Salmonids

Fish in the family Salmonidae (salmon, trout, and charr) are unique in their cultural, economic and ecological role in Puget Sound. Because they utilize a very wide range of aquatic habitat types throughout their life history, they play potentially integral roles in the upland freshwater, nearshore and pelagic marine ecosystems and food webs of Puget Sound. They also provide key trophic links between habitats through their migratory behavior. While there is much variation in the behavior and ecology within and among the different salmonid species in Puget Sound, they typically use freshwater habitats to spawn, after which juveniles emerge and eventually migrate to nearshore estuaries or directly to marine pelagic habitats. The watersheds and nearshore habitats of Puget Sound currently support 8 species of salmon, trout, and charr (NOAA 2007), four of which are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These are Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)chum salmon (O. keta)bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and steelhead (O. mykiss)

Puget Sound salmon:

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)

Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

Puget Sound trout

Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)

Puget Sound charr

Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus

-- Source: Puget Sound Science Review

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta). Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

OVERVIEW

Salmonids in Puget Sound

Fish in the family Salmonidae (salmon, trout, and charr) play potentially integral roles in the upland freshwater, nearshore and pelagic marine ecosystems and food webs of Puget Sound.

RELATED ARTICLES

A young resident killer whale chases a chinook salmon in the Salish Sea near San Juan Island, WA. Sept 2017. Photo: (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/21wV8rV
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Water sampling and testing for formaldehyde at Northwest fish hatcheries

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Salmon smolts. Photo courtesy of Governor's Salmon Recovery Office
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2016 aerial view of completed Calistoga Reach levee project in Orting, WA. Image courtesy: CSI Drone Solutions and Washington Rock Quarries, Inc. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H_NK6U2_zw
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Fir Island Farms habitat restoration monitoring in Skagit County. Project provides rearing habitat for young threatened Chinook salmon along with other wildlife. Copyright: Bob Friel
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Sea lion sunbathing between meals in Seattle's Eliott Bay. Photo: Johnny Mumbles (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/mumbles/3283168713
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Puget Sound Marine Waters 2015 report cover
9/27/2016

2015 Puget Sound Marine Waters Overview

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Photogrammetry image of an adult female Southern Resident (J16) as she’s about to surface with her youngest calf, born earlier in 2015, alongside. Photo: NOAA Fisheries, Vancouver Aquarium
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Killer whale miscarriages linked to low food supply

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A steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Cascade River, WA, 2014. Photo: © Morgan Bond http://www.morganhbond.com/
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Advances in technology help researchers evaluate threatened Puget Sound steelhead

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Key hypotheses include bottom-up and top-down processes and additional factors such as toxics, disease, and competition.  Graphic: Michael Schmidt, Salish Sea Marine Survival Project
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Mystery remains in deaths of young salmon

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Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Photo: WDFW
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Contaminants higher in resident 'blackmouth' chinook

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6/5/2016

Snohomish Basin Protection Plan

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Puget Sound's orcas are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world. Photo: Minette Layne (CC-BY-2.0) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale#/media/File:Orca_porpoising.jpg
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New theory rethinks spread of PCBs and other toxics in Puget Sound

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Salmon. Photo: Dan Hershman (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/hershman/497293505
2/29/2016

Contaminants of emerging concern in a large temperate estuary

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Early morning meal. Photo: jdegenhardt (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdegenhardt/2771107305
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Dead salmon. Photo: Boris Mann (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/boris/3037705761
2/23/2016

Transfer of nutrients in the ecosystem

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Ballard Locks from the air. Photo: Jeff Wilcox (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffwilcox/4805933588
2/18/2016

Will Ballard Locks withstand a major earthquake?

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Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Photo: Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Are diseases playing a role in salmon decline?

Chinook, coho and steelhead populations in Puget Sound have declined dramatically over the past 30 years. In some cases, counts of fish returning to the rivers are just a tenth what they were in the 1980s. While many possible causes of this decline are under consideration, some researchers are focusing on the combined effects of predators and disease. This article continues our coverage of the ecological impacts of disease in Puget Sound.

2015 Puget Sound Fact Book report cover
10/2/2015

2015 Puget Sound Fact Book

The 2015 Puget Sound Fact Book brings together statistics and other information about the health and makeup of the Puget Sound ecosystem. Areas of focus include climate change, geography, water quality, habitats, human dimensions and regional species. The fact book was prepared for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Puget Sound Partnership.

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

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2008 Estuary & salmon restoration program annual report cover
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2010 Estuary and salmon restoration program annual report cover
7/28/2015

2010 Estuary and salmon restoration program annual report

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2012 State of Salmon in Watersheds Executive Summary report cover
7/21/2015

2012 state of salmon in watersheds executive summary

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Juvenile coho salmon. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
5/28/2015

Spatial and temporal patterns in smolt survival of wild and hatchery coho salmon in the Salish Sea

Scientists say low marine survival rates threaten Puget Sound coho salmon populations. A 2015 article in the journal Marine and Coastal Fisheries reports that wild cohos in the Salish Sea had higher smolt survival rates over a 30 year period than hatchery coho salmon. Smolt survival in the Strait of Georgia during that time declined faster than it did in Puget Sound. 

18-year-old L92 Crewser male resident orca, born 1995, and kayaker. Photo: Andrew Reding (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter/9259744196/
1/21/2015

Stimulus-dependent response to disturbance affecting the activity of killer whales

A 2015 paper presented to the International Whaling Commission compares the impacts of kayaks and powerboats on killer whale populations.

