cfs.
developers will support avon
Members of the Skagit County Development Association last night
went on record as favoring and supporting the proposed Avon Bypass.
foes speak at hearing
Opponents of the Avon Bypass flood control plan last night
expressed doubts the proposed project will offer a long-rang solution to the Skagit River’s major overflows. . .
. Not all the 50 or more persons attending last night’s session were against
the Bypass. . . . Several opponents leveled criticism and
questions at Skrinde’s estimate that the Bypass will produce a million
dollars in annual benefits for the Skagit
Valley, largely by
eliminating losses resulting from floods. . . . Another opponent said Skagit River flood waters had actually made
his farmland more productive. . . . Asked last night about a
time-table for the project, Skrinde said the Army Engineers hope to start
design work and detailed layouts for the Bypass by July 1, 1964. . .
. Skrinde told his audience last night the Bypass probably will have to
be used only once every five or ten years when a major flood threatens the Skagit Valley.
One opponent termed a $19,000,000 insurance policy against
legislative study of avon
bypass resolution okayed
A resolution calling for a legislative-interim study of
the proposed Skagit River bypass at Avon
has been passed by the State Senate, the 40th District delegation
announced today. Representatives Don Eldridge and Duane Berentson
introduced the measure in the House and pushed it through to final passage.
State Legislature Approves of Avon Bypass
big river boats once were main skagit transportation – skagit river boats had mining heyday
Now that there is considerable
talk being broadcast about the possibilities of the Skagit River being
dredged and improved so as to again make it as navigable as it used to be for
many years in the past, it might be worth while to give the people of today a
summary of the business, and the boats, and activities that were everyday
events on the river in the early 80’s and 90’s. To begin with we will name the first stern
wheel steam boats that started operating on the Skagit in the spring of 1880
in the freight and passenger business, which was brought on by the discovery
of placer gold by Otto Klement, Jack (John)
Rowley, Charles Pressentin St. and another man. . . .
There was the Josephine, Chehalis, Fanny
Nellie, Glide, Lady of the Lake, all loaded
trip after trip with passengers and freight bound for Ruby Creek. A few boats made runs up as far as Durand’s
Riffle, which is about one mile down river from Marblemount, but most got no
further than the present site of Rockport, and some not that far. . . .
The beginning of 1882 saw the finish of the gold stampede so many of
the first boats named sought other runs and another crop of boats took over. The Queen, Henry Bailey, Bob Irwin, Monte
Christo, Indiana, Cascade, Mamie of Snohomish, The Skagit Chief, W.F.
McDonald, Black Prince, and the T.C. Reed.
The T.C. Reed was the largest of the lot and Mamie of Snohomish was
the midget, being only sixty-five feet long.
The Queen, Indiana, and Monte Christo served more years than any
others except the Black Prince. . .
. The Indiana
was built, owned, and captained by John
Hamilton, son of Wm. Hamilton, the founder of the Town of Hamilton.
. . . The boats would land at
any camp or any homesteaders place along the river. From 1889 to 1903 there was little business
for steamers on the river. Then in
1904 there started up a little towing business with very small gas engine
powered boats. By 1906 there were
larger and more powerful tug boats built and put on the river and the
steamers, Black Prince, the W.F. McDonald and the F.C. Reed joined the fleet
of gas powered tugs in developing the business of log-towing. Then for 40 years the towing business
continued. Hundreds of million of
board feet of logs were towed down the Skagit.
Old Steamboats on the Skagit.
This wonderful piece of history
documents the “paddle wheelers” or steamboats on the Skagit River. The article goes on to discount the infamous
“race between the boats” once glamorized by Corps of Engineer annual reports.
This article was authored by
Otto K. von Pressentin.
Some of what is reported in this
article is in direct conflict with early Corps of Engineers annual
reports. “By 1890 there were four
steamboats plying the Skagit
River waters. They were the Henry Bailey 209 tons; W.F.
Munro, 100 tons; Cascade, 63
tons; and the Indiana, 82 tons. The first three ran from Seattle
to Mt. Vernon. The Indiana went from Mt. Vernon
to Sauk City and was dubbed the “mail
boat”. (Source: Report of E.H. Jefferson, Asst. Engineer in
charge of the Skagit, Corps of Engineers, June 17, 1890)
The Corps reports document “log
towing” in 1897. ((Source: Report of Capt. Harry Taylor, Corps of Engineers, December 11, 1897)
avon bypass could be fishing paradise
proposed Avon Bypass for Skagit
River waters may well
prove to be a trout fisherman’s paradise when it becomes a reality.
Recent discussions over recreational users of the proposed bypass have been
focused on its development as a virtual eight mile lake containing an endless
supply of trout….
Avon ByPass Fisherman’s Paradise
Channel to Concrete (Editorial)
A new campaign in the continuing war between
conservationists and proponents of industrial development is threatening to
break out on the Skagit
River. The focus
of developing controversy is the proposed dredging of a 100-foot wide
channel, six feet deep, to Concrete. The channel would open the river
to tug and barge traffic and connect valley towns to salt water. With a
stagnant economy, Skagit
County sorely needs to
strengthen existing payrolls and to develop new employment
opportunities. Initially the navigable channel would create new
activity at Lone Star Cement Company’s upriver limestone quarry. . .
. Alarmed that fish spawning grounds will be disturbed, the state Game
and Fisheries Department has made an official protest, pointing out that roughly
a third of Skagit River’s Chinook Salmon are spawned in the area of the
proposed dredged channel. . . . We don’t pretend that a dredged
channel will not have some small effect on fish spawning despite adequate
safeguards. There has to be a reasonable amount of compromise on the
part of fish conservationists in order for Skagit County
to enjoy vitally necessary economic growth. The conflicts that may seem
to exist can most certainly be resolved by calm and constructive approach to
the problem by all concerned interests.
Editor Endorses Dredging Skagit
Dredging good for local economy. Would have “small
effect on fish spawning”.
Fisheries Study Promised by U.S.
As to flood control, Col. Garbacz pointed out that while
the proposed Avon By-Pass would provide “partial protection,” the US
Engineers felt this and existing levees would not give all the flood
protection needed in the lower areas of the Skagit.
The “ultimate solution” he said, “is to provide some type of reservoir
upstream from the lower valley areas. Sauk Site Considered—Later
in the interview the engineers spokesman said superficial examinations had
been made on the Sauk river about seven miles upstream from the Skagit as a
possible dam site. He called it “premature to say that site is a good
site.” Dredging—The engineer did not duck the issue of potential
damage to fish life from the proposed dredging of the Skagit channel between Mt. Vernon
and Concrete for barge navigation. Sports groups have voiced great
concern that such channel work would ruin spawning grounds and wipe out
steelhead and salmon runs in the river. Fish Studies Promised--…”we
are very much aware of the problem that dredging in that stretch of the river
might cause to fishing” and promised that “we will have the fisheries experts
of the state and federal agencies go into it a little bit later on. . .
. Present thinking of the engineers is to have a river channel four to
six feet deep and about 100 feet wide. “Dredging
alone doesn’t bother the run so much as it does the spawning of the sea-run
fish. This is the particular concern I think that the sportsmen out
there have and so does the Corps.”
Sauk River Dam
Fish Study Promised
Flood Project Study: Report due in fall
An early-fall target date has been set by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers officials for completion of reports to be presented to
Congress on year-long study of the Avon Bypass flood control proposal.
. . . Authorized In 1936 Johnson,
working with the federal engineers as flood control coordinator for Skagit County, explained that the Avon Bypass
project was first authorized by Congress in 1936. It has been
frequently discussed since that time and was revived in the spring of 1962 by
the Corps of Army Engineers as the most practicable solution to Skagit River flood problems. As
outlined earlier by corps officials, the bypass would consist of a channel
340 feet wide at its bottom extending from the Skagit
River to Padilla Bay.
From an intake structure south of Burlington,
the proposed canal would run eight miles almost directly west to Padilla Bay. Excess flood waters could
be diverted into the channel during high water and emptied into the
bay. Cost $19 Million . . . Cost of the bypass has
been estimated at $19 million. Federal aid would provide about $15
million of this total, with local financing from Skagit County,
the state, diking districts and possibly flood control zones financing right
of way costs and construction of highway bridges made necessary by the
Avon By-Pass Study
Cost 19 million dollars.
Cost Big Factor in Bypass
Warren Good and Norman Dahlstedt, farmers and truckers,
and Ray Billups, custom carpet expert who lives in the bypass area, presided
at the head table…Dahlstedt said he and others seriously questioned whether
the flood overflow channel proposal would give adequate protection and would
justify its $19 million estimated cost. He also said there was
doubt that this would be found the final maximum cost by possibly many more
millions of dollars. . . . Dahlstedt said the questions were
whether “we can afford this” and whether “we want this or something
else.” . . . Jim Hulbert, longtime LaConner farmer, said he had
seen “water from Stanwood to Edison” and
warned “you are going to have some more floods someday.” The Avon bypass is “the only thing they have ever
recommended,” Hulbert went on. “It would be very foolish to laugh this
off…to turn it down.”
Avon By-Pass Protest
Can we afford it?
swinomish close fish trap at state request
as Starlund’s request was received Monday, Wilbur called a meeting of all
Tribal Community officers to discuss it. They immediately halted
operation of the trial trap from Monday through Thursday this week and
next. In addition, individual gillnet fishermen who are tribal members
agreed to halt fishing from Friday morning to Sunday night during the next
Tribe agrees to halt fishing on weekends.
Editorial: Avon By-Pass… Boon or Boondoggle?
From what we have seen and read, to date, we are unable to
determine whether the misnamed Avon By-Pass would be a bonafide boon to our
area or just another bureaucratic boondoggle. According to a recent release
by Congressman Jack Westland the Corps is considering construction of the
by-pass, strengthening of levees and building of a water storage facility as
parts of a long-range flood control plan for the Skagit.
The informational bulletin makes it plain that the bypass project itself is
not intended to be up for discussion at the Nov. 22 hearing. A plan of
“uniforming” the Skagit river levee system from Mount Vernon in combination
with minor channel widening, and the addition of recreations and fisheries as
added purposes to the Avon By-Pass will be the subjects that will be
discussed, We do not know if this means the Corps has already been “sold” on
the by-pass or not.
