The Nisqually Indian Tribe taps the whole watershed to restore salmon.
Making our watershed a place where salmon and people live together.
1 Puget Sound is home to 59 populations of Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, all of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act, most of which continue to decline.
2 Our 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.
The 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington and the State of Washington are co-managers of salmon and steelhead resources. Co-management was established by U.S. v. Washington, the 1974 federal court ruling that upheld tribal treaty-reserved harvest rights.
Conservation is the goal of co-management. Harvest is focused on healthy stocks of hatchery and naturally spawning salmon and steelhead. The goal of harvest management is to conserve weak stocks while providing limited harvest opportunities that do not jeopardize recovery efforts. Unfortunately, wild salmon and many steelhead populations are in ongoing decline because their habitat has been damaged.
Puget Sound salmon recovery work is the cornerstone of broader Puget Sound recovery efforts, and abundant wild Chinook salmon
In Puget Sound, 45 percent of river systems show levels of toxic chemical pollution that increase health risks to juvenile Chinook salmon. As they grow, Puget Sound Chinook salmon accumulate toxic chemicals, which poses health risks to predators, including southern resident orca whales. Most toxic pollution in the Puget Sound is carried by stormwater that runs off paved roads and driveways, rooftops, yards, and other developed land. These contaminants can reduce growth, increase disease susceptibility, and alter hormone production, all of which can reduce survival of fish. The greatest risks occurred
Habitat restoration and protection is paramount for Puget Sound salmon recovery. While challenges remain (development, marine survival, climate change, etc.) significant progress is being made throughout the region through restoration and protection:
While we are making progress in habitat protection and restoration around the Sound, we are continuing to lose valuable salmon habitat in many areas. In some watersheds, development is surpassing restoration. Success in recovering salmon runs will require both restoring degraded habitat and ramping up protection of functioning habitat. The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s State of Our Watersheds report provides information about habitat problems in Puget Sound. The report also notes the greatest pressures affecting salmon recovery:
The Puget Sound Vital Signs report provides information about the health of Puget Sound though indicators and targets representing water, habitat, species and food webs, and human wellbeing.
Puget Sound is home to 59 listed populations of Chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, most of which continue to decline. Puget Sound Chinook salmon show very few signs of recovery. During the past 10 years, the majority of populations show that adult Chinook abundance has remained static. None of the populations of Puget Sound Chinook salmon meet recovery goals for abundance of natural-origin (wild) spawners. Furthermore, productivity remains low for most populations.