LOCAL NEWS

International coalition purchases mining rights to ‘ecologically sensitive’ Skagit River headwaters

Jan 24, 2022, 5:23 AM
skagit...
A view of the Skagit River Valley (Credit Tim Gage via Flickr)
(Credit Tim Gage via Flickr)

Ending a years-long battle between environmentalists and mineral rights stakeholders in British Columbia, the mining rights to a 14,000 acre swath of forest at the headwaters of the Skagit River — previously slated for gold, silver, and copper search and extraction — have been surrendered to the province of B.C.

The government of B.C. announced last week that it had acquired the mineral rights to the Silverdaisy area of the Canadian Skagit headwaters from Imperial Metals for a reported sum of $24 million Canadian dollars. The buyout is represented by a coalition of stakeholders, including the state of Washington ($4.5 million has been earmarked for protection of the “Skagit River from future development” in Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2022 budget to the Legislature).

The mining company has held the mineral rights to the area since 1988. Much of the area is a part of Skagit Valley Provincial Park and protected, although the “donut hole” stretch of the Silverdaisy watershed in question was earmarked for mining under subsequent mineral rights agreements in 1995.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has long held that the Silverdaisy watershed must be protected from logging and mineral extraction to preserve the region’s grizzly bears and endangered northern spotted owls. UBCIC, in partnership with Washington Wild — a forest conservationist nonprofit — and a Washington state congressional delegation began calling on B.C. to suspend logging operations in the area in 2019.

“We breathe a collective sigh of relief as the signed MOA [Memorandum of Agreement with Imperial Metals] ends the endangerment of vulnerable wildlife populations in the Upper Skagit region and sends a clear message that corporate interests will not be prioritized over the invaluable, diverse ecosystems within the Skagit River Watershed,” wrote Grand Chief Stewart Phillip in a news release.

The Skagit River is also a crucial spawning ground for the Puget Sound’s salmon populations. Its protection is a focal point of Gov. Inslee’s proposed $187 million spending package intended to preserve the state’s 14 endangered salmon species.

“This agreement will help protect our natural environment for generations to come,” wrote Gov. Inslee in a news release. “The Skagit River is one of the most diverse salmon habitats in Washington state, including for Chinook, which are essential to the survival of the revered southern resident orca. This agreement is a shining example of the importance of cross-border collaboration when confronted with challenges that know no borders.”

The agreement was brokered by the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC), a binational coalition from B.C. and the city of Seattle charged with preserving the Upper Skagit watershed.

“Protecting the Skagit River by extinguishing these mining tenures is a historic step forward in the stewardship of the Upper Skagit watershed,” wrote a SEEC representative. “Protecting this sensitive and diverse ecosystem with its significant fish and wildlife populations starts at the headwaters to the Skagit River within the Upper Skagit.”

“We commend the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, a model for transboundary collaboration for the past 35 years, for their vision and persistence in retiring these mineral tenures so that the Province can permanently protect the Silverdaisy area,” wrote Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell in a news release.

Local News

SDOT Light Rail Ped...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Pedestrian struck, injured by Link light rail train in south Seattle

A pedestrian was struck and injured by a Link light rail train Wednesday afternoon in south Seattle.
1 day ago
(Photo courtesy of King County)...
Frank Sumrall

King County executive initiates plan to conserve and save the region’s wilderness

King County executive announced a plan to protect 65,000 acres of forests, farmland, and greenspace, raising property taxes in the process.
1 day ago
drought...
MyNorthwest Staff

Drought may impact most of Pacific Northwest this summer

Drought is expected to impact much of the Pacific Northwest this summer, impacting areas throughout eastern Washington, southern Oregon and southern Idaho.
1 day ago
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

SPD report discovers 80% of 911 calls were for non-criminal events

After reviewing more than 1.2 million 911 calls from 2017 to 2019, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) found 79.7% of calls were for non-criminal events.
1 day ago
...
KIRO 7 News Staff

9-year-old boy shot by younger brother in Federal Way

A 9-year-old boy was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after being shot by his younger brother in Federal Way.
1 day ago
The US government will fly in baby formula on commercial planes contracted by the military in an ai...
Heather Bosch

A guide to locate baby formula from Washington’s Department of Health

Washington's Department of Health has put together a list of resources to help find nutritious food to feed your newborn.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
International coalition purchases mining rights to ‘ecologically sensitive’ Skagit River headwaters