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Partnerships for Recovery

Circle of people Broad public involvement has been a cornerstone of Washington's approach to salmon and steelhead recovery since 1998, when the state Legislature passed the Salmon Recovery Act into law. Rather than "abdicate these responsibilities to the federal government," the law calls for "integrating local and regional recovery activities into a statewide strategy."

This inclusive approach has brought watershed coalitions, volunteer organizations, farmers, foresters and other businesses together with state, tribal and local governments in various ways to reverse the long-term decline of the state's wild salmon populations.

One provision of the Salmon Recovery Act created a network of salmon recovery groups (Lead Entities) to coordinate habitat restoration work in local watersheds throughout the state. Another charged the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board with drafting a recovery plan for the region - a responsibility that usually falls to federal agencies.

Just a year after the Salmon Recovery Act was passed into law, seven additional salmon and steelhead populations were listed for protection under the federal Endangered Act. Since then, seven regional recovery boards have worked with federal authorities to develop plans that provide a framework for all recovery efforts in those regions.

Washington Tribes

Washington Tribes are vital partners in Washington's salmon recovery efforts. Tribes participate at the watershed, regional and statewide levels helping to develop recovery plans, design and implement restoration projects and provide critical technical and scientific guidance.

In addition to these key contributions, Tribes also are hatchery and harvest managers. Washington's salmon and steelhead fisheries are managed cooperatively in a unique government-to-government relationship.

A 1974 federal (U.S. v. Washington) court case (decided by U.S. District Court Judge George Boldt) re-affirmed the tribe's rights to harvest salmon and steelhead and established them as co-managers of Washington fisheries.

For more information please visit our main website here >> Tribal Co-Management.

Washington State Tribes (Govenors Office of Indian Tribes)
Circle of people
  1. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
  2. Colville Confederated Tribes
  3. Cowlitz Tribe
  4. Hoh Tribe
  5. Jamestown S'Klallam Indian Tribe
  6. Kalispel Tribe
  7. Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
  8. Lummi Nation
  9. Makah Tribe
  10. Muckleshoot Tribe
  11. Nisqually Tribe
  12. Nooksack Tribe
  13. Port Gamble S'Kallam Tribe
  14. Puyallup Tribe
  15. Quileute Tribe
  16. Quinault Nation
  17. Samish Nation
  18. Sauk-Suiattle Tribe
  19. Shoalwater Bay Tribe
  20. Skokomish Tribe
  21. Snoqualmie Tribe
  22. Spokane Tribe
  23. Squaxin Island Tribe
  24. Stillaguamish Tribe
  25. Suquamish Tribe
  26. Swinomish Tribe
  27. Tulalip Tribe
  28. Upper Skagit Tribe
  29. Confederated Tribes of the Yakima Indian Reservation

Governor's Salmon Recovery Office (GSRO)

RCO Logo The Governor's Salmon Recovery Office was established by the Legislature, through the Salmon Recovery Planning Act, and charged with coordinating a statewide salmon recovery strategy. Other tasks include:

Salmon Recovery Regional Organizations

The federal government requires that recovery plans be based on an Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU). An ESU is a population, or group of populations of salmon, that is substantially, reproductively isolated from other populations and contributes substantially to the evolutionary legacy of the biological species. Based on this, seven regional organizations formed to develop recovery plans and coordinate their implementation.

Regional Snapshots   Regional Organization Website
Hood Canal Snapshot   Hood Canal Coordinating Council
Lower Columbia Snapshot   Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board
Mid Columbia Snapshot   Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board
Northeast Snapshot   No Recovery Board.
Puget Sound Snapshot   Puget Sound Partnership
Snake Snapshot   Snake River Salmon Recovery
Upper Columbia Snapshot   Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
Washington Coastal Snapshot   Washington Coast Sustainable Salmon Partnership

Lead Entity Organizations

Lead Entities are local watershed-based organizations responsible for developing the local salmon habitat recovery strategies and recruiting organizations, such as Regional Fish Enhancement Groups, conservation districts, and land trusts to do habitat protection and restoration projects that implement the strategies.>

Lead entities consist of:
  • A coordinator or administrative body (usually county, conservation district, or tribal staff)
  • A committee of local, technical experts
  • A committee of local citizens
Wria Map To find your local lead entity please click on our interactive map below:

You can view current Lead Entity Habitat Projects at their site here >> www.hws.ekosystem.us

Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups

In 1990, the Washington State Legislature created the Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group Program to involve local communities, citizen volunteers, and landowners in the state's salmon recovery efforts.

