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Subject:   Seattle City Light Acquiring Important Fish, Wildlife Habitat
For Immediate Release:   
12/21/2007  12:57:00 PM
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Boulder Creek Land Includes Old-growth Forest, Riparian Areas, Fish Spawning Grounds

SEATTLE - Important habitat for salmon, bull trout, steelhead and other endangered or threatened species will be preserved by Seattle City Light's $1 million purchase of 1,080 acres in the Skagit River watershed, which is scheduled to close today, Dec. 21.

"The Boulder Creek acquisition represents an important milestone in achieving the long-term recovery goals established under the salmon recovery action plan implemented by the Skagit Watershed Council," Seattle City Light Director of Environmental Affairs Lynn Best said.

The Boulder Creek property is the largest land acquisition by the utility since the 1990s. The purchase was completed in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Nature Conservancy identified the property as an opportunity for conservation and the Fish and Wildlife Service provided a $742,000 Endangered Species Program grant to the Department of Natural Resources for the acquisition. The state will hold a conservation easement on the property to guarantee the land will be preserved. Seattle City Light contributed about $300,000.

As part of the matching requirements of the grant, the Department of Natural Resources and Seattle City Light also are dedicating about 600 acres of other land they already control to the conservation project.

The land, located along the lower Cascade River about 5 miles east of Marblemount contains more than 200 acres of old-growth forest that provide habitat for marbled murrelets and northern spotted owls. Boulder Creek is a major tributary to the lower Cascade River, which provides important migration, spawning, and rearing habitat for chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, as well as foraging and roosting habitat for bald eagles, northern spotted owl and marbled murrelets.

The acquisition will protect high quality habitat for bull trout and steelhead in Boulder Creek. More importantly, the long-term conservation protection of the Boulder Creek watershed by SCL will improve water quality conditions and reduce sediment loads in the Cascade River, which is one of the most important areas for chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout in the Skagit River basin.



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