At any rate, we did not know the Corps was in the business
of “selling” anything. We always thought their function was to take over when
a need was expressed, justification determined, and funds provided. Maybe it
wasn’t intended that way, but the informational bulletin mentioned above
strikes us as a first class promotional piece as far as the recreation and
fisheries aspects of the by-pass are concerned. We are presented with
sketches of ducklings in the rushes, fishermen netting fish out of a boat,
canoeing, bird and duck hunters prowling in the banks, beach balls and beach
scenes, picnickers and even overnight campers in tents. . . .
With the levee improvements cited, and the addition of the by-pass, the
engineers say we would be able to control flows of up to 180,000 c.f.s. from Burlington downstream,
and would increase the level of flood protection in presently diked areas to
30-year frequency. Under this plan, the river would carry 120,000 c.f.s. and
the by-pass 60,000. . . . The fact remains, however, that the
river has exceeded 180,000 c.f.s. five times in its recorded history –
185,000 in Nov. 1896, 190,000 in November 1897, 220,000 in November 1906,
195,000 in December 1917, and 210,000 in December 1921. We’re certainly no
experts on rivers but it’s reasonable to presume these excessive flows could
occur again under the right circumstances. If they did, we would all get our feet
wet, by-pass or no by-pass.
On the other hand there have been no disastrous floods in
the lower Skagit
Valley since the
completion of the Ross Dam in 1949. During flood periods, the Ross Plant has
been shut down, sometimes entirely, to hold back the greatest possible amount
of water. In 1949, from Thursday midnight until Sunday midnight, enough water
was held behind the dam to cover 116,000 acres of land to a depth of one
foot. At the crest of the flood approximately 50,000 cubic feet of water was
impounded every second. Although the dam was built primarily for power
production, it had appreciably reduced the flood threat in the lower Skagit. . . . We are not convinced either
that the by-pass would tend to impair the free flow of people and traffic
across the valley. This barrier could work a hardship on business, industry
and agriculture. From a strictly selfish viewpoint we can see the City of Burlington and
surrounding area locked in by the river on one side and the artificial moat
on the other. It would appear that the Burlington Cut-Off would be a more
appropriate name for the project than the Avon By-Pass. Before this thing
blossoms into reality sufficient thought should be given to the possible
The Beginning of the End
Corps “selling” the concept.
How Stewart’s figures impact flood control projects.
No disastrous floods since the building of Ross Dam.
hearing nov. 22 for Skagit
uniform flood control plan
A plan for uniform flood control along the Skagit River
south of Burlington will be the subject of a
hearing Nov. 22 at the Elks Lodge in Mt. Vernon.
. . . Spokesmen for the Corps of Engineers said the Avon Bypass is the
subject of one of three separate studies now under way which are not of
direct concern at the Nov. 22 hearing. The other two are a study of Skagit River
navigation from Concrete to the mouth and a study of upstream storage along
the Sauk River and other tributaries. . .
. Of major concern at the Nov 22 hearing will be plans to provide
uniform levee protection along the Skagit from its mouth to Mt. Vernon;
strengthening of the levee system, and widening of the channel at some points
to remove restrictions.
New Plan For The Skagit
Dredge navigation channel, dam on the Sauk and uniform
2 Flood Plans Held “Must”
…Primary subjects of Friday’s hearing are the Engineers plan
to bolster dikes and widen channel of the river below Mt Vernon and their
addition of recreational features to the revised Avon Bypass plan originally
authorized by Congress in the 1930’s. “We would not recommend the lower
river work without the by-pass,” Robert Gedney, chief of basin planning
engineer district, told the special meeting group. He explained that as
now diked lands along the lower river have from two to seven year flood
protection. . . . Also brought out at the meeting was that the
State fisheries department within the last two months had asked the Engineers
to consider use of part of the Avon bypass
channel for migratory fish propagation.
Engineers Point To
Beneficial Possibilities Of Avon Bypass
Highly favorable benefit-to-cost ratio for the Skagit River
flood-control and Avon Bypass project is announced by Colonel Ernest L.
Perry, Seattle Army District Engineer, . . . Under present
conditions, the safe channel capacity of the Skagit River
downstream from the proposed Bypass is only 90,000 to 120,000 cubic feet per
second (c.f.s.). With the improvements on levees, a save capacity of 120,000
c.f.s. with 2 feet of freeboard would be obtained. All levees would be
widened and strengthened to provide a minimum 12-foot top width.
Safe channel capacity 90-120,000 cfs. Would be
raised to uniform 120,000 cfs. Benefit to cost ratio 3.6 to 1 with recreation
as added feature.
The state Supreme Court has given the state the right to restrict Indian
net fishing, reversing a previous decision that treaty rights still
held. As always, past agreements have
a way of becoming unworkable when carried beyond the era for which they were
inscribed. More and more the theory of
law is “what is good for us now.”
Charles Dwelley on Fish Issue
State had right to restrict
Mayor Backs Flood Control Plan
-- Rescheduled U.S. Engineer Hearing Here Friday
The city of Mount
Vernon is on record with the U.S. Corps of Engineers
as endorsing flood control plans recommended by the Engineers. . . .
The mayor said he had consulted with City Engr. Denny LeGro and written the
approval letter prior to the original hearing date, Nov. 22, canceled by the
President’s death. The letter declares the Engineers’ proposals for
levee and channel improvements “reasonable and practical, . . . assuming that
the costs . . . are economically feasible and that suitable and equitable
financial arrangements can be achieved . . .” . . . “If we hadn’t
had the dike break below us we’d have had it,” LeGro commented, as to the
1951 flood. RECALLS 1951 FLOOD—
Mount Vernon residents
clearly remember the date of Feb. 10, 1951. The record book shows that
on this date the Skagit river reached a
flood flow peak of 150,000 c.f.s. (cubic feet per second). But to Mount Vernon residents and the City of Mount Vernon’s
officials, the peak flood flow of 150,000 cfs. was no immediate concern
through that long night and the following early morning hours of the next
day. What our Mount Vernon officials
do remember is that the Skagit river filled their banks completely in Mount Vernon and that
the flood crest rose until the water level had completely covered our
revetment area and was lapping at the gutter line of Main street at the Myrtle street intersection.
Another six or nine inches would have required sandbags to keep the Skagit river from spilling over into our downtown
commercial area. STORE OWNERS PREPARE—“The city of Mount Vernon, with full
knowledge of what a flood flow of 150,000 cfs means to our city, hereby
congratulates the Corps of Engineers for their comprehensive and
forward-thinking flood prevention plan. UPSTREAM STORAGE
--“And in conclusion, with the achievement of all the
plans presently under consideration for flood control on the Skagit river,
that the comprehensive development of upstream storages on the various
tributaries of the Skagit river, can give our fertile valley a virtual
freedom from the danger of floods – and possibly in our lifetime.
break at Fir Island
saved Mt. Vernon in 1951 flood.
Mt. Vernon congratulates Corps.
would give freedom from flooding events.
Bypass Termed First Flood Control Step
The Avon Bypass is the “first essential step in obtaining
flood control in the Skagit
River Basin,” Col.
Ernest L. Perry, district head of the United States Army Corps of Engineers
told persons attending a public hearing today on flood control. . . . DISTRICTS
APPROVE Just prior to today’s hearing, the Skagit Valley Herald learned
all seven Skagit
Valley diking districts
affected by the proposed levee improvement and channel widening program have
generally approved. Confirmation came from George Dynes, president, Skagit
County Flood Control Council. Dynes added that all 16 of the county’s diking
districts, except one, generally favor the plan. The single exception objects
to only some parts of it, he noted. . . . Col. Perry told newsmen this
morning the levee improvement project is linked to the proposed bypass in
corps planning because the bypass strengthens and justifies the cost-benefit
ratio of the levee job. Without the bypass as an adjunct, the levee system
would lack sufficient “life expectancy” to warrant federal expenditures, he
7 Dike Districts impacted approved plan. One of the
16 Districts did not approve. Testimony shows that this was Dike
Outline Flood Control Plans at MV Hearing
More than 300 persons turned out Friday for a hearing in Mount Vernon on flood control proposals affecting the Skagit River. But most of them came to
listen rather than to speak. . . . Army Engineers’ proposals for
strengthening the existing levee system along the lower Skagit River
met with practically no dissent from anybody who spoke Friday.
Objections were voiced however to both the proposed Avon Bypass and to
recreational use of the bypass, whose major purpose will be to divert high
water from the Skagit
River. . .
. Valley Divided Friday’s testimony disclosed the Skagit Valley still is evidently divided in
feeling over the Avon Bypass. Much of the opposition to the bypass came
Friday from the Burlington-Bay View area. . . . At the hearing’s
outset, Hastings asked his Skagit
listeners “do we continue ineffectual and inefficient methods . . . or
improve our program?” He said $3,660,000 had been spent so far in this
century in the Skagit
Valley on flood control
measures. He also reported the Skagit Valley
is the biggest user of state flood control funds. . . . Support
for levee improvements and recreational developments in the bypass came from
the Skagit County Board of Commissioners, represented at heating by First
District Commissioner Scott Richards. Representatives of a number of
central county diking and drainage districts also offered official
support. . . . Recalls 1951 Flood In a statement
prepared by Mount Vernon Mayor Herman Hanson, that city’s engineer, C. D.
LeGro, strongly supported the Corps’ proposals. LeGro recalled the 1951
flood which almost swept into Mount
Vernon’s downtown area.
300+ People Attend Flood Meeting
Speakers endorsed strengthening existing levee program but
many spoke against Avon By-Pass.
Burlington and Bay-View residents opposed
Over 3.5 million dollars had been spent in 64 years on
flood control projects in Skagit
Avon Bypass is
The Avon Bypass is the focal point in the Corps of
Engineers $30 million flood control plan for the Skagit River.
The official attitude of the engineers is that improvements to the levees of
the lower Skagit
River would not be
worth the estimated $7 million cost unless the $23 million bypass is built. .
. . A substantial number of Skagit
prefer, in fact, that the flood control program be restricted to levee
improvements. On the other hand, the Avon Bypass is highly charged with
controversy. It is an 8-mile lake that would run from Burlington
to Padilla Bay at Bay View and would require
extensive bridging where it cuts through state and county roads and highways.