The 14 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) share the unique role of working within their own communities across the state to recover salmon. The RFEGs have a common goal of restoring salmonid populations and habitat to their regions, relying on support in local communities. The RFEGs create dynamic partnerships with local, state and federal agencies; Native American tribes; local businesses; community members; and landowners. Through these collaborative efforts, RFEGs help lead their communities in successful restoration, education and monitoring projects.

Each RFEG works within a specific geographic region based on watershed boundaries. Every group is a separate, nonprofit organization led by their own board of directors and supported by their members.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA Logo National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service programs off the coasts of Oregon and Washington, and in the vast inland watershed habitats of Pacific salmon in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Its principal responsibility is implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and recovering 18 populations of listed salmonids covering more than 47 percent of the land base of three states.

NMFS has been dedicated to working with Washington to develop recovery plans differently than anywhere else in the country.

Their efforts have forged a beneficial partnership with state, tribal and local governments and communities to develop technical guidance, recovery goals and plans.

NOAA has adopted six recovery plans for Washington. The science and federal information about ESA and the plans can be found linked below.

You can read more at their website >> Pacific Northwest Salmon Recovery Planning and Implementation

Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund

Washington salmon recovery is showing success due to a very important infusion of federal funding that assists with restoration and hatchery reform implementation - The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF.) The funding for PCSRF is approved by Congress annually and distributed by NOAA Fisheries to states and tribes.

PCSRF was established by Congress in FY 2000 to protect, restore, and conserve Pacific salmon and steelhead populations and their habitats. Under the PCSRF, NOAA Fisheries manages a program to provide funding to states and tribes of the Pacific Coast region -- Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho and Alaska. The thousands of PCSRF projects that have been implemented throughout the region have made important contributions to improve the status of Endangered Species Act-listed species, prevent extinctions, and protect currently healthy populations. These accomplishments are summarized in independent reviews and annual reports to Congress.

NOAA Fisheries and partner states and tribes have implemented an approach to track progress, measure performance, and ensure accountability in the use of public funds. These performance measures are described in the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund Performance Goals,Measures and Reporting Framework (PDF 694KB).

You can read more at their website >> NOAA - Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund

Puget Sound Partnerships (PSP)

PSP Logo The Puget Sound Partnership is a community effort of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses working together to restore and protect Puget Sound.

The charge given to the Puget Sound Partnership by Governor Gregoire and the Legislature is to create a real Action Agenda that turns things around and leads to a healthy Puget Sound.


What can YOU do?

Two girls smiling with fish in hands Get involved in salmon recovery! Recovering and protecting salmon starts with each of us in our local communities. From working to ensure your local land use decisions reflect the local salmon recovery plans, helping with habitat restoration projects, to following important fishery protection regulations. There are many ways each of us can help recover salmon and steelhead.

  • Get in the dirt and help a local group restore habitat. Projects such as planting trees and shrubs along river banks are critical for salmon recovery.
  • Encourage your local government to use WDFW's Land Use Planning for Salmon, Steelhead and Trout in their Shoreline Master Programs, critical area regulations and comprehensive plans. Applying this information is an important step to help recover salmon with local regulations and development incentives.
  • Take kids fishing or for a hike through their watershed.
  • Join or start an Adopt A Stream Group
  • Identify human caused barriers to fish passage, photograph, locate with GPS if possible and notify the County Conservation District.
  • Reduce impacts on salmon from stormwater (stormwater flushes have killed up to 88 percent of returning salmon in urban streams)
    • Drive autos less.
    • Take cars to car washes for washing where water is collected and treated
  • Reduce impacts from climate change (Climate change would reduce summer flows and create stream temperatures too high to support salmon and cause loss of critical spawning and rearing habitat through higher winter flows and sea level rise)
    • Sequester carbon - plant trees especially in riparian areas, restore wetlands and estuaries and floodplains
    • Plant a vegetable garden and eat locally produced food (Community Supported Agriculture, Food Coops, Farmers Markets)
    • Walk, Bicycle, take mass transit and drive gasoline autos less
  • Join groups that advocate for fish, streams and watersheds (People for Puget Sound, Trout Unlimited, Audubon, Washington Environmental Council)

For more ideas on what you can do to help Salmon go here >> Other things you can do

For more information on
salmon recovery and conservation, please contact
the WDFW Fish Program.

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