The Smith Island Restoration Project is part of the Snohomish County’s Sustainable Lands Strategy, which is balancing the need to restore vital salmon habitat while also protecting the viability of local agriculture. Farming and salmon production play a key role in the history, culture and economy of Snohomish County and both are protected through sustainable land projects.
According to Washington’s Government Land Office Survey of 1860, Smith Island was once very productive estuary for juvenile salmon. However, the land was later converted for farm use. Over the past several decades, the viability of the agricultural land diminished due to several factors, including ground subsidence and deterioration of drainage infrastructure. There have also been several incidences of erosion along the existing levee which have required continued maintenance. These factors aided in the Smith Island site selection.