Mining Halted in Headwaters of the Skagit River

Featured image from Washington Wild via the Wilderness Committee.

Yesterday, conservationists opposing a proposed mine in the “donut hole” region of the Upper Skagit Watershed announced a huge victory as  “Imperial Metals will return to the province of B.C. all of its mining and related rights within a more than 14,000-acre area for a 24 million Canadian dollar ($19.1 million) buyout,” according to the Seattle Times.

The buyout was paid by a consortium of US and Canadian entities including funds from the Canadian Gov’t, various non-profits, and $4.5 million from Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee’s supplemental operating budget, although legislative approval is needed before those funds would be disbursed.

Diagram from the Seattle Times

A number of stakeholders in the Skagit Watershed are pleased with the news and for good reason, the Skagit and other PNW systems fisheries have been under threat for quite some time and any progress in favor of preserving the river is a big victory.

“This is an extraordinary conservation success that will benefit current and future generations of Coast Salish People, and we express our gratitude to all our conservation partners who advocated with us to protect our salmon and ecosystem forever,” Swinomish tribal chairman Steve Edwards said in a statement.

You can learn more about the victory and the other challenges facing the Skagit in this in-depth article from the Seattle Times


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From Washington Wild (@WA_Wild):

“WE DID IT! 🙌 After three years of fighting to stop a pending permit by Imperial Metals Corporation to begin mining in our beloved #Skagit River’s headwaters in British Columbia, we just received word that a settlement to HALT MINING has been reached.

In 2019, Imperial Metals Corporation filed a permit to begin mining in the “donut hole” of the unprotected Canadian headwaters of the Skagit River. Today — after a nearly three-year decision process — the British Columbia government, Imperial Metals, and the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC) announced a signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that stipulates the return of all mining and related rights in the Silver Daisy area of the Canadian Skagit Headwaters held by Imperial Metals back to the Province of British Columbia.

For the last three years, Washington Wid has led and coordinated an international coalition, which in recent months has grown to nearly 300 entities, including Tribes, First Nations, elected officials, local businesses, and conservation, recreation, and wildlife organizations.

Whether you took action through one of our grassroots alerts, made a donation to sustain this three-year initiative, signed onto a comment letter, or shared this issue via social media, we cannot thank you enough for helping #savetheskagit from a mining threat.

Washington Wild will now look to work with the coalition to ensure that the Skagit Headwaters donut hole is permanently protected as British Columbia park land.”

Featured image from the Wilderness Committee via Washington Wild.

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