12/17/2014

Development of a stormwater retrofit plan for Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) 9: Comprehensive needs and cost assessment and extrapolation to Puget Sound

A 2014 King County report projects the capital and maintenance costs of the stormwater treatment facilities that would be needed, within WRIA 9 and the Puget Sound region, to fully comply with the Clean Water Act. 

Seattle's central waterfront at sunset. Photo: Michael Matti (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelmattiphotography/9090323308/
10/29/2014

Brighter future for salmon at downtown seawall

The decaying seawall along Seattle’s waterfront is providing scientists with an opportunity to improve long-lost habitat for migrating salmon. It could also show the way for habitat enhancements to crumbling infrastructure worldwide. One University of Washington researcher describes the project.

Southern resident orcas. Photo: NOAA http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/killerwhale_photos.htm
10/28/2014

Seeking higher calories for Puget Sound killer whales

A 2014 paper decribes how monitoring the energy density of key Pacific salmon species could affect the recovery of northern and southern killer whales through fisheries management.

report cover photo
10/24/2014

Monitoring and adaptive management of the Nisqually Delta after tidal marsh restoration: Restoring ecosystem function for salmon

This 2009 report by the Nisqually Tribe establishes key measures of restoration development, habitat processes, and Chinook salmon response for the largest delta restoration project in the Pacific Northwest.

Stormwater flowing into catch basin carries contaminants to our waterways. Photo: Ben McLeod (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/benmcleod/420158390
10/7/2014

Citizens now the leading cause of toxics in Puget Sound

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Nisqually Reserve Fish Sampling March 2012. Photo: Michael Grilliot, DNR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/wastatednr/6834386824
9/9/2014

No salmon left behind: The importance of early growth and freshwater restoration

The growth and survival of young salmon in streams, river deltas and floodplains are seen as crucial pieces of the salmon recovery puzzle. In part two of this two-part series, researchers at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Seattle say the complexities of the salmon life cycle require new coordination among scientists.

Chinook Salmon (juvenile) Photo Credit: Roger Tabor/USFWS. https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/6093338474
8/28/2014

What is killing young salmon in Puget Sound?

Scientists say Puget Sound’s salmon are dying young and point to low growth rates in the marine environment as a possible cause. In part one of this two-part series, scientists consider threats facing young salmon in the open waters of Puget Sound.

Inside the Eelgrass beds. Photo: Eric Heupel (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/eclectic-echoes/7654885752
8/8/2014

Shedding new light on eelgrass recovery

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Sockey salmon. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
4/10/2014

Measuring Socio-Cultural Values Associated with Salmon in the Quinault Indian Nation

A 2014 report describes a study of socio-cultural values associated with blueback salmon in the Quinault Indian Nation. The blueback salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is a unique strain of sockeye that returns primarily to the Quinault river system.

Chinook salmon. Image courtesy of NOAA.
2/5/2014

Lead Entities for salmon recovery in Puget Sound

Lead Entities are local organizations in Puget Sound that develop salmon recovery strategies and priorities for the region on a watershed-based scale.

Puget Sound Salmonid Habitat Monitoring Inventory and Recommendations
11/27/2013

Puget Sound salmonid habitat monitoring inventory and recommendations

An October 2013 report released by the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program inventories and assesses monitoring activities of Puget Sound's ESA-listed salmon and steelhead stocks and habitats.

Beach near the Olympic Scuplture Park before restoration. Photo by Jason Toft
11/18/2013

Extended abstract: Ecological response and physical stability of habitat enhancements along an urban armored shoreline

This paper describes a multi-year effort testing whether shoreline enhancements at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle have improved conditions for fish and invertebrates as compared to armored shorelines.

Block seine fishing. Image courtesy of WDFW.
6/14/2013

Report: Economic analysis of the non-treaty commercial and recreational fisheries in Washington State

This report, published in 2008 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, summarizes the economic importance of Washington fisheries using data from 2006. The report's Executive Summary is reprinted below, followed by summaries of data specific to Puget Sound.

4/22/2013

Puget Sound Chinook Salmon recovery: a framework for the development of monitoring and adaptive management plans

The Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Technical Team has released a draft of a NOAA technical memorandum describing frameworks for adaptive management and monitoring of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. Download the report.

School of juvenile chinook/king salmon. Photo: USFWS/Togiak National Wildlife Refuge (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_alaska/6479109041/
3/23/2013

Juvenile Pacific Salmon in Puget Sound

This technical report produced for the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership on Valued Ecosystem Components (VEC) summarizes existing knowledge of salmon use of nearshore habitats in order to help protect and restore these habitats.

Photo courtesy of NOAA
12/12/2012

Report: The effects of salmon fisheries on Southern Resident Killer Whales

A recent report by an independent science panel reviewed data on the effects of salmon fisheries on Southern Resident Killer Whale populations. The report was released on November 30, 2012 and was commissioned by NOAA Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

State of Our Watersheds Report
10/2/2012

Report: 2012 State of Our Watersheds

The State of Our Watersheds Report is produced by the treaty tribes of western Washington, and seeks to present a comprehensive view of 20 watersheds in the Puget Sound region and the major issues that are impacting habitat.

9/13/2012

Tulalip Tribes

The Tulalip reservation is located near Marysville, Washington. It was created after the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, and currently has a population of 2,500 members. The entire tribal population is approximately 4,000 and growing. 

Tulalip Tribes Area of Concern: