Regional overview

Juvenile steelhead in Puget Sound

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Puget Sound: Key takeaways

1Puget Sound is home to 59 populations of Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout listed under the Endangered Species Act, most of which continue to decline.

2Our greatest challenge is balancing the needs of the more than 4 million people living in the Puget Sound region while also protecting critical salmon habitat.

3Salmon recovery is possible if we can protect habitat, accelerate habitat restoration, secure enough funding, improve monitoring, and better integrate habitat, harvest, and hatchery management.

Visit the Regional Recovery Organization’s Website:

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2016 progress and challenges

Progress

  • In 2016 alone, major projects restored more than 75 acres of estuarine habitat
  • Removal of permitted shoreline armoring outpaced the rate of permitted new armoring in 2014 for the first time
  • Since 2007, the Washington State Legislature has allocated $179 million to the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund, or about 15 percent of the total annual need for Puget Sound salmon recovery

Challenges

  • Habitat protection remains a major challenge. The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s State of Our Watersheds report details habitat problems in Puget Sound
  • The impacts of climate change and appropriate responses need to be better understood
  • Continued research is needed to find out why young steelhead and Chinook die at higher rates in Puget Sound than in other areas of the state
  • Securing funding through the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration fund remains very difficult, and more sustainable funding sources have yet to be found

About our region

Among the largest estuaries in the United States, Puget Sound is deep and vast, a complex ecosystem encompassing mountains, farmlands, cities, rivers, forests, and wetlands. Humans have long relied on the Puget Sound watershed for healthy food and clean water and the other services an intact ecosystem provides, like reducing the impact of droughts and floods. Puget Sound supports a large part of our state’s economy and provides vital recreational, spiritual, and other benefits essential to quality of life. But Puget Sound is in trouble. Stormwater pollution and habitat destruction continue to degrade the ecosystem, threatening the well-being of the ecosystem and the humans that occupy it. Restoring self-sustaining, harvestable salmon runs to the region protects humans as well as fish, and honors tribal treaty rights.

Salmon recovery stories

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Puget Sound salmon recovery region of Washington state