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Festival of the River Education and Outreach Activities

The mission of the Festival is to help people who live and work in the Stillaguamish Watershed and surrounding regions understand how their actions can help make their environment cleaner for people, fish, and wildlife.

We accomplish this mission using a variety of educational displays from organizations in the Puget Sound, from the Snohomish Conservation District to the Puget Sound Action Team. As a broader understanding of watershed dynamics is established, individual behavior will become more sensitive to water quality issues.

With the 1999 Endangered Species listing of the Puget Sound Chinook salmon, (Oncorhyncus tshawytscha), it becomes more important than ever that we modify our behaviors to protect the best remaining habitat, and restore what we can. By combining environmental and cultural education with a festival atmosphere, we hope to attract a large cross-section of people from the surrounding areas.

We encourage interactive displays of diverse topics to capture the interest of both youth and adults: wildlife, habitats, energy, science, and many more.

The Festival provides an excellent opportunity to talk with the local community about impacts and solutions to the following issues:

1. Salmon population declines, including the 1999 Endangered Species Act listing of the Puget Sound Chinook salmon and bull-trout, and coho salmon on the State Species of Concern List.

2. Poor water quality. The Department of Ecology has reported numerous water quality problems in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports published in 2004 & 2005.

3. Toxic chemicals in the water and sediments in our watersheds and the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin estuary.

4. Wildlife and wildlife habitat decline throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The Festival will educate the public on the importance of improving water quality from head waters to the estuary, and restoring salmon & wildlife populations in the Stillaguamish watershed (Click on any of the images below for a larger picture). It will also allow agency staff to coordinate activities, reducing overlap and potentially workloads.

Photo gallery here

Ultimately, the effectiveness of the Festival will be on the overall improvement of water quality and the recovery of depressed fish stocks and improvements in wildlife habitat in the basin. As people begin to realize how past activities, as well as how their current lifestyles and work habits affect their watershed, we should begin to see a positive change in behavior, leading to improved water quality and increased fish numbers. It will be a dynamic process and hopefully will find its place in the local education system. Educating children on the importance of water quality and healthy fish and wildlife populations is essential to any meaningful attempt to return natural functions to the Stillaguamish watershed.

Photo Gallery Here

If you are interested in establishing an education/outreach booth at this year's festival, please complete and submit a registration form. There is no fee for outreach booths and some equipment can be provided.

Stillaguamish Watershed Background: The Stillaguamish River Basin is located in northern Snohomish and southeastern Skagit Counties. The drainage area of the basin is approximately 684 square miles, and includes more than 1,000 miles of river and tributaries. The local communities within the watershed include Arlington, Darrington, Stanwood, Granite Falls, and Silvana. The Stillaguamish River is impacted by numerous land use activities throughout its journey to the Puget Sound. Timber harvest and road-building in the headwaters, have created 75% of the 1,080 landslides in the basin, forcing the river to transport tremendous amounts of sediment.

The river then flows into a lower gradient environment dominated by commercial and hobby farms and rural residential tracts. These activities add more sediment, stormwater, and bacterial contaminants. Historical diking has cut-off much of the side channel habitat needed by salmon for rearing. Lastly, is the impact of urban sprawl. Increased stormwater runoff from acres of impervious surface along with bacterial contamination from failing septic systems and sewage treatment and surface water runoff outflows also impact the River prior to its entering Port Susan.

Primary host and sponsore of the Festival is the Stillaguamish Tribe.
Additional festival sponsors include:


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