monitoring salmon recovery progress

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Salmon and Salmon Recovery Glossary

Many of the words used to describe salmon habitat, biology, and the structure of salmon recovery can be confusing. This section is dedicated to defining terms that are often questioned by readers.

TermDefinition

  • Abundance


    In the context of salmon recovery, abundance refers to the number of adult fish returning to spawn (either total number of fish spawning naturally, or number of wild-born fish spawning naturally), and is one key piece of information that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses to evaluate salmon recovery status.

  • Adaptive management


    Adaptive management in salmon recovery planning is a method of decision-making in the face of uncertainty. A plan for monitoring, evaluation, and feedback is incorporated into an overall implementation plan so that the results of actions can become feedback on design and implementation of future actions.

  • Anadromous fish


    Species that are hatched in freshwater, migrate to and mature in salt-water, and return to freshwater to spawn.

  • Armoring


    The practice of protecting shorelines from erosion using physical structures, such as concrete bulkheads or large boulders.

  • Co-management


    Salmon recovery in Washington State is managed cooperatively in a unique government-to-government relationship. One government is the State of Washington. The other governments are Indian tribes whose rights were established in treaties signed with the federal government in the 1850s. In those treaties, the tribes agreed to allow the peaceful settlement of much of western Washington, and provided the land to do so, in exchange for their continued right to fish, gather shellfish, hunt and exercise other sovereign rights. A 1974 federal (U.S. v. Washington) court case (decided by U.S. District Court Judge George Boldt) re-affirmed the tribe’s rights to harvest salmon and steelhead and established them as co-managers of Washington fisheries.

  • Conservation district


    Washington conservation districts help people take care of everything they can see outside their windows – from farms, to forests, to urban yards, to rivers, lakes, and coastline. For more than 75 years, they have served as trusted, non-regulatory local partners helping people care for natural resources. Every one of Washington’s 39 counties is represented by at least one conservation district, and their staff stand ready to help. Districts offer a range of voluntary services including assistance with: erosion control, habitat restoration, manure management, wildfire prevention and mitigation, stormwater management, forest plans, irrigation efficiency, noxious weed control, fish barrier removals, livestock stream crossings, and more.

  • Distribution


    This is the distribution of fish among and within habitats they use throughout their life cycle. Habitat is needed for all life stages in a distribution that reduces risk of mortality from catastrophic events, but close enough to allow fish to connect with one another.

  • Diversity


    This is variation and includes such things as genetics, life histories, physical traits of the fish (size, age, timing of the runs, migration patterns) and influences of hatchery fish. We need to avoid further reductions in natural diversity so that fish can survive short- and long-term changes in the environment.

  • DNR


    Washington State Department of Natural Resources

  • Effectiveness monitoring


    Monitoring is set up to test cause-and-effect hypotheses about recovery actions: Did the management actions achieve their direct effect or goal? For example, did fencing a riparian area to exclude livestock result in recovery of riparian vegetation?

  • Endangered species


    A species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

  • ESA


    The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

  • Estuary


    A semi-enclosed coastal body of water that has a free connection with the open sea and where fresh water derived from land drainage (usually mouths of rivers) is mixed with seawater; often subject to tidal action and cyclic fluctuations in salinity.

  • Fish-in/fish-out monitoring


    Counting and tracking of adult salmon coming in to spawn (fish in) and the number of juvenile or young fish headed out to sea (fish out). Measuring this transition tells us the extent that freshwater habitat and marine habitat affect the salmon numbers overall.

  • Fish passage barrier


    A barrier that prevents salmon from reaching spawning habitat. Examples include inadequate culverts beneath road crossings and deteriorated fish ladders at dams.

  • Floodplain


    Lowland areas that are periodically inundated by the lateral overflow of streams and rivers.

  • Four Hs


    The four Hs – Habitat, harvest, hatcheries, and hydropower – are key elements affecting salmon and for achieving salmon recovery goals. They provide a framework for statewide plans and actions.

  • Growth Management Act


    Passed by the Washington Legislature in 1990, the Growth Management Act was enacted in response to rapid population growth and concerns with suburban sprawl, environmental protection, quality of life, and related issues. It requires the fastest growing counties and the cities within them to plan extensively around a dozen state goals including concentrating urban growth, transportation, and property rights. The Act is codified in many chapters but primarily in Chapter 36.70A Revised Code of Washington.

  • GSRO


    Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office

  • Habitat


    The place, including physical and biotic conditions, where a plant or animal usually occurs.

  • Habitat Work Schedule (HWS)


    The Habitat Work Schedule is the mapping and project tracking tool that allows salmon recovery lead entities to share habitat protection and restoration projects with funders and the public. It helps lead entities relate proposed, current, and past project achievements to salmon recovery goals.

