Puget Sound Salmon Report Released

The Trust For Public Land (TPL) today released the most comprehensive scientific study to date assessing critical rivers and watersheds in the Puget Sound for protection of endangered salmon. "We already knew that salmon were in grave trouble. Now with this study we have a blueprint to begin working to bring wild salmon back," said Roger Hoesterey, Regional Director of TPL.

One of the most important steps to protect and restore salmon is to target rivers, streams and wetlands that currently are in good condition and support natural populations of salmon. The study uses this principle to evaluate every basin in Puget Sound. In doing so, it provides a way for public and private regional conservation organizations to share priorities and work together to save salmon.

The report, entitled "Conservation Priorities," was produced for TPL by the Pacific Biodiversity Institute and the University of Montana. The Nature Conservancy of Washington, Cascade Land Conservancy and King County support using the report to focus salmon recovery efforts in Puget Sound. "This report shows that by sharing priorities we can begin to recover native salmon populations," said Ron Sims, King County Executive, adding "but only if we work together." King County was one of the funders of the research.

While all of the rivers and watersheds on the list are considered important, TPL enlisted independent experts to use the information in the study for ranking ten at the top, starting with the Skagit River and followed by the Skykomish and Nooksack Rivers. This selection was based on the rivers' size, existing native salmon populations, natural conditions and other scientific criteria.

"In developing the report, we found that by acting decisively now to protect the watersheds around these rivers, we can take an enormous step towards saving our wild salmon," said Dr. Chris Frissell of the University of Montana, who helped direct the scientific research. "This study provides an important, scientific foundation for our politicians and our communities to develop a strategy to act together," added Frissell.

The rivers and watersheds selected as the ten most important are:

  1. Skagit River
  2. Skykomish River
  3. South Fork of the Nooksack River
  4. North Fork of the Stillaguamish River
  5. Lower Snoqualmie River
  6. Carbon River
  7. Middle Green River
  8. Nisqually River
  9. Dungeness River
  10. Kitsap Peninsula Streams

Founded in 1972, TPL is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect natural and historic resources for future generations.

For additional information, please contact:

Peter Morrison, Executive Director
Pacific Biodiversity Institute
(509) 996-2490

Gene Duvernoy, Executive Director
Cascade Land Conservancy
(206) 292-5907, ext. 107

Leslie Brown, Community and Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy of Washington
(206) 343-4344

David St. John, Technical Assessment Team Manager
King County
(206) 296-8003