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Mitigation Purchase Clears Path for Airport Project

The Port of Skagit Board of Commissioners has approved the purchase of wetland mitigation credits so the port can improve the safety area on the west end of the main runway at Skagit Regional Airport.

The project, which will bring the Runway 11-29 safety area up to Federal Aviation Administration standards for Class DII aircraft (large business jets), includes clearing, grading and filling 12.35 acres to establish uniform elevation and provide access for vegetation management of the Runway Object Free Zone. It requires 5.83 acres of direct, permanent wetland fill and 2.17 acres of indirect wetland buffer impact.

To compensate for the wetland impact, the port will purchase 7.38 wetland mitigation bank credits from Skagit Environmental Bank, which submitted the low bid for mitigation credits. The FAA’s Airport Improvement Program will provide 90 percent of the funding for the credits, and the Washington State Department of Transportation will provide 5 percent matching funds. The port will pay the final 5 percent.

“This allows us to make better use of the airport property by fixing a hazard to flight safety,” said Port Commissioner Bill Shuler, president of the commission. “It’s also a good deal for the environment.”

With the commission’s action, which took place Feb. 10, the port is now awaiting permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing the purchase of mitigation credits for the project. Construction of the RSA is expected to begin late this summer, with an estimated cost of $1.8 million.

If you are a reporter seeking information about the Port of Skagit, please call Andrew Entrikin, community outreach administrator, at 360-757-0011 or email andrew@portofskagit.com