  • Harvest


    The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in cooperation with tribal co-managers, federal agencies, and other states, sets rates for harvest and conservation of salmon and steelhead populations listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. These rates are specific to each fish population and limit the impact on each population. Harvest management strategies have focused on achieving sustainable fishing opportunities while meeting population-specific conservation objectives.

  • Hatchery fish


    Fish bred and reared in hatcheries. Like streams, hatcheries provide the necessary conditions for young salmon to live, including reliable food, water, space, and shelter.

  • High level indicator


    High level indicators are simple, brief, and clear ways to track progress of salmon recovery. Information from these indicators is used to communicate results of actions and adjust recovery plan implementation.

  • Indicator


    A variable used to forecast the value or change in the value of another variable.

  • In-stream flow


    Identifies a specific stream flow level, measured in cubic feet per second, (cfs) at a specific location on a stream. The weather causes natural flow variations throughout the year so an in-stream flow is a range, usually changing month-to-month.

  • Lead entity


    Lead entities are local, watershed-based organizations that develop local salmon habitat recovery strategies and then recruit organizations to do habitat protection and restoration projects that will implement the strategies. Lead entities perform an essential role in salmon recovery in Washington State.

  • Limiting factor


    Physical, biological, or chemical features (e.g., inadequate spawning habitat, high water temperature, insufficient prey) experienced by fish that result in reductions in viable salmonid population parameters (abundance, productivity, spatial structure, and diversity). Key limiting factors are those with the greatest impacts on a population’s ability to reach a desired status.

  • Metric


    A metric is something that quantifies a characteristic of a situation or process; for example, the number of natural-origin salmon returning to spawn to a specific location is a metric for population abundance.

  • Nearshore


    The nearshore includes shallow saltwater, wetlands, estuaries, beaches, and bluffs. Nearshore plants provide important food and refuge for young salmon as they migrate from rivers to the sea.

  • NOAA


    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • Productivity


    The average number of surviving offspring per parent. Productivity is used as an indicator of a population’s ability to sustain itself or its ability to rebound from low numbers. The terms “population growth rate” and “population productivity” are interchangeable when referring to measures of population production over an entire life cycle. Can be expressed as the number of recruits (adults) per spawner or the number of smolts per spawner.
  • RCO

    Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office

  • Recovery plan


    A plan that is developed by state, tribal, regional, or local planning entities to address recovery of a species. These plans are being developed by a number of entities throughout the region to address the federal Endangered Species Act as well as state, tribal, and local mandates and recovery needs. The Act requires that recovery plans, to the extent practicable, incorporate (1) objective, measurable criteria that, when met, would result in a determination that the species is no longer threatened or endangered; (2) site-specific management actions that may be necessary to achieve the plan’s goals; and (3) estimates of the time required and costs to implement recovery actions.

  • Redd


    A nest constructed by female salmonids in streambed gravels where eggs are fertilized and deposited.

  • Regional salmon recovery organizations


    The federal Endangered Species Act requires the federal government to develop recovery plans for salmon determined to be at risk of extinction. In Washington State, seven regional organizations formed to develop recovery plans and coordinate implementation. Regional organizations are made up of local, state, and federal agencies; tribes; citizens; and others interested in salmon recovery.

  • Riparian area

    Area with distinctive soils and vegetation between a stream or other body of water and the adjacent upland.

  • Salmonid


    Fish of the family Salmonidae, including salmon, trout, chars, grayling, and whitefish. In general usage, the term usually refers to salmon and steelhead trout.

  • Shoreline Management Act


    Washington’s Shoreline Management Act was passed by the state Legislature in 1971 and adopted by voters in 1972. The overarching goal of the Act is “to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.”

  • Threatened species


    A species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

  • Watershed


    An area of land that drains into a single outlet and is separated from other drainage basins by a divide.

  • Watershed Planning Act


    Passed by the Washington Legislature in 1998, the Act sets the framework for developing and implementing local solutions to water supply issues in partnership with the State of Washington. The law enables citizens to assess the status of water resources in their watersheds and determine how to manage them. The plans must balance competing resource demands. They also must assess water supply and use within the watershed and recommend long-term strategies to provide enough water for fish and out-of-stream needs.

  • WDFW


    Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

  • Wild stock


    A fish population or fish stock that is sustained by natural spawning and rearing in the natural habitat regardless of origin.

  • WRIA


    Water Resource Inventory Areas. Formalized under Washington Administrative Code 173-500-040 and authorized under the Water Resources Act of 1971 (Revised Code of Washington 90.54), WRIAs are administrative and planning boundaries. The original WRIA boundary agreements and judgments were reached jointly by Washington’s natural resource agencies (Ecology, Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife) in 1970 and now are developed and managed by the Department of Ecology.