OLYMPIA–The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is inviting all Washingtonians to commit to actions to help recover endangered salmon populations with a new Web app: Washington Salmon Stewardship.
The app allows people to take a pledge to do one thing for salmon and mark their location on a map. The pledges will be featured at the virtual Salmon Recovery Conference in April, which draws more than 800 participates from all around the Pacific Northwest.
The app is a part of a biennial report, State of Salmon in Watersheds, that the agency’s Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office updated earlier this year. The report shows that 10 of the 14 species of salmon and steelhead in Washington listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act are not making progress. Of those, five are in crisis.
Simple steps the public can take to make a difference include planting a tree, limiting how much water they use and reducing pollution.
“Too many salmon remain on the brink of extinction,” said Erik Neatherlin, executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office. “While the state, tribes, partners and thousands of individuals working together across the state are making some progress on salmon recovery, we can’t do it alone. By taking the pledge to save salmon with these simple actions, you’re becoming a part of a bigger movement committed to preserving not only these beloved fish, but also Washington’s way of life, heritage, cultural identify and economy.”
Steps the public can take include the following:
Planting a tree: Planting a tree in the front yard can have several benefits, especially for folks who live along creeks or rivers. Trees and shrubs shade and cool the water. The roots and soils filter pollution out of the water. The fallen branches and leaves create ripples and pools perfect for salmon habitat.
Limiting water use: To ensure plenty of water for fish and people in the future, check your water use. Consider installing low-flow faucets and high-efficiency toilets, regularly checking for leaks, and washing dishes and laundry in full loads and with the appropriate load-size option.
Reducing pollution, especially chemical runoff: Toxins in untreated stormwater can decrease the oxygen levels in the water, limit the ability of some salmon species to find food and avoid predators, and sometimes lead to large fish die-offs in urban streams. To reduce chemical runoff from your home, change plant and lawn fertilizers to low toxic versions and use less of them, and make sure you’re up to date on car repairs so your car isn’t leaking chemicals harmful to salmon.
Pledges will be on display as part of a session during the Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s upcoming Salmon Recovery Conference: Building a Movement, occurring virtually April 28-30. The eighth biennial conference will bring scientists, salmon recovery experts and interested community members together to share information sharing, fostering a solution-oriented approach to salmon recovery. Register now for the conference.