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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), continued to push her bill designating Illabot Creek in Skagit County as a Wild and Scenic River at a Senate National Parks Subcommittee hearing.  The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell and introduced in the House by Congressman Rick Larsen, will protect the free-flowing character of Illabot Creek, an important habitat for threatened wild Chinook salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other wildlife, while maintaining recreational opportunities such as hunting and fishing.

“We take our natural resources very seriously in Washington state, and this bill takes us another step forward toward protecting a pristine and delicate habitat for future generations,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Preserving Illabot Creek is vitally important to the many fish and wildlife that depend on it to survive, and it will ensure that this incredible land is protected for hunters, fishermen, and families to enjoy. I thank Congressman Larsen for his strong work on this issue in the House, and I look forward to continuing to work with him to protect Washington state’s amazing natural resources.”

 “Our Wild and Scenic bill will protect the critical habitat of Illabot Creek while preserving recreation opportunities for future generations,” said Congressman Rick Larsen. “I thank Senator Murray, my partner on this issue in the Senate, for her work to protect Illabot Creek. Our legislation has strong local support in Skagit County, and Senator Murray and I are building support here in Congress to get the job done. Today’s Senate hearing is an important step toward reaching that goal.”

The House held a hearing on the bill earlier this month.

Senator Murray and Congressman Larsen introduced this bill on March 18th, and it enjoys broad local support from elected officials, environmentalists, fishermen, agriculture, and other stakeholders.

Read more information on Illabot Creek and the legislation that would protect it.

Senator Murray submitted the following statement for the record at today’s hearing:

“Chairman Udall and Ranking Member Burr, I would like to thank you for holding today’s hearing on S. 635, legislation which would amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate 14.3 miles of Illabot Creek in Skagit County, Washington, as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

“This legislation is the result of a collaborative process, and is supported by a wide range of community stakeholders including local elected officials, environmentalists, fishermen, and agriculture organizations.

“Illabot Creek flows from an elevation of almost 7,500 feet in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the Cascade mountains into the upper Skagit River. 

“Salmon are a way of life in Washington state and their protection is critical to our heritage, our culture, and our economy. The creek’s free-flowing waters provide critical spawning habitat for the wild Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout, all federally listed as threatened, as well as pink, coho, sockeye and chum salmon. The mature and old growth forest along the creek also provides valuable habitat for many wildlife species including bald eagles. 

“I want to thank Congressman Rick Larsen, who led this effort by introducing legislation in the House.  I would also like to thank Senator Maria Cantwell, who is a co-sponsor of the bill introduced here in the Senate.  I look forward to working with the Committee and my colleagues to protect this crucial habitat for salmon, bull trout, eagles and other species while preserving recreational opportunities, such as hunting and fishing, for future generations.

“Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, thank you again for holding this hearing on S. 635, and for the opportunity to provide this testimony.”