Working together to restore salmon habitat in the Newaukum River
1 Washington’s coast enjoys some of the best remaining habitat and strongest salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations in the state. The region is home to more than 50 percent of the state’s non-listed populations.
2 Abundance of these populations is mixed and while certain coho and chum populations have been increasing, some populations of Chinook and steelhead are decreasing.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has maintained or decreased in its progress toward meeting the Hatchery Scientific Review Group recommendations for proper management at its facilities in this region. Hatcheries meet 100 percent of the recommendations for chum and 95 percent for coho, which it has maintained for several years. However, the department lost ground in meeting recommendations for Chinook, which fell from 100 percent to 88 percent, and for steelhead, which fell from 70 percent to
This region spends most of its money on restoration actions. For the past 20 years, the region has spent about $3 million a year on salmon recovery using funds from the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), which includes money from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. In the past 4 years, funding has tripled with an infusion of state capital funding from the Washington Coast Restoration and Resiliency Initiative in partnership with
While salmon numbers in the region are strong, regional partners recognize that to maintain that strength requires more restoration. Accordingly, implementation of habitat actions has been increasing. The region also has been participating in efforts to improve hatchery programs and decrease negative impacts of hatchery fish on wild fish by advocating for additional Wild Steelhead Gene Bank designations. The region has been embarking
The region, with many forests and few major cities, represents the last, best chance for the state to protect salmon and restore them to healthier levels. The region is still home to 50 percent of the state’s unlisted fish. The healthy, natural environment supports businesses that rely on the land and waters for logging, farming, fishing, and recreation. Salmon in the region are at historically low numbers, impacted by climate change affecting stream flow levels, historic logging roads depositing excessive sediment in streams, and invasive weeds choking riverbanks. Projects focus on increasing the resiliency of salmon.
Recent accomplishments include replacing fish-blocking culverts, opening dozens of miles of quality habitat; protecting hundreds of salmon habitat acres in coastal watersheds; reducing flood risk by reconnecting rivers to their floodplains; reintroducing large woody materials into the system. An escalation in restoration accomplishments in Coast rivers has occurred through the Washington Coast Restoration and Resiliency Initiative that puts citizens to work restoring the lands and waters they depend upon.
Too much fine sediment in a region of intense historic logging
The Department of Ecology finds that this region has the least extent of streams with high levels of human disturbance in the riparian zone and the most large wood placed in streams. Nevertheless, about two-thirds of the region’s salmon, trout, and steelhead streams contain too much fine sediment and most of the regions’ streams have low volumes of wood.
Too much fine sediment harms salmon by smothering fish eggs and changing the shape and route of the stream. The sediment also can carry copper or other chemicals that can be harmful to salmon if in high concentrations. A lack
Washington’s coast enjoys some of the best remaining habitat and strongest salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations in the state. Of the region’s 80 non-listed populations, abundance is mixed. While some Chinook and chum salmon populations have been increasing, other populations of Chinook in northern watersheds and steelhead in the south appear to be decreasing. Coho for the most part have remained steady.