A group of farms in Skagit Valley has agreed to pay $138,500 toward salmon restoration efforts in the Skagit area as part of a settlement agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology over unauthorized irrigation.
In April, Ecology issued a $267,000 penalty jointly to Acme Properties LLC, Junior Farms LLC, and Skagit Farmland LLC for unauthorized irrigation of 348 acres of vegetable crops in the lower Skagit and Samish watersheds. Since then, the group has taken steps to obtain new water rights, changed its existing water rights, and halted non-permitted water use.
The reduced penalty amount will fund salmon recovery efforts by the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group, a nonprofit that works with landowners, Tribes, local governments and conservation groups. Ecology has the authority to accept or reject proposed projects under the settlement.