. . . When engineering is sufficiently advanced that costs can be
reasonably ascertained, the Skagit County Commissioners will be faced with
attempting to raise an estimated $4 million that represents the portion of
the costs of construction at this time thought to be Skagit County’s
Local residents wanted levee improvements instead.
Fir Island Had Leap
Saturday, Leap Year Day, occurring only every fourth year,
but 32 years ago for the residents of Fir Island it rather passed by without
much thought being given to the quadrennial significance of the date. .
. . The Skagit River was on a flooding rampage and had not reached its
peak in the early hours of Feb. 28th when, due to large rotted log under
original dike, a breakthrough occurred on the west bank of the South Fork at
the Iverson Farms and completely submerged hundreds of acres and caused much
damage especially to properties of Iver Iverson and his son Phil
Iverson. Two breaks the year previously on west side of the island from
Dry Slough branch had caused much damage and now this major one was to make
it a day long remembered – 3 floods in 2 years. . . . However,
this large volume of flow from river had the usual effect of lower pressure
on other area dikes, such as the Conway District directly across stream, and
possibly saved the day for their hard pressed levies. . . . This
sudden and unexpected breakthrough of 32 years ago was at east side of Polson
Road which today is highly considered a future location of a new highway to
North Fork Bridge and LaConner with the new planned South Fork Bridge to
occupy the exact site of the bursting levee of 1932.
1932 Leap Year
Fir Island…3 floods in 2 years.
The eventual role of the upper Skagit
seems to be that of a recreation area.
At least in our time we see no huge developments in minerals, such as
the crowd here in the 1890’s envisioned.
Someday, maybe, but not until there is a need greater than that now
projected for folks with idle time on their hands. Our highway over the mountain is going to
swell traffic of those who come to see.
Most will want to come back again for a longer, closer look. Our potential in parks and camp grounds is
a long way from fulfillment. The field
of commercial food and lodging is almost untouched. Encouragement of more and better roads,
development of our forest camps, and some way to interest capital in
investment in tourist facilities will be the booster activity needed in the
next few years.
Charles Dwelley on Upriver
Development as Recreational Area
rainmakers hope they have added to skagit
A six-month experiment designed to drench the Skagit Valley and make its river work harder
will end this week. It will be another
six months before state officials know how much extra effort they got from
the stream. Stuart Shumway,
weather-modification supervisor for the conservation department, has been in
the Upper Skagit River basin
since October, directing a dozen rain-making machines. The rain makers are ground-based generators
that spray silver iodide solution into passing storm clouds. The silver-iodide particles have the effect
of ice crystals, causing water vapor to gather around them and descend as
rain. “We hope we’ve increased the
water runoff in the valley by 15 per cent,” Truman Price, conservation’s
supervisor of power resources said yesterday.
“But we won’t know for certain until the runoff is finished next fall.”
“Rain makers” were in operation
from October 1963 until the end of April 1964. During that time frame there were two
recorded small flood events.
10/22/63 – 73,800 cfs (29.8)
11/27/63 – 84,200 cfs (31.4)
No indication rain makers were
Cloud Seeding Worries ‘Hysteria’
-- says State Aide’s Reply;
Eldridge Says Letter Contradictory
Effects and costs of a cloud seeding experiment the state conducted in the
upper Skagit river basin this past winter still remained uncertain after
State Rep. Don Eldridge this week had received a reply to an inquiry he made
late in May. . . . “The choice of this (upper Skagit
basin) area was assured only by the complete wilderness nature of the area to
be affected,” Price explained. “We were aware of the hysteria brought
on by cloud seeding operations in western Washington and, even though we were
secure in the belief that a project operated in the middle of Seattle would
not endanger the public, we wanted to avoid the anxiety that is usually
concomitant with the incomprehensible . . . It is simply ridiculous to expect
the layman, or for that matter the expert, to observe merely the effect of
cloud seeding without benefit of an appropriate sixth sense. The fact
that cloud seeding has been conducted throughout the world since its
inception in 1946 without positive and irrefutable evidence of success
attests to the difficulty of evaluation.” . . . “Nothing in this letter gives
proof that the precipitation in the Skagit
valley has not been in part due to this program,” Eldridge declared.
Cloud seeding blamed for extra precipitation.
flood waters held back for skagit
Ross dam spillways on upper Skagit river were dry Sunday,
holding back water to level off late spring runoff for lower valley, when
group of newspaper folk toured Seattle City Light’s project. Joe
DeLeon, City Light public relations director, above, told Mrs. Stephen
Mergler of The Argus, and others, that water level behind this dam was about
40 feet below overflow point, to provide storage in case of heavy warm rains
that could bring flood threat. Excess water was being spilled from
lower Diablo and Gorge dams as necessary to maintain the emergency storage in
Ross lake, which extends north of Canadian border.
ROSS DAM STORAGE
event recorded for 1964 in USGS records.
protection from floods is seen in this scale model
Pictures of Proposed Avon By-Pass Plan
Black Prince Sailed Skagit
Through half a century has passed, nostalgic twinges grip
the writer at times as he seems to hear the melodious whistle, faint and far
away, of the old sternwheeler Black Prince as she boils up the Skagit with
cool-headed Captain Forrest Elwell at the wheel. . . . Dimensions
Dimensions of the Black Prince were: Hull, 93 feet: overall length, 112
feet; beam, 19 feet; depth of hold, 5 feet; tonnage measurement was 159 gross
tons, according to the captain. . . . “After completion,
the Prince came back to Everett under her own
power and then went to the Skagit to tow
logs and piling,” Elwell wrote. . . . Loads “On July
7, 1903, loaded 50 tons of machinery at Mount Vernon designated for the old
Talc Mine about 12 miles above Marblemount. . . . This trip took
three days to get up the river and unload,” the captain continued. To
negotiate Sticks Riffle (named for the old Indian, Johnny
Stick, who lived there) below Bacon Creek, the crew found it necessary to pay
out 1200 feet of line and employ the boat’s winch to pull the heavily laden
Prince over this shallow, swift piece of water. . . . This trip
by the Black Prince may have been the farthest upstream penetration by a
steamer since the gold rush of 1880. Reached Portage
One sternwheeler, the Chehalis, is reported to have reached the Portage, a mile or more
above the old tale mine, during the gold excitement. One old-timer, who
has lived on the river since 1877, is inclined to believe this. He says
that a river-wise boat captain conceivably could have made it over the
riffles above the talc mine during real high water. He added, however,
that most of the gold rush steamers got no farther than Durand Riffle, a mile
or so below Marblemount. “In 1906, the Company operated a logging camp
across the Skagit from Birdsview. The
logs were towed to the mouth of the Skagit
and later to Utsalady by the Prince,” Elwell wrote. “The writer well
remembers towing from Birdsview, and especially through the Dalles (above Birdsview) which is like
the letter “Z.” If you were lucky, okay, but if the raft broke up, you
were in a mess, as logs would be all around and under the Prince, which would
almost spin like a top. . . . Gets Name How the
Black Prince got her name: Captain [Charles] Wright [a previous owner] had a
dream that he had a boat that was all black and called the Black Prince, so
that is where her name came from, Elwell recalled.
History of Sternwheelers On The Skagit
1903 Black Prince carried 50 tons of machinery to
Marblemount. Trip took 3 days.
The Chehalis allegedly made it further upriver.
sauk and cascade dams are urged
Dams on the Sauk and Cascade rivers were again urged by
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at a Puget Sound Water Resources Task Force
hearing in Anacortes Monday. Robert
Gedney, chief of the planning branch, told the group to continue study of the
dams, which he says are needed for 100% flood control on the Skagit River.
. . . It was also urged that
all Skagit flood control projects be
coordinated under a master plan so that there would be no overlapping of
expenditures in piecemeal work. The
twenty diking and irrigation districts of the county now spend $250,000 a
year on Skagit river work.
Sauk and Cascade Dams
Only projects that would provide
100% flood control for the Skagit
Flood Control Unit Discusses Project
The proposed Avon Bypass should be under construction by
1968, Skagit County Flood Control Council members learned Wednesday
night. George Dynes, of Mount
Vernon, member of a specifically-appointed Avon
Bypass Committee of the Council, made a report to the organization as a
highlight of the Wednesday session in the Skagit County Courthouse Annex
conference room. Other Bypass Committee members are Tom Shane, Jim
Hulbert, Noble Lee, and Jess Knutzen. . . . Also included in
Dynes’ report was previously-issued information that the Inland Empire
Waterways Association recently endorsed the Bypass proposal and that
$3,225,000 in federal funds was authorized at the start of 1964 for a study
of the proposal.
By-Pass to be “under construction” by 1968.
3 million authorized to “study” the proposal.
Study Authorized, Construction
Due in 1968, Flood Council Told
The Avon bypass flood control project should be under
construction by 1968, George Dynes told the Skagit County Flood Control
council at its annual meeting at the courthouse in Mount Vernon Wednesday night. . . .
Dynes said he understood the U. S. Engineers had tentatively selected a site
for the first of two Skagit river tributary
dams that at some future time would be built to provide protection against a
“100-year” flood. This site, about two miles from Rockport, would be
for a 150-foot high dam across the Sauk river that would back water all the
way to Darrington. The other dam would be on the Cascade river.
Dams proposed on Sauk and Cascade Rivers.
letter tells of trip to diablo in snows of 1907
A trip from Marblemount to Diablo, which was impossible by
road a few weeks ago, was not too easy by trail in 1907. Reading
of the Diablo road being closed by snow slides prompted Glee Davis of
Sedro-Woolley to dig out a letter written by his mother, which describes a
trip home through the snow. The Davis place was located on the flat just below Diablo –
a portion of which is now under the waters of Gorge Lake.
Life In Skagit County
This is a fascinating article
about how people upriver had to travel in the early days.
mud slide at power house not serious
The mud slide, currently plaguing Puget Power above the lower
Baker power house here, is of no real danger, according to Andy Miller, local
superintendent. The trouble is
stemming from a mass of clay on the side hill above the powerhouse on the
area cleared for the high lines from upper Baker. Mud started slipping, taking out the quarry
road and dumping portions of slippery ooze over the bank and down behind the
bulkhead that protects the east wall of the power house. . . .
