Gilligan Creek Habitat Restoration to Start in Skagit County

Seattle City Light will close the mouth of Gilligan Creek in Skagit County to vehicle access March 30 to restore native plants and improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

Seattle City Light will close the mouth of Gilligan Creek in Skagit County to vehicle access March 30 to restore native plants and improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

A Gilligan Creek riparian area targeted for restoration.

The utility purchased the property in 2002 for the protection of salmon habitat and has been working with the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group to improve that habitat. Work will include removal of invasive noxious weeds, decommissioning of roads and ATV trails, construction of a footpath and planting native plant species.

Vehicles will no longer be allowed into the area to protect the stream bank and allow native plants to mature, maximizing the salmon and wildlife habitat value at the site. The area will remain open to non-motorized recreational activities like walking, bird watching, and fishing. A trail will be created on site in order to provide access to the river. 

Noxious weed control will include the removal of a large area of knotweed, an invasive plant that grows rapidly, chokes out native plants and does not provide any habitat benefit to fish, particularly salmon. Knotweed can spread easily when pieces break off and by rooted portions washing downstream.  Vehicle traffic is particularly effective at spreading knotweed and also damages native plants. Other noxious weeds on site also will be removed.

Thick knotweed near Gilligan Creek.

Native planting will be done in areas where roads have been decommissioned and noxious weeds removed.  Native plants are important to wildlife, salmon, and the river’s overall condition.  Native plants improve salmon habitat by providing shade and cover along the river and providing a food source.  Native plants also provide food and cover for birds and wildlife. 

A volunteer planting day is scheduled April 11 for anyone interested in helping with the site’s restoration. For more information about the planting day, contact Denise Krownbell at (206) 615-1127 or at denise.krownbell@seattle.gov.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States.  It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.  City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.