Quinault Water Protection Program
The Quinault Water Protection Program believes that water is a life force on the Quinault Indian Nation lands. Water moves in the form of ocean, river, glacier, lake, fog, wetland, seep and spring, not to mention 120 inches of annual rain.
Three major rivers, the Queets, Raft, and Quinault, flow west from the Olympic Mountains across the Quinault Indian Nation to the ocean. For centuries villages have been raised along the banks of these rivers that provide spawning and rearing grounds for a diversity of fish including the iconic “blueback” sockeye salmon, steelhead, bull trout, coho, chinook and chum salmon.
The Quinault Water Protection Program recognizes that water is vital for:
- Drinking water
- Fishing economy
- Fish and wildlife habitat
- Cultural observances
- Community life and recreation
Clouds, fog and forest growth help keep temperatures moderate all year round. This moisture and moderate temperature ensure plant growth and provides habitat for a wide variety of creatures. Prairie wetlands throughout the Quinault Indian Nation provide open grazing for deer and elk, habitat for birds and smaller mammals, and sunlight and rich nutrients for berries and other food, medicinal and basketry plants.
Twenty five miles of unspoiled Pacific Coast shoreline comprise the western border of the Nation. Coastal waters provide razor clams, Dungeness crabs, black cod, halibut, mussels and seaweeds for traditional foods and medicines. They are home to seals, otters, whales and hundreds of species of birds. Tidal pools feature sea anemones and other marine creatures.
The Quinault Water Protection Program monitors water quality in its rivers, in Lake Quinault and along the coast. The Quinault Division of Natural Resources has a water quality program to help the Nation sustainably maintain cool clean water for fish, wildlife and human uses.
Quinault Water Protection History
Over the past century, removal of old-growth forests and large woody debris destabilized the Quinault River floodplain and resulted in a nearly complete loss of cool, stable, off channel salmon habitat where blueback can spawn. The Upper Quinault River above Lake Quinault now comprises immature red alder growing in a shallow, braided river with few side channels.
In 2007, the Quinault Indian Nation declared that recovery of the blueback to sustainable levels was a national priority. A long-term (100-year) restoration plan for the Upper Quinault River that focuses on land acquisition and restoration projects was created. In 2008 the QDNR began engineering and constructing log jams in the Alder Creek portion of the Upper Quinault River floodplain. The massive log jams are carefully built to form natural pools and channels that salmon will use. In some cases spruce, alder or cottonwoods are planted on or along the log jams to help establish a new floodplain forest that will stabilize the river channels and sediment.
Environmental Protection Manager, Daniel Ravenel » 360.276.8215 x7301
Water Quality Manager, Elyse Wulfkuhle » 360.276.8215 x7340
Water Quality Technician, Ryan Miller » 360.276.8215 x7303
Fish Habitat Biologist, Ben Majsterek » 360.276.8215 x7305
Wetland Specialist, Janice Martin » 360.276.8215 x7342
Additional Quinault Water Protection Project Resources:
Source Water Protection (U.S. EPA)