Partnerships for Recovery
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 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
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 >>
Governor's Salmon Recovery Office (GSRO)
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.
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
- A committee of local, technical experts
- A committee of local citizens
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 >>
Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups
In 1990, the Washington State Legislature created the
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)
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)
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
You can read more at their website >> NOAA - Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund
Puget Sound Partnerships (PSP)
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?
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