A $5.4 million grant has been awarded to fund eight Skagit County projects that will remove barriers to salmon migration, and conserve and increase fish habitat, the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Partnership recently announced.

The Skagit Watershed Council submitted the projects to the funding board for review.

The projects, which are planned for land as far west as Milltown Island and as far east as Pressentin Park, were drafted by the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, the Skagit Land Trust, the Skagit River System Cooperative and the state Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The Skagit River System Cooperative received the largest sum — $2.5 million for work on Illabot Creek near Rockport. The cooperative plans to remove a section of dike and build two bridges where Rockport-Cascade Road crosses the creek.

Funding for the grants comes from the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund and the state’s Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund, according to a state Recreation and Conservation Office news release.

“Without these projects, we would lose salmon entirely,” David Troutt, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, said in a news release. “ ... There is a lot of work left to do all around the state and we must continue these important investments if we are to return salmon to healthy and sustainable numbers.”

Also according to the news release, every $1 million spent on watershed restoration is expected to create 16.7 jobs and up to $2.6 million in economic activity.

For details on the eight projects, visit goskagit.com.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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