The condition of the soil on the hillside has been known since the dam
was built and provisions had been made for expected small slides and runoff
water from the area. An old logging
road through the section slid out a few years ago. It was believed that springs and seepage at
this point caused the latest trouble.
Lower Baker Dam
Powerhouse Slide Begins
Soil conditions were known since
the dam was built.
“Threat of serious damage to the
building was deemed remote.”
District 20 Leaders Call Dike Meet
A proposal to dike the entire Nookachamps
Valley from Mount
Vernon to Sedro-Woolley along the Skagit River
will be the subject of a public meeting Wednesday evening. Dike District
No. 20 commissioners, George M. Dynes, John
Petter, and Dr. Robert Thompson have issued an invitation to all property
owners in the Nookachamps Valley to attend the 8 p.m. meeting at the Clear
Lake School gymnasium. The invitation read: . . . “With the
completion of the Avon By-Pass, it will be possible to dike the Skagit River
from near the new bridge at Sedro-Woolley, following the river to Hoag’s Hill
just East of the Great Northern Bridge
near Mount Vernon.”
Proposal to Dike the Nookachamps
Avon Bypass Proposed Scheduled for Airing by Burlington’s City
The City of Burlington
had to put two portable pumps into almost continuous last week to keep
overflow out of its sanitary sewer lines, Supervisor Frank Screws told
Councilmen Tuesday night. Reporting on measures taken to curb damage
resulting from last week’s heavy rains, Screws said the two pumps went into
action Thursday. Screws added he still is accessing street damage
caused by rains. The supervisor also told Councilmen he had arranged
for a formal presentation at their Feb. 16 meeting on the proposed Avon
Bypass, a flood control channel which has aroused controversy in the Burlington area.
The channel would follow a route starting south of Burlington if it is established.
Group Gives Its Approval of Bypass
Agreeing that the proposed Avon Bypass is essential to a
proposed dike extension along the Skagit
River from Mount
Vernon to Sedro-Woolley, Nookachamps Valley
property owners Wednesday night endorsed the Bypass plan. They also
elected a committee of three men to study the dike extension proposal.
More than 50 persons attended a meeting to discuss the diking plan at Clear
Lake School Commissioners of Diking District 20 called the meeting to
determine feeling in the Nookachamps
extension of the district into that area to permit dike expansion.
James G. Smith, District 20 attorney, explained the proposed diking system
cannot be built without a municipal corporation like a diking district to
sponsor it and deal with federal agencies which help engineer and finance
such projects. Three Elected Elected to the interim study
committee were James C. Christopherson, J. W. Wallace, and Bill Moore, all
property owners in the Nookachamps
Valley. It was
Skagit County Superior Court Judge A. H. Ward, himself a Nookachamps farmer
and property owner, who cited the value of the Avon Bypass plan to any Skagit River diking proposals. Judge
Ward said it would be foolish to consider building any dikes unless an outlet
is provided for surplus flood water through the Avon Bypass. “I feel
building of this dike is a good deal if the Avon Bypass is assured,” Judge
Ward said. . . . Earlier in Wednesday night’s meeting, it had
been explained several times that the Nookachamps area has served for years
as a “reservoir” for Skagit
waters. Whenever the Skagit rises to near-flood levels, its first high
water usually spills over into the rich valley lying northeast of Mount Vernon.
Such a condition long has been considered a natural protection of sorts
against much more severe flooding in other areas down river from the
Nookachamps region. Engineers Study George Dynes, District
20 commissioner, explained Wednesday night that he had taken representatives
of the United States Army Corps of Engineers into the Nookachamps Valley 1½
years ago to discuss possibilities of relieving the area of its role as a
“reservoir.” The dike extension scheme was thus developed, Dynes said.
Nookachamp residents endorse By-Pass concept.
Nookachamps serves as a “reservoir”.
With By-Pass Nookachamps could construct levees.
Group Backs Avon Bypass
to Study Joining Forces With Dike District
. . . The Dist. 20 commissioners have suggested that
the Nookachamps basin be protected against the Skagit river by dikes from
near the new bridge at Sedro Woolley to Hoag hill east of the Great Northern
bridge north of Mount Vernon.
. . . The Corps of Engineers will consider making a study of giving the
Nookachamps lands flood protection if residents of the area want it and funds
can be obtained, the meeting was told by Ray Skrinde, who is directing the Skagit river flood control planning. He said the
Engineers hope before next fall to have their plans for the Avon
bypass project and bank protection-channel work on the lower river
completed. . . . Superior Judge A. H. Ward said he would not
favor the Nookachamps plan until the Avon bypass is built because, otherwise,
the rest of the Skagit valley would be
endangered. He made the motion to support the bypass project.
Dikes in Nookachamps
baker powerhouse slide area 24 hour job
In any hill-county location the earth slide is a common
hazard. In most cases the only thing
done is clear it away and forget about it.
In the case of the sliding hill above the Puget Power
power station here, it can not be that simple. Their problem is to get the material that
must eventually slide to do so gradually, and then work out a plan of attack
to prevent any future sliding.
Continued wet weather has kept the slide area moving for the past month. In addition to trying to clear away what
comes down, the company is now engaged in long range planning of work that
will be continued far into the summer to make the hillside safe for future
Lower Baker Dam
Powerhouse Slide Continues
engineer corps to be present
Avon Bypass To
Undergo City Council Scrutiny
Discussion of the By-Pass, which has aroused some
controversy in Burlington,
is expected to attract more than the usual few spectators who attend a
routine city council meeting. The 8 p.m. meeting is open to the public.
City Supervisor Frank Screws said this will be the first formal presentation
of the project to the Burlington City Council although various members and
other city officials have attended other meetings and presentations in the
engineers explain bypass at city
Approximately 30 interested citizens heard an Army Corp of
Engineers’ report on the projected Avon Bypass and later participated in a
question and answer period at the Burlington
City council meeting
Tuesday evening. . . . Further explaining that floods run in
cycles; in the Skagit’s case 8, 35, and 100 years, Holbrook said that the
improved levee and channel would protect against the 8 year cycle floods, the
levee, channel, and Avon Bypass together against the 35 year cycle variety,
but that an improved and increased upriver storage area would have to be
added to these two parts before the basin would have the needed protection
against a flood of the 100 year cycle frequency. . . . Projected
figures show that if the flood of 1921 were to occur in this area with its
present state of development an estimated damage of $13,273,000 would
occur. . . . Gedney placed the cost of the project at $24
million, two to four million of which would have to come from Skagit County. Gedney also explained that
local diking commissions have spent $3.5 million dollars on maintenance and
improvement since 1947. The original cost of the project in 1936 was $4
Floods run in 8.35 and 100 year cycles.
Levee improvements protect against 8 year floods, add the
By-pass and protection goes to 35 yr protection. Increased upriver
storage (Sauk Dam) would provide 100 yr protection.
If 1921 flood happened damages would be $13,273,000.
Cost of project now $24,000,000. 1936 cost was
Oppose Avon Bypass
Petitions opposing the Avon bypass and, in particular, any
modifications for other than flood control purposes were filed with the Skagit county commissioners Wednesday by a group
calling itself the Citizens Association for Skagit County Improvement.
An accompanying letter said there were 823 signatures on the petitions. It
was signed by Norman H. Dahlstedt as chairman and Ray Billups as
secretary. The petition headings “oppose any plans to modify the
structure of the Avon Bypass for any purpose other than flood control.” They
go on to say the signers “are in fact opposed to the Bypass itself because as
presented to us it will not provide protection of major floods.”
. . . The letter expressed the belief the public was “nearly 100 percent”
in favor of lower river (below Mount
Vernon) improvement. The Engineers’ plans would
increase the downstream capacity by 30,000 cubic feet per second, which the
association contended would represent half the bypass’ capacity “for
one-quarter the cost.”
Opposition to Avon
Residents Seek Relief
Owners of property along Gage’s Slough southwest of Burlington are hoping
for relief. For more than five weeks, waters from the slough have been
backing up onto fields. At the farm of J. Lee Lindamood on the McCorquedale Road west
of the Interstate 5 freeway, water covers almost eight acres of land.
Nearby, J. Larry Brendle estimates he has five or six acres under
water. . . . Lindamood has been trying to do something about the
water problem. He is circulating petitions whose aim is to have the
city of Burlington
provide some kind of relief from the situation. Lindamood said Burlington now is
dumping its drainage overflows into the slough. Since the slough
empties into the Skagit
River only through an
18-inch culver, Lindamood said, it is overtaxed. More water than it can
handle is flowing through it, the land owner said. . . .
Lindamood told the Skagit Valley Herald he believes at least 120 acres
altogether are affected by Gage’s Slough
overflow. Once before in recent years, Lindamood recalled, the slough
backed up and flooded his property and others. That was about 1948 when
owners of property along the slough dumped earth into its course and blocked
it. Lindamood and others later filed damage claims which were granted
by the county’s Superior Court.
It is reported that 72% of the City of Burlington has been engineered to drain
into Gages Slough. (Source: Cascade Mall EIS)
Burlington Will Aid
On Flood Trouble
Burlington officially gave assurance Tuesday
night of its cooperation in trying to relieve property owners southwest of
the community whose lands have been flooded by backed-up water of Gage’s Slough. . . . Mayor Adrian Strong appointed
a committee of three councilmen to work with Supervisor Frank Screws on the
Gage’s Slough problem. They are
William Dynes, Marvin Cannon, and Charles Kramer. Screws told
councilmen the city’s drainage does flow into the slough is legal, Screws
said, since it is a public water course.
Burlington Supervisor recognized Gages Slough as a “public
Plans Revealed For Shortened Bypass
An official of the United States Army Corps of Engineers
has disclosed the proposed Avon Bypass may be shortened to eliminate three
bridges and thereby save construction costs. Robert Gedney, an engineer
with the Corps in Seattle,
made the disclosure Monday night at a meeting of the Skagit County Flood
Control Council and diking and drainage district commissioners. Under
the new plan, the Bypass, planned as a flood control project, would being
just west of Interstate Highway 5, where it passes over the Skagit River
north of Mount Vernon.
