Engaging Communities and Implementing Recovery

Engaging Communities and Implementing Recovery

icon of 2 people holding handsWashington’s network of organizations is committed to recovering salmon. Today, collaboration and partnerships are necessities, and regional recovery organizations are the glue binding the network together and ensuring coordination. The challenge of recovering salmon spans jurisdictional boundaries and requires everyone working together to put salmon and nature first.


Indian Tribes

Indian tribes are foundational for salmon recovery in Washington. In addition to being sovereign nations with thousands of years of knowledge, expertise, and insight, tribes have led many of the largest restoration and recovery efforts in the state. Tribes serve on the local and regional recovery boards and work closely with partners and state agencies to advance recovery priorities. In addition, treaty Indian tribes co-manage fisheries and other natural resources with state agencies.

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Regional Salmon Recovery Organizations

Regional recovery organizations lead implementation of the federally approved salmon recovery plans. Located across the state, these seven organizations are governed by local boards and work with salmon recovery partners, Indian tribes, and state and federal agencies to coordinate activities and ensure progress towards recovery.

Washington Salmon Coalition and Lead Entity Watershed Groups

The Washington Salmon Coalition and lead entity watershed groups are critical for developing local salmon habitat recovery strategies and ensuring projects get completed. They do this by soliciting restoration projects and by ranking and vetting those projects using local advisory groups. The lead entities work closely with others who do the projects, including cities, counties, Indian tribes, nonprofits, fisheries enhancement groups, conservation and irrigation districts, state and federal agencies, and colleges and universities.

Government Organizations and Partners

Cities, counties, state and federal agencies, and partners play a pivotal role in salmon recovery. They control much of the land where actions occur, help secure funding, provide scientific expertise, and help establish policies necessary for salmon recovery.


Individuals make decisions every day that can either benefit or burden the natural environment. People can contribute to salmon recovery by making good land-use decisions, using products that don’t harm salmon, and keeping pollution out of waterways. Landowners also play vital roles because many of the restoration projects occur on their land.

Engaging Communities and Implementing Recovery

Working Together

It is going to take working together and expanding those who are at the table to recover salmon. Washingtonians want salmon as part of the Northwest way of life. They want clean water and food security. They want their children to be able to go to a local river and watch the wonder of salmon returning home. They want to share these stories and the excitement and beauty of the natural world with their children and grandchildren. They want to look out at the water and know that someday they may witness the grandeur of jumping orcas. Not any one group can do this alone. Washingtonians must work together to protect the Northwest culture.

Every person can bring his or her own uniqueness to this movement, and together salmon can be saved.

Looking Forward

Statewide Salmon Recovery Strategy

Twenty years ago, Governor Gary Locke adopted the Statewide Salmon Strategy–Extinction is not an Option, and Governor Christine Gregoire added to it in 2006. This strategy was put in place to address a growing crisis: the listing of salmon under the federal Endangered Species Act. The development of this strategy was unique and the first of its kind in the nation, a collaborative initiative to restore and protect salmon runs across Washington State anchored in local expertise, experience, partnerships, and on-the-ground leadership.

During the past 20 years, there have been significant advances in salmon recovery through regionally specific, scientifically rigorous, and locally produced recovery plans. In 2021, an updated Governor’s salmon strategic plan will be released. The goal of this update is to set a strategic path forward for salmon and Washington, while honoring and furthering the achievements and investments made to date.