Recognizing the priceless heritage of the Nisqually River, in 1985 the Washington State Legislature directed the creation of the first comprehensive management plan for the river and its watershed. Over 30 years later, the members of the Nisqually River Council continue to steward and monitor the health of our waters, wildlife, and communities.
The Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan is intended to foster a vibrant Nisqually River basin that respects and honors scenic beauty of the watershed, the diverse animal, plant, and human life it supports, and the health and productivity of its lands and waters. This plan embraces our past and serves as a foundation for our future, as we adapt to a changing climate, growing human populations, and risks to salmon, wildlife, and natural resources. It respects the traditions and heritage of our watershed, and the lands that are the foundation of its environmental, social, and economic health. Our vision of sustainability is founded in a belief that stewardship is an everyday practice, that we all have a role to play, and that all of the watershed’s voices are essential as we navigate a future with unprecedented challenges.
The NWSP provides the guiding framework for the Nisqually River Council (NRC) and its members as we work collaboratively towards that a sustainable future for the watershed. The current NWSP grew out of the 1987 Nisqually River Management Plan, which established the NRC, and now encompasses the entire Nisqually Watershed under a framework of 12 Stewardship Goals addressing the environmental, economic, and social components of sustainability. The NRC monitors and updates these goals on a continuous basis, with a full report and update of the plan every five and ten years, allowing us to manage adaptively towards this shared vision.
In 2018, the Nisqually River Council produced the first comprehensive NWSP Status Report. The Report documents the watershed’s health on measures for each of the 12 NWSP goals. It celebrates the remarkable successes in restoration, recreation planning, and innovative resource management achieved under NRC leadership over the last 30 years. Where necessary, it also identifies challenges, concerns, and gaps in existing data to help guide future study. The NRC’s current priority goals are:
- Ecosystem function, species recovery and biological diversity
- Sustainable resource use
- Environmental education and community engagement
- Sustainable trails and recreation networks
- Sustainable communities and infrastructure
Environmental Sustainability: A viable, healthy natural resource base
I. Protect, restore, and enhance ecosystem function
II. Protect and enhance biological diversity
III. Promote sustainable resource use
IV. Facilitate the appreciation, protection, and enhancement of the watershed through education and participation
Social Sustainability: A community that is healthy, wealthy, resilient, and wise
V. Promote social and environmental justice in local communities
VI. Promote health and wellness in the community
VII. Protect and enhance the network of trails and recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities
VIII. Promote local community identities, cultures, arts, and heritage
IX. Support fully-functioning, integrated communities with the full complement of services
X. Promote the development of sustainable businesses and built communities
XI. Support sustainable tourism and recreation
XII. Enhance economic viability of sustainable agriculture, forestry, and fisheries
Nisqually Watershed Stewardship Plan (2011 update)