Such a proposal has been developed because of severe opposition in Burlington to beginning
the bypass there, as originally planned, Gedney explained. Several
Plans . . . A grant of $30,000 was made by the Corps of
Engineers to finance the study. . . . Another Plan In
another disclosure made Monday night, Gedney said the Corps is considering a
plan which would provide for diking the Nookachamps north east of Mount Vernon and then
using Nookachamps Creek as a reservoir after it is diked. The Corps’
plan would keep low level flood waters from entering the area, Gedney said,
but would utilize the creek as a reservoir at high flood peaks. Earlier
Monday night, Col. Charles C. Holbrook, Army Engineers’ commanding officer in
the Seattle district, reviewed plans for flood
control measures along the Skagit
River. He said
the Avon Bypass would increase protection from eight to 35 years, and
additional upriver dam storage, planned in the future, would increase
protection to 100 years.
Avon By-Pass & Diking Nookachamps
By-pass route shortened.
$30,000 to “study” new route.
Nookachamps to be “diked” and used as a reservoir.
We wish the
state government would stop trying to create the idea that taxes can be
directed toward a certain segment of our economy without touching the “common
taxpayer”. . . . We would appreciate it if the powers that
be would for one honest moment admit that they are not the slightest bit
interested how much you pay, but only in the methods used to get it away from
Charles Dwelley on Taxes
skagit and tributaries in spawning program
The State Fisheries is now conducting a study in which
they hope to build the sockeye run in the Skagit River
and tributaries by establishing a controlled salmon run incubation channel
which would allow them to have a maximum take of eggs from the state fish
hatcheries. The proposed planning
would include another artificial spawning beach at upper Baker
Lake, to be built this summer.
The department has negotiated with Puget Power for the building of
this third spawning beach, which will be the same size as No. 2 now being
used and will handle another 1,000 sockeye adults.
Upper Baker Dam
58 million eggs could be used in
Need to determine how successful
this program was and what is its current status today.
slides wreck baker power house
Massive slides roared down on the Lower Baker Dam at
Concrete early today, virtually destroying the power house and causing damage
conservatively estimated at more than a million dollars. . . . Other
slides roared down later and apparently took most of the power house with
them. . . . Heavy weekend rains probably caused today’s massive
slides, company officials said. . . . At Burlington, Cleon Cornish, dispatcher for
Puget Power, said all reports indicated the slides were “tremendous.”
Slides in Narrow Baker
Compare what happened here to what is described in the
11/19/1896 Skagit County Times article above. This is strong evidence
that a flood caused by the daming of the “narrow outlet in the Baker Canyon” area by a slide very well
could have happened.
An editorial in The Seattle Times Thursday that seemed to
land on both sides of the fence raised a serious question as to whether that
newspaper be for us or against us here in the Skagit
valley. . . . Nothing that “Seattle’s City Light objects to
inclusion of an 11-mile stretch of the river in the designation because it
would rule out construction of a hydroelectric dam (Copper Creek)
contemplated in the municipal utility’s long range plans to provide power for
its customers,” The Times offered as its “present view” this comment:
“…unless City Light can document a case otherwise, the ‘wilderness river’
concept should take precedence on the Skagit river. Too many of our
mountain-stream valleys already have been despoiled of their natural site.”
While The Times was attempting to register as its main
point a complaint that determination as to use of and restrictions on natural
resources, such as the Skagit, were being left to “outsiders,” meaning the
federal government, it seemed both to be taking a slap at its community’s own
City Light and at the same time to be ignoring opinion as to the needs of the
Skagit valley as to utilization of the Skagit and its tributaries, for power
and industrial development, water supply and flood control.
Wild & Scenic River Designation
A mudslide from the 300 foot bank behind the Baker River
powerplant smashed through the plant carrying part of the structure into the Baker River and causing an estimated $1
million worth of damage. Minor slides continued to rumble all day Tuesday as
loose dirt fell from the hillside carrying with it trees and other debris.
Upper Baker Dam
Disaster usually strikes swiftly, dealing its lethal blow
and then departing to leave the victims wondering what happened. Nature seldom gives the kind of performance
a great many people were fortunate to witness Tuesday. Before their eyes a powerful unseen force
moved with deliberate menace to destroy what most of us would accept as a
strong and durable bit of man’s ingenuity.
Streams of seemingly powdery dirt eroded in a matter of hours what it
took many men a great many months to construct. Here for all to see was a slow-motion
demonstration of the ravages by the elements of the puny efforts of man. No wonder a number of civilizations have
vanished from the earth, leaving only buried remnants of buildings to be
discovered thousands of years later.
What we saw was a natural phenomena, a demonstration of the
irresistible force of many little grains of sand against a firm block of
rock-hard material. The monetary loss
will be great in this case, yet due to the whim of timing there was no loss
of lives that normally would have added to the tragedy. People who witnessed Tuesday’s spectacle
will talk for many years about “the day time gave the minutes in hours”.
Charles Dwelley on Natural
WHAT DO PEOPLE think about when they watch
millions of dollars and a familiar place disappear before their eyes, with
nothing they can do to prevent it? A
relentless natural force is something that can hold a person’s entire being
in a grip that is hard to break. Some
of those who came early Tuesday morning to see “what had happened” remained
throughout the day for a sight they will probably never again see – a whole
mountain moving and heaving as if alive.
What did they talk about…Keith Hicks, operator on duty, “There was no excitement, just the
closing down to be done. This was all
as had been set beforehand.” George Theodoratus: “I thought it was
just another clean-up job for the outside crews. After getting out in the boat I went home
and went to bed. I came back in the
morning to see how it looked and found this.
Dick Gardinier: “I’ve been
around the powerhouse for thirty years and I just can’t believe it is
gone. I’ve done a lot of work down
there. My tools are down in that mess
Spectator: “Why doesn’t the hill stop
moving? It’s eerie the way it creeps
along and never stops.”
Charles Dwelley on What People
Talk About While Watching A Natural Force At Work
Most universal comment on seeing
the destruction for the first time: “Oh, My God!”
sliding destroys baker power house
Earth slides from the unstable hill above the Lower Baker
increased in activity due to the heavy weekend rains, and early on Tuesday
morning started a series of movements that ended with complete destruction of
the multi-million dollar installation.
First warnings came about 3:00 a.m. and soon a gush of mud from the
canyon south of the power house piled high against the building. Working according to a pre-arranged
evacuation schedule, men on duty shut down the power operations and were
removed to safety by boat. The last
man left the building about 4:00 a.m. As
the Puget Power men anxiously watched, the hill above began to move like an
awakening giant, rolling and slipping with increasing violence. Dirt began to pile up behind the original
section of the power station and just before 8:30 the weight of the new
slides suddenly broke through the top story walls and sheared off that floor,
dropping the roof onto the floor beneath.
A huge cloud of dust and the accompanying roar brought townspeople to
the observation post high and out of danger south of the power house. From there they watched, fascinated by the
force of nature, as the continual slides gradually ground the buildings into
twisted girders and crumbling bits of concrete. The process took most of the day, although
the old part of the building was completely gone except for the north wall,
early in the afternoon. After that
forces seemed to divert themselves to the remaining building and by the
cessation of slide activity about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning it, too, had
been damaged beyond repair, though still standing.
Landslide Destroys Lower Baker
“As the Puget Power men anxiously watched, the hill above
began to move like an awakening giant, rolling and slipping with increasing
“No huge slides came during the
morning hours after the first push took the top floor. It was the continual building up of earth
that poured onto and around the damaged building that slowly pushed it out of
shape until, with screaming of stretching steel and the sharp cracking of
cement walls, a section would topple into the river. Once the break-through had been made from
the rear, earth poured into the building and out through the other side,
taking with it equipment, windows, machinery and all moveable material.”
Pictures of slides in baker canyon
Pictures of slide area in Baker
$30,000 For Avon
By-Pass Gets Support
Support for appropriation requests for two Skagit County public works projects was given
May 19 by Congressman Lloyd Meeds before the House Appropriation
Committee. Terming the Avon Bypass “essential to the development of the
Skagit River Flood Control Project”, Meeds pointed out that it could increase
significantly flood protection for the area. The Skagit River
Valley has a serious
flood protection for the area. The Skagit
has a serious flood on the average of every seven years at present. With the
Avon Bypass, protection would be increased so that a serious flood would be
expected no more frequently than once in every 35 years on the average.
35 Year Protection
upper baker power is online wednesday
As anticipated, the line crews of Puget Power had the
Upper Baker power station on the line Wednesday of last week after the slide
had taken out the lines which were brought through the lower power house,
destroyed in Tuesday’s big earth movement.
A helicopter was used to carry ropes across the 2,150 foot
canyon. The heavy lines were then
pulled across by tractor and strung from the poles high above the power
house. As there was no place for other
suspension, the lines cross the entire distance in one span. Power was turned on at 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday. Operators and crews for the
lower Baker powerhouse are now on duty at Baker Lake
operating the station there manually.
Previously it had been operated by remote control from the Concrete
Upper Baker Dam Power Back Online
work started on baker slide
The transformer from the small sub-station unit was
salvaged this week. Officials are
still studying means and methods of removing the earth slides and getting to
the job of seeing what can be salvaged from the power house itself. . . .
Losses to Puget Power in the destruction of their power station and
the three huge generators has not been accurately determined. A $5 million all-risk policy had been
carried on the installation. The $5
million risk was handled by ten insurers and written by D. K. MacDonald &
Co. There is a $100,000 deductible clause. The loss will probably be the biggest
insured loss in Northwest history, eclipsing the $4 million loss paid when
the first Tacoma
Narrows bridge broke up
in a high wind. The policy was first
written in 1960 and renewed each three years since that time. Coverage is stated to be on a replacement
Largest Insured Loss in Northwest
much activity on baker river project
Activity at the site of the wrecked Baker Rover power
station was progressing in several directions during the past week. Mud from the slide has been removed up to
power house, permitting entry to the building. A big drag-line scoop has been clearing
slide debris from the river, a 170-foot crane was put into action to retrieve
twisted metal parts from the river and to start the work of removing the
girders from the damaged building, preparatory to wrecking it. . . .
