Skagit PUD Wins 'Creative Solutions Award' for Watershed Protection Program

Posted Thursday, October 24, 2019

Skagit PUD received the “Creative Solutions Award” at the Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council’s (IACC) annual conference held in Wenatchee on October 22-24. The award recognized the PUD’s stewardship efforts on the Gilligan Creek Property Protection Project.

The IACC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Washington communities identify and obtain resources they need to develop, improve and maintain infrastructure.

BACKGROUND

For years, Skagit PUD looked for a way to improve water quality protection for its source water. Thanks in part to a Source Water Protection grant from the Washington State Department of Health Office of Drinking Water, the PUD purchased 250 acres of critical watershed area around Gilligan Creek for $1.5 million.

The PUD provides drinking water to over 70,000 people in Skagit County, and serves three cities as well as suburban and rural areas. The Gilligan Creek area of the Cultus Mountain Watershed supplies 45% of the PUD’s source water for its Judy Reservoir Water System. Until recently, all the property around Gilligan Creek was owned by timber companies.

In 2012, the PUD went through a comprehensive updating of its watershed control program and determined that finding a way to protect the water quality of this stream was critical to the success of the Judy System. Recent increases in the rates of logging and road construction led to the concept that buying land near the area where water is withdrawn for the water system would work wonders to protect the long-term success of the Judy System.

“After years of hard work, this 250-acre forest at Gilligan Creek will be used to protect the quality of drinking water for Skagit PUD’s customers for many years to come,” explained Engineering Supervisor Bill Trueman who headed the project.