Long Live the Kings Programs
Salish Sea Marine Survival Project
Juvenile salmon and steelhead are currently showing very poor survival in the shared marine waters of Washington and British Columbia. While we have a clear understanding of the factors affecting salmon in freshwater, we know little about salmon in the marine environment. To identify the leading causes of weak marine survival, LLTK has combined efforts with the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) of B.C., and scientists and managers from both countries to initiate the ecosystem-wide Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. The effort will leverage resources across multiple disciplines, and coordinate basin-wide research, helping create new solutions that support wild fish recovery and sustainable fisheries.
Tracking Progress on Chinook Recovery
Recovery of threatened Chinook salmon is guided by the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan, which was adopted by NOAA in 2007. However, to date there has not been a comprehensive evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of this effort. Now, a project team lead by LLTK is working with each of 16 watersheds and the Puget Sound Partnership to develop monitoring and adaptive management plans to track, improve and advance progress toward Chinook recovery.
Steelhead Recovery Planning
LLTK is engaged in a new effort to expand the success of our steelhead recovery work on Hood Canal to other rivers and streams of the eastern Olympic Peninsula. Staff are helping to identify critical population habitat needs of steelhead, the condition of local populations and habitat, prioritized threats to steelhead, and important information gaps. Once work is completed, managers in local watersheds will develop recovery plans with specific actions and monitoring plans.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
As a key step in the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, LLTK and PSF organized and hosted a workshop in November 2012 in Bellingham. The objective of the workshop was to determine the critical elements for a joint US-Canada research program to identify the primary factors affecting the survival of salmon and steelhead in the Salish Sea.
The workshop was attended by over 90 U.S. and Canadian scientists and managers. These experts reviewed what we currently know and don’t know about salmon and steelhead in the marine environment. After reviewing the information, the experts concluded that: a) a collaborative, US-Canada research program has significant ecological and operational merit, b) the program should be focused predominantly on evaluating the fish themselves, but be comprehensive enough to account for relevant ecosystem interactions, and c) further evaluation of existing data is warranted, but obvious information gaps should also be addressed immediately through new field research. The experts also recommended comparing food limitation and predation as the fundamental hypotheses driving the research.