Saturday, January 14th marked the day we welcome the chum salmon back to Muck Creek in the city of Roy, WA. Though the morning turned out to be a chilly one, and there weren’t any salmon for us to greet, the event provided an opportunity for members of the community throughout the watershed to come together. Delicious food and beverages were provided by Nisqually tribal member Ramona Wells, with a variety of informational displays featuring our special guests, the salmon, and salmon restoration. Other guests of the event were Colonel Tommy Brittain and Joing Base Garrison Commander, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA State Representative JT Wilcox, Georgiana Kautz, Natural Resources Manager for the tribe, and David Troutt, the tribe’s Natural Resources Director. Thanks to everyone who came out and withstood the cold weather to lend a helping hand and show their support for the amazing work our project partners are doing throughout the watershed!
Click here to read the full article at Nisqually Valley News.
Saturday, December 10th was a day to remember in the Nisqually watershed. On that day, 17 projects partners spanning across 5 watersheds in the south Puget Sound were honored for the amazing work done to restore the Nisqually Estuary. For over 15 years, the Nisqually Estuary Restoration Team has worked to plan, fund, and implement the restoration over 1000 acres of tidal habitat. Not only was this project the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, but it also marked the first time multiple watersheds have joined together on a single project in a single watershed in the Puget Sound. The Obama Administration recognized such organizations as the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, the Nisqually Tribe, and Ducks Unlimited, as well as many others for their incredible accomplishments. The efforts of this partnership have been described as a vital step in the recovery of the Puget Sound.
Click here to read the full article at the EPA’s website.
Couldn’t be there? No worries! David Hymel of Rain Dog Designs caught some of the day’s amazing moments on film! Click here to view those photos.
Salmon Carcass Tossing is in full swing here at NREP! Clarkmoor Elementary yesterday and Shining Mountain Elementary today! Fresh air, exercise, and boosting the food chain for our threatened Chinook salmon….good work, students!!! To see more photos and learn more about the Nisqually River Education Project, visit us on Facebook!
Learn How to Identify and Count Adult Salmon
While Joining in the Exciting Experience of Watching Salmon Spawn
The Nisqually Stream Stewards Program is looking for volunteers to help monitor streams within the Nisqually River watershed during salmon spawning season. Volunteers will be trained to identify salmon species so they can count spawning adult salmon twice a week.
The training will be held on Saturday, November 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
In recent years salmon watchers helped rediscover a late run of coho salmon that hadn’t been seen in the Nisqually River for ten years. “Salmon watchers are really the eyes and ears of salmon recovery. This is how community involvement in salmon recovery is helping to bring salmon back,” said David Troutt, natural resources director for the Tribe. “Without these volunteers, there is no way that we could keep a close eye on every stream in the Nisqually River watershed.”
Information collected by Nisqually Salmon Watchers helps Nisqually Tribe Natural Resources staff identify where and when salmon are spawning in our streams and creeks. This information may also help determine where to focus salmon recovery protection and restoration efforts in the future.
What: Nisqually Salmon Watcher Training
When: Saturday, November 19
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
100 Brown Farm Road (off of exit #114 of I-5)
To register for the training or to get directions, contact: Don Perry, (360) 438-8687, extension 2143, or email@example.com
Carl Safina, host of the PBS series Saving the Ocean (among many other things), recently visited the Nisqually watershed. He wrote up a nice blog summarizing his visit:
Salmon have lots of problems in many places. But some places have solutions. One is the Nisqually River in Washington State. There, wild Chinook Salmon were eliminated decades ago by overfishing and habitat loss. Now, an unusual coalition of politicians, civic planners, wildlife managers, farmers, fishing folks, and the Nisqually Indians are engaged in a visionary, long-term campaign to restore salmon habitats that had been degraded, and to work specifically toward recovery of the now-endangered Chinook.
You can read the entire post here.
The Nisqually Indian Tribe’s current restoration of the Red Salmon Slough area at the mouth of the Nisqually is receiving some coverage on KUOW and in the Olympian.
From the Olympian story:
The last major dike removal project in the Nisqually River estuary will wrap up next week, freeing the river to flow naturally near its mouth for the first time in a century.
The 6,670 feet of earthen dike pulled out of the river delta near the Red Salmon Slough on the Pierce County side of the river caps nearly 12 years of estuary restoration work where the river meets South Sound.
In that time, more than 8 miles of dike have been removed to recover more than 900 acres of estuary on both sides of the river, federal and tribal officials said.
The latest project is on property owned by the Nisqually Indian Tribe. The bulk of the previous work has been on the west side of the river on the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
The recent New York Times article on global warming and the Nisqually watershed was followed up by with a blog post on the Times’ Green blog:
In my article in Thursday’s Times about the future of the Nisqually watershed in Washington State, I mention efforts by conservation groups and land trusts across the country to buy up land parcels that are expected to turn into valuable ecological assets someday — marshes or swamplands, for example — as the sea rolls further inland because of global warming.
However, conservation is not accomplished just by purchasing land. Take, for example, the hope for the eventual conversion of farmland behind the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
Climate scientists suggest that the world’s oceans could rise as much as three feet over the next century as icebergs melt and the seas warm and expand in volume. The Pacific Northwest office of Ducks Unlimited, an environmental group, has done quite a bit of work with computer modeling to figure out what this could mean for wetlands across the region.
The New York Times recently features the Nisqually watershed and how our efforts here are planning for climate change:
For 10,000 years the Nisqually Indians have relied on chinook salmon for their very existence, but soon those roles are expected to reverse.
Based on current warming trends, climate scientists anticipate that in the next 100 years the Nisqually River will become shallower and much warmer. Annual snowpack will decline on average by half. The glacier that feeds the river, already shrunken considerably, will continue to recede.
Play the scene forward and picture a natural system run amok as retreating ice loosens rock that will clog the river, worsening flooding in winter, and a decline in snow and ice drastically diminishes the summer runoff that helps keep the river under a salmon-friendly 60 degrees.
To prepare for these and other potentially devastating changes, an unusual coalition of tribal government leaders, private partners and federal and local agencies is working to help the watershed and its inhabitants adapt. The coalition is reserving land farther in from wetlands so that when the sea rises, the marsh will have room to move as well; it is promoting hundreds of rain gardens to absorb artificially warmed runoff from paved spaces and keep it away from the river; and it is installing logjams intended to cause the river to hollow out its own bottom and create cooler pools for fish.
Read the entire piece here.
Here’s a great video featuring footage from a recent flight over the Nisqually by the many partner organizations that have helped restore and protect the watershed (via nwifc.org).
This is your chance to let your voice be heard on updating how chinook are managed in the Nisqually River. Please sign in and enter your comments, or add your thoughts to someone else’s comments below.
This forum will be open until Friday, May 6.
You can also email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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For more information on the plan itself, here are some resources and background.