County seeks more study of Smith Island salmon project

EVERETT — Snohomish County on Tuesday withdrew the final environmental study issued earlier this month for an $18 million project to restore salmon habitat on Smith Island.

The county made the decision after deciding the June 10 environmental impact statement would benefit from more technical details, surface water management director Debbie Terwilleger said. The county plans to reissue the study next month when it seeks its first major permit required to construct the project.

The county withdrew the study after the local diking district and the county Farm Bureau appealed it.

The Smith Island project is regarded by fish biologists as a top priority for chinook salmon recovery.

It involves breaching an old dike and building a new one, farther from the water. That would flood more than 300 acres of zoned agricultural land, which some farming groups believe should be protected. At least two local businesses also are concerned about flood damage and other side effects from the change in water flows.

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