Salmon need lots of cool, clean water to survive, as well as healthy habitat where they rest, feed, hide from
predators, and spawn. The State of Salmon in Watersheds report measures Washington’s progress in those areas. Some findings from the new, online report:
- Measurements of the amount of water in streams and rivers show increasing trends or no trends at 57 percent of monitoring stations in western Washington, and at 45 percent of the monitoring stations in eastern Washington.
- The quality of Washington’s waters, by some measures important to salmon, has improved slightly since 1992. The water quality at 35 percent of long-term water quality monitoring sites is improving, while only 5 percent saw declines. However, other measures of water quality, such as toxins, have not improved.
- Communities continue to make progress implementing actions in recovery plans to restore and protect priority habitat, improve hatcheries, and make dams more fish friendly.
- 61 percent of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's hatchery programs are meeting or expected to meet scientific standards for proper management to ensure conservation of wild salmon and steelhead.
- Washington has been managing fishing to ensure that salmon and steelhead species at risk of extinction are not over harvested. In the past ten years, Endangered Species Act limits to the amount of fish that can be caught have been met 90 percent of the time, for all but one population.
- During the past 13 years, more than 5,000 fish passage barriers have been replaced with fish-friendly culverts and bridges in Washington streams. This work has opened more than 4,800 miles of fish-spawning habitat statewide. Strong partnerships among regional recovery organizations and state agencies continue to open an average of 360 miles of habitat a year.
Recent Oregon studies showed that every $1 million spent on watershed restoration results in 15-33 new or sustained jobs, $2.2 million to $2.5 million in total economic activity, and that 80 percent of grant money is spent in the county where the project was located. Using the Oregon formula, salmon recovery funding is expected to have supported more than 4,400 new or sustained jobs and more than $640 million in total economic activity in Washington. “This report makes it clear that we have accomplished much but still have a long way to go,” Cottingham said. “Climate change, development to accommodate the state’s growing population, and decreasing funding, are the most serious threats for salmon recovery in the future. It’s up to all of us to ensure that we have enough funding, enough people, and enough resources to continue this work. It’s so important if we are to ensure the iconic salmon survive.” See the full report and Web site at www.StateofSalmon.wa.gov.