Sauk-Suiattle Tribe

The original homeland of the Sauk-Suiattle tribe covered the entire drainage area of the Sauk, Suiattle, and Cascade rivers. A village of eight traditional cedar longhouses at Sauk Prairie was destroyed by settlers in 1884. From a tribe of 4,000 in 1855, numbers dropped until 1924, when only 18 members remained. Currently, the tribe has around 200 members.

Sauk-Suiattle Area of Concern:

The Sauk-Suiattle tribe is focused in the basins of the Sauk, Suiattle, Cascade, and Skagit rivers, in WRIAs 3 and 4. The restoration strategy in this region prioritizes large-scale restoration of fish habitat and protection of existing habitat. However, restoration hinges on regulatory changes that have been slow to occur. Delays in road maintenance have also inhibited restoration work. The tribe, working with federal, and local governments, Seattle City Light and The Nature Conservancy, has worked to acquire floodplain habitat and place it into conservation easements. Another crucial task is cleaning up mine waste and contaminated soil, which can leach toxics into streams.

Natural Resource Management:

  • The tribe, in partnership with the USGS, is studying sediment in three rivers, the Sauk, Suiattle, and White Chuck. The rivers have naturally high sediment levels, and nearby forest roads are susceptible to landslides that can add to the sediment load. The tribe is hoping to discover how the quantity of sediment, and the variation at different times of year, affects spawning salmon.
  • The tribe also monitors stormwater runoff into the Sauk River, in hopes of stopping contaminants at the source. Copper, which comes from brake pads and is often deposited on the pavement, can be toxic to fish. It disables their alarm pheromones, impairs brain function, and interferes with migration.
  • Since 2007, the tribe has been surveying a 5-acre wetland on the Sauk-Suiattle reservation for amphibian egg clusters, tracking populations of species like the northwest salamander, red-legged frog, and Pacific chorus frog. Amphibians are good indicators of wetland habitat.
  • Mountain goats are an important part of Sauk-Suiattle culture. David Wallin, a professor at Western Washington University, is working with the tribe to discover the causes of a declining mountain goat population in the Cascades. The I-90 corridor could be a contributing factor, as it limits crossover between populations and increases the chances of inbreeding.

Map of Tribal Lands

Sauk-Suiattle Tribe
5318 Chief Brown Lane
Darrington,WA 98241

Phone: (360) 436-0132
Fax: (360) 436-1511

Chairperson: Janice Mabee
Fisheries Contact: Robert Franklin, Fishery Manager
Natural Resources Director: Chris Danilson

Homepage Sauk-Suiattle Tribe

Source: NWIFC