Soil experts are studying the hill from which the slide emerged and
their opinion is that the 20-acre mass of loose earth is sitting in a sloping
bowl of rock. It was felt that the
earthquake possibly could have changed the position of the mass to set off
the sliding. Findings of the experts
will determine whether or not the power house will be rebuilt in the same
location or a complete new installation erected either upstream or down. At any rate it is expected it will be at
least two years before the Lake
Shannon water is again
producing electric power.
Earthquake Could Have Set Off
Flood Plan For Skagit
Sent to D.C.
A July 30 deadline for further comment on the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers’ recommendations for Skagit river flood control was set in
an announcement from their Seattle
office Wednesday. . . . The 124-page report re-outlines the Engineers’
plans for the Skagit and reproduces the testimony given by public officials
and interested citizens at the public hearing held in Mount Vernon Jan. 10, 1964.
The Engineers are recommending levee and channel
improvements along the river from Sedro-Woolley down and modification of the
Avon Bypass flood control channel plan to include fisheries and recreation
Levee and Channel Improvements
Corps Recommends Federal Funds For By-Pass
Recommendation of flood control and allied improvements in
the lower portion of the Skagit
River valley by the Federal
Government is being reviewed by the Army’s Chief of Engineers for transmittal
to the Congress. . . . The value of lands and improvements in the
Skagit delta area was estimated at more than
$113,000,000 in 1962. This flood plain is highly susceptible to flood damage
which averages more than $2 million dollars under present levels of
development, Col. Holbrook said. . . . “Finally,” Col. Holbrook said.
“we plan to evaluate feasibility of upstream multi-purpose storage in 1966,
1967. This project alone would be planned to control flow of the main river
and tributaries so that with all three elements: levees and channel
improvement, the Avon Bypass, and upstream storage, 100-year or higher flood
protection could be realized for the Skagit River
flood plain from Sedro-Woolley downstream.”
flood control study is ready for
Recommendation of flood control and other improvements in
the lower portion of the Skagit
Valley by the Federal
Government is being reviewed by the Army’s Chief of Engineers for transmittal
to the Congress. The plan of
improvement for the 68,000 acre delta flood plain downstream from
Sedro-Woolley was developed by Seattle District of the Corps of Engineers. Studies indicate that a high level of flood
control is needed if that area is to progress. The project plan going to the Congress is a
modification of the present Avon Bypass authorization to permit Federal
participation in the construction of recreation facilities. The value of lands and improvements in the Skagit delta area was estimated at more than
$113,000,000 in 1962. . . . The improvements would increase flood
protection in the delta from present three-year minimum flood frequency
protection to an eight-year minimum protection. . . .
They plan to evaluate feasibility of upstream multi-purpose storage in
1966, 1967 and 1968. Storage would be
planned to control flow of the main river and tributaries so that with all
three elements: levees and channel improvement, the Avon Bypass, and upstream
storage, 100-year or higher flood protection could be realized.
Flood Control Plan
Value of Skagit Delta in 1962
was $113,000,000. Today it is valued
at over 3 billion dollars. (Source: Letter Report , Alternatives for
Compensation for Flood Storage Capacity, Upper Baker Reservoir, 22 January
2003 Review Copy )
Engineers Set Conditions For Skagit Flood Control
Ten conditions to be
met by “local interests” have been suggested by the U.S. Corps of Engineers
in connection with flood control and allied improvements on the Skagit River basin. Provide with cost
to the United States,
all lands, easements and rights-of-way necessary for the construction of the
Hold and save the United States
free from damages due to the construction works.
Maintain and operate
all the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by
the Secretary of the Army.
Provide without cost
to the United States
all relocations of buildings and utilities, roads, sewers, related and
special facilities necessary for construction of the projects.
that encroachment on improved channels will not be permitted.
Notify the public
annually of the limited flood protection provided by the recommended works
subsequent to their construction.
Secure the water
rights necessary for operation of the recommended works for recreational
With respect to
recreational facilities, provide cash, equivalent work, or lands so that the
non-Federal share shall be at least 50 per cent of the total first cost of
Assure public access
for all on equal terms for recreation development.
Submit plans for any additional
recreational development of the Avon Bypass project to the Secretary of the
Army for approval and determination of the Federal interest prior to
10 Conditions on local government.
men and machines find going
difficult on slide nature moved in day
At the Lower Baker powerhouse site and on the hill above,
a million dollars worth of equipment and crews of skilled operators have been
at work for several months trying to complete a job done by the forces of
nature in just a few hours. At the
shattered power house, crushed into debris by the sliding earth of May 18th,
it took a crew of men and two pieces of heavy equipment to pull down the
walls left standing. . . . The upper hill is now shaping up in a
terraced embankment that is expected to prevent any further slippage. Large drainage ditches go deep into the
arrears where water seepage is present.
Slide Area Being Stabilized
navigation is turned down
The request of a county group for opening of the Skagit River
to navigation as far as Concrete, made at a public hearing in Mount Vernon last
April, has been given an unfavorable report by the North Pacific Division of
the Corps of Army Engineers. The study
made by the engineers was the feasibility of improving the river for
navigation by dredging from deep water in Skagit Bay
upstream 54 miles to the Baker river at Concrete. The engineers found that the estimated
transportation savings would not be sufficient to warrant expending the
amount of money necessary for the project.
Project didn’t meet Corps cost
Army Crosses Off Skagit As Navigable Stream
River is no longer
considered a navigable river by the Corps of Engineers, North Pacific
Division, Department of the Army. This is not an overnight decision
considering the report released this week read: “Notice is hereby given that
the report on Skagit River,
Washington, for navigation,
authorized by resolution of the Committee on Public Works of the House of
Representatives adopted 13 May, 1947, has been completed by the District and
Division Engineers. The report is unfavorable to the improvement. A public
hearing was held at Mount Vernon,
Washington on 12 April
1949.” At issue was the feasibility of improving Skagit
River for navigation by dredging
from deep water in Skagit
Bay upstream about 54
miles to the vicinity of Concrete. This week’s report stated that
officers engaged on the project find that the estimated transportation
savings “would be insufficient to justify the estimated cost of
Headline is misleading. Dredging the river for
navigation was found to be infeasible.
Public hearing was in 1949 and they make a decision in
puget power is lawsuit winner
The $4,900,000 suit involving insurance claims on the
destruction of the Baker River power house here, was decided in favor of the
power company by a Seattle
jury Monday evening. After hearing all
the evidence presented by both sides during a session that has lasted since
May 23rd, the jury found that the insurance claims should be paid
in full for the loss. The insurance
companies who had shared the large account had contended that due to a clause
in their policies specifying written notice of any dangerous condition on the
property, the claims should not be paid.
They held that the company failed to contact them during the time
slides had come off the hillside before the big movement destroyed the power
house completely on May 18 of 1965. According
to information received here the insurance firms could appeal the decision,
but would be liable for $1,000 a day additional payments due to interest and
other costs if they should lose the appeal.
Insurance Companies Had To Pay
Puget Power $4,900,000
skagit is back on wild river list
The Mount Vernon Argus, a weekly newspaper which does an
unusually good job of covering all aspects of affairs concerning the county,
last month went deeply into the “Wild
River”, proposal now in
Congress. Editor Steve Mergler’s
column on the subject gives a complete picture of the situation as it now
stands and is herewith reprinted in full:
“Those who viewed with concern the Skagit river and its tributaries as
“wild rivers,” whose use and development would be severely limited, breathed
some relief when U.S. Senate deleted this basin from its “immediate” list in
recently passing S. 1446. “But, left
out of the Senate’s list of six “wild” streams and instead consigned to
future study, the Skagit is back in the
“immediate” picture in a new bill introduced in the U.S. House of
Representatives. The House bill, H. R.
14922, by Rep. John P. Saylor of
Pennsylvania, changes the name of the “don’t touch” streams to “national
scenic rivers” and proposes to so classify the Skagit (and tributaries) and
15 others at once. The Columbia is to be studied within three years for
possible addition to the “scenic” system and, within ten years, the Methow,
to name only one of the Washington
state waters in a long list.
Designation For Skagit
“A special clause in the House
bill would forbid the
construction, operation or maintenance of any “dam or other project,”
except by special act of Congress, on not only the streams immediately
designated as “scenic”, but also those in the listings for future study. It also would expand (from the Senate “wild
rivers” plan) from 300 feet to a mile either side the width of river lands
that the federal government could condemn, and from one-quarter to two miles
the width from either bank it could put under “scenic easements”.
$100,000 for more study on the Avon By-Pass to provide a
spillway for Skagit flood water. Also in present legislation is nearly six
million dollars for flood control and improvements on our river. Apparently its “wild river” status is going
to be plush.
Charles Dwelley on Avon By-Pass
seattle signs ross lake
After a number of years of negotiation an agreement has
been made between Seattle City Light and the Province of British
Columbia over the use of Canadian land flooded
by the waters backed up by Ross Dam. In
signing the pact the Seattle light department
agrees to pay British Columbia
$34,566.21 a year on a 99 year lease.
The Canadians have given the city permission to raise Ross Lake’s
elevation to 1,725 feet and put Ross
Lake to a point six
miles beyond the border. The project
of raising height of Ross Dam is one for the future, but until that time City
Light proposes to add 2½ feet to the top of the spillway gates. This will allow an increase in storage
capacity of the lake and furnish about 25,900,000 more kilowatt hours a year.
Agreement would allow Ross Lake
to be raised to 1,725 foot elevation.
Cost $34,500 a year.
$50,000 Approved For Skagit
Congress has approved a $50,000 funding to the U.S. Corps
of Army Engineers for a bank protection project on the Skagit River on the
South Skagit Highway about four miles upstream from Sedro-Woolley. . .
. Skagit County commissioners and engineers had
applied for the Corps’ aid in the river erosion project. The river is
undermining the highway at the point, a short distance east of where the
county is currently repairing damage from Deadman’s Slough
erosion. The Corps’ project requires county participation on a matching
basic of an estimated $40,000 in additional funds. If the project does
not run this high, the county money is not expended. The State
Department of Conservation is expected to share about 30 percent of the
county’s cost. . . . The work would call for substantial
reinforcement of the river bank where it bends away from the highway.
The bank is constantly being eroded at that point and eats into the road bed,
said Commissioner Howard Miller.
