For Release:
Contact: Susan Zemek
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Office:  360-902-3081
TTY:  800-833-6388

OLYMPIA–More than 750 scientists, salmon recovery experts and interested citizens from Washington and Oregon will meet in Tacoma next week for the seventh biennial Salmon Recovery Conference, marking the 20th anniversary of the Salmon Recovery Act.

“By bringing together our state’s field biologists, engineers and policymakers, we’re providing a forum for information sharing and networking that’s critical to finding solutions to some of the big problems facing salmon recovery,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, home to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. “It’s going to take innovation and collaboration to build up salmon to sustainable levels so they can support our environment, our economy and those who rely on them, including our beloved southern resident orca whales.”

“Recovering salmon is perhaps the single most important conservation issue in Washington,” said Kelly Susewind, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The plight of the southern resident orca has highlighted the key role that salmon play in the environment, and it’s encouraging to see so many partners coming to the table with new energy and greater determination. There’s a lot that this agency and others can do to support salmon recovery, and we’re actively participating to ensure that our expertise and willingness to collaborate is helping to turn the dial in a positive direction.”

“I’m encouraged that 20 years after passage of the Salmon Recovery Act, our commitment to recover Washington’s wild salmon runs is just as strong today, with growing public support in also protecting our at-risk orcas. We’re proud to partner with the Recreation and Conservation Office in this conference and applaud their leadership,” said Maia Bellon, director of the Washington Department of Ecology.

Conference highlights include keynote addresses by Gary Locke, former Washington state governor, and Cecilia Gobin, a Tulalip Tribes member and the conservation policy analyst with the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

Other conference highlights include remarks from the Governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force co-chairs Les Purce and Stephanie Solien and a panel on tribal treaty rights.

The 2-day conference runs April 8-9 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Commerce in Tacoma. See the complete schedule. For other conference details, visit the conference Web page.

The conference is co-hosted by the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Washington Department of Ecology and its Office of the Chehalis Basin and Office of Columbia River, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Created by the Legislature in 1999, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board provides grants to projects that restore and protect salmon habitat across the state. Learn more at the board’s Web site.

Follow the conference on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at #salmonconf.