Fertile soil vital to grow food

Snohomish County is planning on breaching the dikes on Smith Island, located within the Snohomish River delta, and converting 400 acres of prime agricultural land to tidal estuary. Smith Island has been farmed for about 100 years. The soil there is a Puget silty clay loam. This deep soil has great tilth and is sought out by farmers and gardeners alike. The potential annual production that will be lost forever will be 2,500 tons of hay. or 40,000 bushels of wheat.

Why is Snohomish County so compelled to convert the fertile Snohomish River Valley soils from agriculture to native habitat? And why is it that the county is willing to spend $50,000 on each acre that it converts? Additional native habitat does not necessarily mean more fish. Several similar projects of converting agricultural land to native habitat within a couple of miles of this site have cost millions of dollars without enhancing fish. It appears these projects have resulted in very expensive ponds that may have been appreciated more by the wildlife when the land was in agriculture.

Please urge your Snohomish County Council to preserve agriculture on Smith Island. Lets start protecting and preserving the fertile soils within the Snohomish River Valley for agriculture and for future generations to come. The rich fertile valley soils are needed to grow locally produced food.

Dan Bartelheimer

Snohomish County Farm Bureau