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Watershed partners celebrate 10 years of salmon recovery efforts; look to next decade

Summary

Partnerships in three highly populated watersheds mark a decade of environmental work to save salmon and reflect on the importance of collaboration and long-term commitment.

Story

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The coordinating bodies representing three major watersheds draining to Puget Sound are celebrating a decade of salmon recovery efforts and lookforward to 10 more years of collaboration and partnership in the challenging work of saving salmon.

As of today, 47 jurisdictions and tribes in the three watersheds signed agreements that will ensure another decade of coordinated salmon recovery. King and Snohomish county jurisdictions and tribes contribute significant funding and staff time to meet restoration targets, choose key projects for priority funding and make sure that tax dollars yield the maximum environmental return on investment.

The Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed; the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed; and the South Fork Skykomish and Snoqualmie Watersheds are the most populated in the state and home to several fish species including threatened Chinook salmon.

“Chinook are vital to the culture and economy of our local tribes and to the broader Puget Sound community,” said Janne Kaje, Snoqualmie Salmon Recovery Manager. “We have a long way to go to recover these iconic symbols of a healthy Northwest, and we are fully committed to doing so.”

Since the plans were adopted 10 years ago, 3,280 acres have been protected, over 200 restoration projects have been completed, and 252 acres of floodplain have been reconnected across the three watersheds.

"We have accomplished much in the last 10 years, and learned many lessons; salmon recovery is a long-term commitment, and continuing the collaborative partnership among local partners is critical,” said Jason Mulvihill-Kuntz, WRIA 8 Salmon Recovery Manager.

First released in 2005, the original habitat plans for each watershed laid the groundwork for 10 years of Chinook salmon recovery projects, programs and research.

Plan Implementation is guided by governing bodies in each Water Resource Recovery Area (WRIA) that include representatives from local government, community groups, tribes, state and federal agencies, businesses and individual citizens. Funding for habitat projects is gathered by partner organizations within the watershed councils and has been instrumental in directed millions of dollars to salmon recovery work.

“We are honored by the commitment and support of our WRIA 9 cities, and look forward to working together for another 10 years of salmon recovery in our urban watershed,” said Doug Osterman, WRIA 9 Salmon Recovery Manager.