Erosion Control Rip-Rap Project
$50,000 federal expense, possible $40,000 to County
Deadman’s Slough is where
Indians used to bury their dead by placing them in canoes and hoisting them
up into tree branches. Same practice in the Nookachamps. (Source:
Courier Times 10/20/49)
Long-range Flood Plan for Skagit
officials were given a tool for flood plain management Wednesday at Mount Vernon. It
was the Skagit River Flood Information Report, prepared by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers at the request of the State Department of Conservation on
behalf of the citizens of Skagit
Presentation of the report was made to the Skagit Board of County
Commissioners by H. Maurice Ahlquist, director of the Department of
Conservation and by Gregory M. Hastings, supervisor of the department’s
division of flood control. . . . While it did not fall as a
bombshell, the report, as expected, set forth some long-range requirements
for flood control of the Skagit River which would have a profound effect on Skagit County, especially in regard to future
planning and development. . . . The answer, given by Ahlquist,
was also seen as significant, “This report is not God’s word,” he said.
“The Corps has done the best it can with the information available.” He
did not state to what extent the plan might be revised. . . . Hastings asked this
question, “Is Skagit County being picked on?” He then answered
negatively, stating, “Skagit
County has used more
state flood control maintenance funds since 1943 than any other county in the
state. It has consistently had a flood control program, which speaks
for the county’s interest in a constructive effort. . . . “The answer
is a flood plain management set of rules, and this report is the tool to
provide those rules. It suggests the most wise and beneficent use of
the flood plain area,” Hastings
stated. The ultimate of the plan is for 100-year flood control of the Skagit River basin. “The information,
as presented in this Skagit River Report, points out the need for changing
our ideas and methods of reducing the recurring flood damage in the
county. It will be largely up to you to assist in bringing about the
acceptance of these ideas,” Ahlquist stated at the outset. . . .
One theme of the meeting was that many residents underestimate the danger of
floods and “build and plan as though no hazard exists.” George Dynes,
local land developer long active in water management, said local matching
costs of the plan would come to $6 million. “Without the money for that
part, we’d be dead in the water,” he said. “Right now the state has no
money with which to help you,” said Ahlquist.
Floodplain Management Plan
County has used more
state flood control maintenance funds since 1943 than any other county in the
“The answer is a flood plain management set of rules, and
this report is the tool to provide those rules. It suggests the most
wise and beneficent use of the flood plain area,” Hastings stated.
One theme of the meeting was that many residents
underestimate the danger of floods and “build and plan as though no hazard
State Report Issued Here Wednesday Defines Federal Order
A Skagit river information survey that will restrict,
guide and control use of virtually all lowlands in the Skagit valley was
unveiled in Mount Vernon Wednesday afternoon by Gregory Hastings, state flood
control supervisor , and H. Maurice Ahlquist, director of department of
conservation. With the report, Hastings
handed out to a crowd of city, port, diking district, county and federal
public official’s copies of a presidential order issued last August that is
key to the new valley regulations. This order directs all federal executive
department agencies to approve constructions, loans, road work and other
federal activities in flood plain areas, subject to some exceptions. .
. . “Controlled use” appears key to the federal order and the Skagit Basin reports. . . . “The
part of the flood plain subject to inundation every few years could be zoned
for agriculture, including buildings necessary for farm operation. Public and
commercial activities which can recover quickly from inundation could be
allowed, such as parks, playfields, parking lots, and drive-in theaters. A
useful method for determining the limits of this zone would be to use the
high water mark on one of the larger recorded floods. For example, limits of
a Skagit river flood having a frequency of
A 50-year flood is defined as one such as occurred in 1920
when the recorded Skagit stream flow at
Sedro-Woolley was 210,000 cubic feet per second. The report’s detailed maps
show areas that would be hit by such a flood and also fringe lands beyond
that would be affected by a less-frequent 275,000 cubic foot flood. The most
severe flood listed from 1896 to date was 220,000 feet in 1909, when the dike
broke southeast of Avon and the river flowed southward across the flats along
the Avon-Allen road. The report points out that some areas may be flooded by a 90,000-cubic
foot flood, while others
would be safe up to 140,000 cubic feet. “Floods of these magnitudes,” it
says, are expected to recur at frequencies of three and 14 years,
respectively.” It estimates annual flood damages average $2,216,000 at 1963
prices. . . . Nothing that “early settlers… had the good judgment
to build their homes on the highest available part of their holdings,” and,
“as a result, flood damage along many streams has been confined primarily to
crops,” the report warns. “The danger is the promoters of new housing sites,
shopping centers, and motels may lack a long-range view point and
unintentionally saddle future owners with flood-susceptible, depreciated and
50 year flood defined.
1909 flood listed as most severe.
Dike protection 3 to 14 years.
river holding at flood stage
After a week of warm weather, melting snow in the hills
has brought all streams in the valley up and consequently the Skagit has been carrying the run off. The City Light dams and Upper Baker and Lower Baker dams here managed
to hold the run off for the early part of the run, but all are now at
capacity and spilling. The Skagit has been measured at 27.35 at the Dalles gauge,
and 26 feet is considered flood stage.
However, although some flooding has occurred at Rockport and at other
low points along the river, the main stream has been running bank full and
carrying the load well. Weather in the
80’s on Monday sent the gauge up higher but still not to the point where
flood damage can be expected in the lower valley. With the steady stream flow no emergency is
expected unless a storm and warm rains speed up the run-off of snow from the
June 22, 1967 Flood Event
USGS 72,300 cfs 29.59 Concrete;
72,000 cfs 28.28 Mt. Vernon.
26 feet was considered flood stage???
baker project facts outlined
Puget Power’s employee magazine last week carried pictures
and the full story on the construction of a new powerhouse at the lower Baker
plant in Concrete. With the story was
the project drawing shown here of the construction under way. Their story, in part: “Bechtel Engineering Corporation of San Francisco designed the powerhouse and has begun
construction on the site at Concrete in Skagit County. Cost of the project is estimated at
$4,750,000. . . . Debris from the 1965 landslide remains in
the tunnel and in the river bed itself, where it blocks the draft-tube outlet
channel. The tunnel will be cleared,
an old underground surge chamber rebuilt, and the river bed dredged for some
1,500 feet below the powerhouse. . .
. All 23 of the spillway gates on
Lower Baker dam will be modified to permit their operation by remote control
from the powerhouse. At present, only
three are so equipped. The others are
manually opened and closed. The
reconstructed plant will be designed for remote operation from the Company’s
Eastside operation center at Kirkland
via the microwave system.
Puget Power Dredged Baker River
“The tunnel will be cleared, an old underground surge
chamber rebuilt, and the river bed dredged for some 1,500 feet below the
This is significant due to the erasing of geologic
evidence of old flood events.
permit given to raise ross
lake by 2½ ft.
The Federal Power Commission has granted Seattle City
Light the right to increase storage on Ross Lake
reservoir by some 2½ feet. The
additional storage is now made possible by raising the level of the Ross dam
spillway gates by that height. The
increased height will provide about 25-million kilowatt-hours a year in electrical
power. The new lake level is not
expected to affect the lake for its use in recreation. The request was made by City Light
following a new agreement signed with British
Columbia last January in which the new level of the
lake is set for 1725 feet. This will
allow Ross Dam to be raised 125 feet sometime in the future and will fulfill
the original plans for adding to the height of the dam.
Spillway gates raised 2.5 feet.
cement plant to phase out in 1968
Lone Star Cement Corporation will close it’s 61-year old
cement plant in Concrete and de-activate the quarry during 1968. The plant will be down for two months
starting January 1st, then reopen to phase out over the balance of
the year. It will be a gradual
operation with the quarry first, then the raw end, kilns, grinding and finish
end. Storage and shipping will
continue until all finished product is shipped. . . .
In his statement, Mr. Hutton stated that a formal economic study of
the earning capacity of the Concrete plant indicated it did not measure up to
the specifications of the program. He
described the plant as “one of oldest ones in the Company’s system that had
too many unprofitable years to justify its continued operation.” . . .
The Concrete mill, which began producing cement in 1906, was acquired
by Lone Star from Superior Portland Cement Company in 1957. One of the oldest plants in Lone Star’s
15-plant system, Concrete’s operating costs are the highest of all the
Lone Star Cement Plant To Close
Plant began producing cement in
seattle bidder gets lake
Cascade Northern Company has been awarded the contract
from among a dozen bidders for the first phase of Puget Power’s
beautification project to clean up Lake
Shannon and improve its
recreational use. . . . “Our goal is to make the lake more useful
for fishing and boating,” said Andy Miller, superintendent of the Company’s Baker River power projects. “At the moment, we’re not sure how much
time it is going to take to complete the job or how much it is going to cost,
but we do want to do the best we can to make the lake useful for people.” Miller also announced that as of last
Friday, the lower Baker powerhouse reconstruction had reached about 67%
completion and that the project is about a month ahead of its scheduled
September 1, 1968, start-up time. The
powerhouse building is essentially finished; the erection of the
70,000-kilowatt generator is about 40% completed; the surge shaft and
expansion chamber, which handle the back up of water in case of a sudden
shut-down at the plant, are about 90% complete; the transmission substation,
which will receive power from the generator for delivery to Company lines, is
about 10% completed.
Lower Baker Dam
Puget Power wanted to make Lake Shannon
“useful for people”.
County Flood District
Skagit county commissioners last night received approval
of Mount Vernon’s
city council to proceed with formation of a countywide flood control zone
district. . . . The Proposed district, authorized by the last
legislature, would enable the county to sponsor flood control projects
directly, rather than through smaller, independent districts, LeGro
explained. . . . The new district would not necessarily mean
elimination of present diking and drainage district, LeGro added, in response
to a question. . . . The advisory council favors the proposed
improved diking of the river and channel widening from Sedro-Woolley to the
mouth, which would give eight-year flood protection, but has taken no stand
on the controversial Avon by-pass, which would protect against a 35-year
flood. . . . A new flood control development, possibility of having the Puget Sound
Power & Light Co. reserve from 22 to 19 feet of its Upper Baker dam
storage for flood control use, has been suggested and is now being studied,
LeGro divulged. . . . This storage could step up flood protection
by as much as 12 cycle years, or to 20 if combined with the lower river
Countywide Flood Control Zone
Did not “necessarily” mean elimination of diking and
Upper Baker reserve from 19 to 22 feet of storage being
dams helped in last threat of floods
Flood control benefits of power dams were demonstrated
during the weekend of heavy rains the first of the month when Seattle City Light held back
part of the flow of the upper Skagit
River. Between midnight Friday, May 31, to 6 a.m.,
Monday, June 3, City Light held back 112,336 acre-feet of water in Ross Lake
because of the near-flooding conditions in the lower Skagit. Power Manager Cas Bradeen reports that Ross Lake rose 9.8 feet during that
period. At one time Ross
reservoir received approximately 25,000 cubic feet per second flow of water
from that part of the Skagit
River and its
tributaries upstream of the dam.
