Department of Ecology News Release - August 10, 2017

Skagit County farm, Ecology settle irrigation fine
$16,000 toward stream restoration in lieu of penalty

Drip irrigation at a blueberry farm that has settled with Ecology on a water rights case.
Drip irrigation at a blueberry farm that has settled with Ecology on a water rights case.

LYMAN – A blueberry farm on Cockreham Island along the Skagit River will restore habitat on a nearby stream under a settlement agreement with the Washington Department of Ecology.

U.S. Golden Eagle Farms appealed a $16,000 penalty from Ecology in 2016 for irrigating fields without proper authorization. Now the company will spend that same amount on two nearby restoration projects along a Skagit River tributary. U.S. Golden Eagle Farms will place large woody debris for fish habitat and plant native vegetation to improve the stream bank area.

In a separate action, the company last year secured proper authorization from Ecology to irrigate its acreage.

“This restoration work, combined with coming into compliance, brings this case to a positive and productive close,” said Tom Buroker, Ecology’s Northwest Regional Director. “We are encouraged that the farm is committing to protect fish habitat and water resources.”

Ecology oversees Washington’s water rights system to ensure that water is available for people, farms and fish.

Contacts:

Larry Altose, communications, 425-649-7009, @EcySeattle

Tom Buroker, regional director, Northwest Region, 426-649-7010