Where Swede Creek meets the Samish River northwest of Sedro-Woolley, the Skagit Land Trust’s Tope Ryan Conservation Area expanded in 2020.

A local property investment company donated 4.5 acres within the Samish River’s 100-year floodplain to the land trust. With that donation, the Tope Ryan property managed by the land trust now covers 20 acres.

The existing conservation area extends north of Grip Road. The newly added piece is south of the road and includes 900 feet of the Samish River just downstream from its confluence with Swede Creek.

Swede Creek and the adjoining section of river provide habitat important for young salmon, as well as adult salmon, steelhead and trout that return to the watershed to spawn.

“This stretch of water is of particular importance ... due to the habitat complexity at the site. The river features wide gravel bars and critical spawning grounds,” a land trust announcement states.

The Tope Ryan Conservation Area is also home to beavers, birds and wildflowers.

The land trust is working this month to add 3,500 trees and shrubs to further boost habitat at the conservation area. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily through Feb. 26.

“This is one of our largest volunteer plantings ever and we would love to have your help,” a land trust newsletter states.

Following the planting, the land trust will install an interpretive sign about the importance of restoring streamside vegetation, or riparian buffer.

The land trust requires volunteers get assigned a specific time slot in order to adhere to the organization’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

To sign up to volunteer, contact Volunteer and Education Programs Coordinator Stacy Dahl at stacyd@skagitlandtrust.org.

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

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