Outflow was kept down to the minimum.
June 3, 1968 Flood Event
USGS Concrete not available;
68,800 cfs 28.09 Mt. Vernon.
2 feet over flood stage if flood
stage 26 feet. See 6/21/67 C.H. Ross
Lake rose almost ten
feet in 4 days.
skagit tribe is offered grant
The Upper Skagit Tribe will meet this Saturday, August 31,
at Hillcrest Park
in Mt. Vernon
to discuss and vote on accepting a proposed settlement of $384,471.42 offered
the Tribe to settle its claim case against the United States, which has been
pending since 1951. The settlement
represents additional compensation for 453,000 acres of land ceded under the
Treaty of Pt. Elliott in 1859, and is based on a value of 90 cents per acre
at the time of law, such valuations are established on the basis of what the
land was worth at the time of the Treaty.
. . . Charles Boome of
Sedro-Woolley is Chairman of the Upper Skagit Tribe and Mrs. Alice Cuthbert
is secretary. They state that this is
the most important meeting the Tribe has had.
They emphasize that individuals must be present to vote and urge
everyone to attend.
Upper Skagit Tribe
Offered payment for their land
that the government took from them.
skagit indians accept government award
The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe voted to accept the U.S.
government’s offer of $348,471.42 in settlement of the tribe’s claim for
additional compensation for 453,000 acres of land ceded under the Treaty of
Point Elliott in 1859.
Upper Skagit Tribe
See 8/28/68 C.H. and 6/21/51
baker power plant back on the line
Kilowatts, which had been flowing past the Lower Baker
River Powerhouse since the slide of May 1965 were being collected again this
week and put to work on the power grid of Puget Sound Power & Light. The new powerhouse, which houses the 70,000
kilowatt generator salvaged from the disaster, is now in official operation
although testing and the usual shakedown of “bugs” will continue until all
equipment is operating efficiently. .
. . Work on the project was done by
the Bechtel Corporation and was started in the spring of 1967. The cost of the completed project has been
set at $4,750,000. The company has
been awarded $5,144,645 from insurance following the destruction of the
original plant. . . . While the Bechtel Corporation was on the
job, the company had them renew all 23 of the spillway gates on the dam. Eight of them were replaced with steel
instead of wood and will be operated by remote control. The entire powerhouse has been designed for
remote control operation from the Redmond
by solid state microwave units.
Lower Baker Dam Powerhouse
Spillway gates operated by
It took them almost as long to
rebuild the powerhouse as it did to build the dam.
City To Make
$4,419 Survey of River
Mount Vernon city councilmen voted four to one
last night to make a $4,419 engineering study of the Skagit River
to clarify status of the city’s Edgewater park and garbage fill
operation. . . . As agreed on at the Dec. 6 meeting, the suggested
cross-section points on the river were outlined on a map prepared by the U.S.
Corps of Engineers. . . . The study is intended to provide data
on which a decision can be made as to how much of the park riverbank should
be cut back to provide additional river flow at flood time to make up for
high water channel room taken by the garbage fill.
clarify status of Mt.
Park (garbage dump).
Chiefs Urge Flood Preparations
Six Skagit county fire chiefs called on the
county engineer’s office and Joe Cain, county civil defense director, Tuesday
night for immediate planning to cope with a possible flood emergency this
season. . . . Johnson
said there was some cause for concern because the latest snow pack report
lists the Skagit watershed as 127 per cent
above normal. He pointed out that while record floods have tended to come in
November or December, the last serious flood in this valley occurred in
February, 1951. . . . The problem of communications, between the
courthouse and the fire stations and to workers on the dikes appears in
better shape than in 1951, discussion indicated.
127% of normal.
with communications between courthouse and fire departments in 1951.
Flood Council Decides Dike District Agency it Open Dikes
One of the major agreements the group reached was as to who would have to
right to order a dike “blown” to reduce water pressure and hold down flood
damage. It was agreed this was the right of the dike district
commissioners. . . . Other subjects discussed included how to
coordinate flood control work, availability of sand bags and pay for help
obtained during an emergency.
Districts have authority to “blow” dikes.
City Pinpoints Profile Of Skagit River Bottom
HOW DEEP THE RIVER? - Sketch above is profile of Skagit river bottom, between Gates street on east and Edgewater park
on west, drawn from river depth surveys completed Wednesday by City
Engr. G. D. LeGro’s crew. With river holding at nine-foot level on the
gauge, there was 15 feet of water at 100 and 200 feet out from the parking
revetment, 9½ feet at the 300-foot point and ten feet at 400 feet. River
width at this point is 500 feet. Deepest water directly under the downtown
bridge was 24 feet. LeGro calculated river at this point is 500 feet. Deepest
water directly under the downtown bridge was 24 feet. LeGro calculated river
at this point would carry 120,000 cubic feet per second at 27½ -foot flood
height, which is considered between a seven- and nine-year frequency
Sounds River Depths
River about 10 to 15 feet deep.
Deepest point under Riverside
Bridge 24 feet.
river widening needed in parts, report reveals
. . . Some 5,396,000 cubic yards of dirt, rocks and gravel would
be excavated totally if the project is undertaken.
River Widening would have been in
the Mt. Vernon City
river flood plan
A master plan for future development of the Skagit river channel through
downtown Mount Vernon for both flood
protection and landfill has been forwarded by city officials to the U.S.
Corps of Engineers, Seattle, and the state
Department of Water Resources, Olympia.
The state agency, which last year question the city’s continuing to use
Blumberg island as a garbage fill, for gradual conversion to Edgewater park,
replied in recent days that it would study the report. Combining Corps
of Engineers data on river flood capacity with results of the city’s actual
measurement of the river bed at 19 crossings this year, City Engr. Denny
LeGro has recommended cutting back the bank of Blumberg island from 44 to 98
feet between the Division street bridge and the downstream tip of the island,
across from Kincaid street. . . . His letter suggested a plan for
a minimum river channel width of 50 feet at ten-foot river level through
downtown Mount Vernon,
with a flaring out on below to improve the flow of flood waters. LeGro’s letter declared the
proposed plan would “provide the hydraulic needs of the Skagit river through Mount Vernon without materially affecting the flood
plain needs of the Skagit river at flood
Edgewater Park study completed.
city engineer recommends cutting back bank of Edgewater Park
from 44 to 98 feet.
salmon anglers! our pink salmon (humpies)
Advertisement from Washington Fisheries
informing fishermen to release all pink salmon.
slow runoff perfect for baker river dams
With snow in the hills about gone, river control is the
practice at dams both on the Skagit and
Baker. The Skagit River
is at about its lowest point in several years, due to the lack of rainfall
the past month. Power potentials have
been maintained by holding the water behind the dams to the best advantage. . . .
Lowest water recorded on the Skagit
in August was ’41 when it ran 6,400 cu. ft. 1969 August average was
8,000. August average over the years
is 9,660. Normal flow in July is
18,000 cu.-ft. per second. September
is considered the low month of the year so another drop is expected unless
heavy rains set in.
Upper Baker Dam
Lowest water recorded on the Skagit
in August was 1941 when it ran 6,400 cu. ft. 1969 August average was
8,000. August average over the years
is 9,660. Normal flow in July is
18,000 cu.-ft. per second.
conservation group asks exclusion of skagit as wild river
USFS from Skagit Soil and Water Conservation
. . . We question whether the segments of the Skagit River and its tributaries as proposed
for study in the Act, meet the requirements as specified in the Act.
The main stream of the Skagit from Bacon Creek to Mt.
Vernon is not a free-flowing river
since its flow is affected by the existing Skagit River
dams. The Skagit from above Concrete
to Mt Vernon flows through alluvial soils which to a large degree have been
cleared and are being used for agriculture or have been or are being
developed for recreational homesites. . . . We believe that the
provisions of the Wild Rivers Act would make it difficult, if not impossible,
to control the bank erosion and otherwise construct dikes and other flood
SCD Opposed Wild and Scenic
baker area earth shift brings 4.5 earthquake sunday
now has its own earthquake. The first
sign of this phenomenon came at about 11:40 Sunday night when a growing
rumble turned into a real, house-shaking 4.5 Richter-scale earthquake that
lasted for several seconds. In a few
minutes came another shock of lesser intensity and more of these varying from
mere rumbles to definite and disturbing tremors continued through the night
until past 3:00 in the morning. As
residents from Diablo down valley to Hamilton turned on the radio and TV sets
Monday morning to learn what disaster had struck the state at some distance
away it was found that no one on the newscasts had knowledge of the night of
tremors. It was along in mid-morning
before the word reached outlying areas, and around noon before word came from
seismograph that there WAS an earthquake of strong signal and it was centered
in the Mount Baker-Baker Lake area.
Epicenter Baker Lake Area
4.5 on Richter-scale.
first batches of sockeye salmon of season start
migration to deep water
Over 9,000 small fingerlings slipped into the creek at the
north end of Baker Lake last Saturday as
Vern Daves, superintendent of the Game Department’s fish hatchery, released
the first batch of sockeye for the season.
The tiny silver streaks were about an inch and a half in length and
weighed out at 5 fish to 1 gram. Daves
dips the fish in sieves from the trough and weighs them to judge how many he
is releasing at a time. He said that
6¼ million were released last year.
Mortality rate is extremely high with thousands lost over the dam and
to birds and other predators in the lake.
Only about one in a thousand survives to hit open water.
Sockeye Salmon Fish Issue
The mortality rate is
shocking. If the figures given in this
article are true only 6,250 fish out of 6,250,000 survive to reach the Skagit River.
There has got to be a better way.