The state Department of Fish & Wildlife plans to build a parking lot at its 100-acre Samish River Unit to improve access to the recreation site.

The state Department of Ecology and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are reviewing the project application to ensure it complies with state and federal clean water standards and coastal protections.

The agencies are taking public comment by mail and email through July 2. Comments must include reference number WDFW, NWS-2020-157.

A parking lot would reduce the number of vehicles parked on the sides of Bayview Edison and Samish Island roads during popular fishing, waterfowl hunting and wildlife viewing seasons, and prevent conflicts with neighboring property owners, according to Fish & Wildlife project documents.

If approved, Fish & Wildlife would like to start construction as early as August. Bridgette Glass of Fish & Wildlife said the lot would accommodate 30 vehicles.

The work would include filling in 0.41 of an acre of wetland off Bayview Edison Road west of where the road crosses the Samish River. It would mean bringing in 981 cubic yards of material to build up the gravel lot, installing an entrance ramp, culvert and information signs, and putting a portable toilet at the site.

Fish & Wildlife would mitigate for the filled-in wetland by creating a new wetland twice the size at its nearby Samish Unit, a 409-acre expanse of land along Padilla Bay off Samish Island Road.

Comments including name, address and phone number can be emailed to the Army Corps at pamela.sanguinetti@usace.army.mil or Ecology at ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov.

Comments can be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Attn: Pamela Sanguinetti, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, 98124-3755, or Washington State Department of Ecology, Attn: Federal Permit Coordinator, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, 98504-7600.

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

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