I could not help but be intrigued by the story about the “redo” of Wiley Slough dike.

Elevating the dike by 3 feet, for 5,000 feet, at a cost of $7.4 million is a lot of money, especially for something that has a very nebulous return on investment.

Skagit County has more than 30 miles of the dike that needs elevating, and 3 feet of rising is not enough.

I hate to be the bearer of realistic news, but we cannot afford these bandages when a tourniquet is in order.

The last dike that was built from scratch cost more than $10 million per mile, again, with a very nebulous return on investment.

Of the 367,000 chinook fry, fingerlings and smolts, that might inhabit this new habitat on their out-migration, we would feel fortunate to have 1,000 return as adults.

Doing the math on creating a sustainable salmon system is enough to scratch a hole in our heads, especially when a 3-foot dike increase would be lost in a heartbeat if we experience an earthquake and tsunami.

To have half a chance of surviving such an event, our dikes would have to be 12 feet higher than they are.

Some of us are more financially conservative than to think we can just pile up dirt and rock without having it produce an income.

If we think it is a good return on investment the way we’ve been building and maintaining this flood control structure, I’d like to hear that argument.

Glen Johnson

La Conner

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