2014 state of salmon in watersheds executive summary

This report documents how Washingtonians have responded to the challenges of protecting and restoring salmon and steelhead to healthy status. It also serves as a tool to summarize achievements, track salmon recovery progress through common indicators, and identify data gaps that need to be filled.

2014 state of salmon in watersheds report cover
2014 state of salmon in watersheds report cover

Executive summary

Washington State is a committed leader in salmon recovery. From neighborhoods to the state capital, Washingtonians have come together by the thousands in an unprecedented network of organizations, volunteers, businesses, local governments, elected officials, private landowners, farmers, fishers, and scientists, to work with state and federal agencies and Native American tribes to protect and restore what’s good for all of us—salmon.

Salmon are special to the people of Washington. They provide jobs, food to eat, sport, and cultural identity. We know what salmon need to survive. They need cool, clean water, and lots of it. They need to be able to swim through rivers and streams to the ocean and back. They need habitat that is diverse, with lots of different kinds of plants, bugs, rocks, and trees so they have food to eat and places to hide when they are small. And sometimes they need our help through hatcheries and regulations to ensure wild salmon can survive to create the next generation. 

Washingtonians need and want the shorelines, rivers, and forests to be healthy enough for salmon. Our communities are made stronger when we invest in salmon recovery. In return, we get cleaner air and water, less flooding and erosion, healthier shellfish, more fishing, better hiking, continued tourism, and salmon safe to eat. In parts of the state, we are seeing encouraging returns on salmon recovery investments with healthier rivers and forests, and indications that the fish are coming back in greater numbers. We recently saw record numbers of salmon populations returning to the Columbia River. However, in western Washington, serious concerns remain that more habitat is being destroyed than restored. To remove salmon and steelhead from the federal Endangered Species List statewide, Washingtonians will need to remain steadfast in the work to keep salmon alive for the long term.

Salmon recovery is a lifetime commitment. Washingtonians are changing how we live today so that we all will have the Washington we love in the future.

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