Hood Canal Salmon Recovery Region
Fish Listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Region
- Hood Canal summer chum: Listed as threatened in 1999
- Chinook: Listed as threatened in 1999
- Steelhead: Listed as threatened in 2007
- Bull Trout: Listed as threatened in 1999
Major Factors Limiting Fish Recovery
- Degraded floodplain and channel structure
- Degraded nearshore, marine, and estuarine conditions
- Riparian degradation and loss of in-river woody material
- Degraded water quality and temperature
- Impaired stream flows
- Excessive sediment
Summer chum salmon are on the rebound in Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and there is reason to believe they can be recovered.
Fish populations had declined steadily from the 1970s into the early 1990s from over-fishing and habitat degradation. Harvest managers came together to set a sustainable harvest rate for summer chum, and ended directed commercial fishing. Salmon enhancement advocates worked to produce more native summer chum with short-term, recovery hatcheries. Fish populations grew, and summer chum salmon were reintroduced back into the watersheds where they had become extinct. Focused and significant habitat restoration and protection efforts began.
The number of returning summer chum responded with a surge, possibly accelerated by good ocean conditions. Unfortunately, in some cases, as hatchery work sunset, summer chum salmon runs declined, although still healthier than recent history. The most likely conclusion is that habitat conditions are not healthy enough to meet abundance and productivity goals, requiring increased habitat intervention if we are to save Hood Canal summer chum.
Scores of organizations are working together for the sake of the salmon, Hood Canal, and our community. Our focus is on maintaining effective harvest and hatchery practices while increasing habitat improvements where we know we can make a difference. We also are working to understand what other actions must be taken now and in the future to maintain this unique resource as part of our way of life.
Salmon Recovery is Good for our Economy, Communities, and Watersheds
Salmon are a centerpiece of thriving Hood Canal communities. Recovery of Hood Canal salmon also provides many benefits beyond the fish themselves. As salmon habitat work in Hood Canal continues, Hood Canal’s water and habitat quality also will improve. Clean water is not only good for salmon, but also for Hood Canal and human health, particularly for shellfish production and the shellfish industry. As salmon and shellfish production increases, the recreation and tourism industries benefit, and sustainable employment and wages benefit.
Likewise, salmon recovery requires conserving our wild and working forests in Hood Canal. Without these forests, water quality diminishes, summer water quantity in rivers and streams decreases, and winter flooding increases. These not only affect salmon, but also affect human safety, and the water quality of Hood Canal itself. Salmon recovery should benefit wild and working forests when managed cooperatively.
As natural resource industries grow and stabilize, our Hood Canal communities continue to experience a high quality of life, preserving and improving Hood Canal’s cultural heritage. Salmon recovery becomes watershed and community recovery.
Salmon Recovery Organization
The Hood Canal Coordinating Council is the regional recovery organization for summer chum salmon recovery. It is a watershed‐based council of governments comprised of Jefferson, Kitsap, and Mason Counties, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and the Skokomish Tribe. The Hood Canal Coordinating Council also includes several federal and state agencies as well as multiple non-governmental organizations and community groups as ex-officio, nonvoting members. The council’s functions include coordinating activities of its members and other public entities and Indian tribes in efforts to protect and restore the Hood Canal watershed. In addition to regional roles, the Hood Canal Coordinating Council Lead Entity committees work with the North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity to develop project lists, solicit sponsors to implement projects, and evaluate and rank project proposals that benefit summer chum salmon.
Salmon recovery cannot be accomplished by any one citizen, organization or government agency, but instead takes a community of supporters. The The Hood Canal Coordinating Council’s governments and ex-officio members are important in this effort, as well as many others. The The Hood Canal Coordinating Council would particularly like to thank the managers of the fisheries resource (Skokomish, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribes, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and National Marine Fisheries Service), hatchery program managers (such as the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, Long Live the Kings, and North Olympic Salmon Coalition), and the scores of local habitat project sponsors and resource stewardship partners that are out on the ground making a difference every day. A comprehensive list of our partners can be found at this link.
The Hood Canal Coordinating Council is also the Local Integrating Organization for the Hood Canal Action Area as part of the Puget Sound Partnership’s organizing structure. It also serves as the management board for Hood Canal Aquatic Rehabilitation and as coordinator among watershed groups for their plan implementation.
Recovery Plan Status
- The Hood Canal and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca Summer Chum Salmon Recovery Plan as adopted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2007.
- Chinook and steelhead plans: see the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Region (Hyperlink to region)
- Federal status review for the draft bull trout recovery plan underway
- Timeframe: 10 years
- Estimated cost: $252 million
- Plan Implementation: 3-year Schedule identifies $84 million in habitat project needs.
The Hood Canal Coordinating Council, working with partners, community groups and citizens, will advocate for and implement regionally and locally appropriate actions to protect and enhance Hood Canal’s environmental and economic health.