Quinault Salmon Recovery Program
The Quinault Salmon Recovery Program believes that the management of salmon has to be looked at as a resource that must be used to its greatest potential. The Quinault Indian Nation relies on salmon for food, recreation, jobs and cultural traditions. In the 1990s, Washington salmon were encountering serious obstacles to their survival; wild salmon were disappearing from historic breeding streams and barriers to fish mobility between spawning waters and the ocean was a large reason why.
Private forest landowners responded to the threat by entering into collaboration with tribes, conservationists, and local, state and federal government agencies. The hard work done since then, a program of stream buffering, road and culvert repairs, and scientific observation, has been instrumental in reversing the trend to make recovery of these very important fish populations an achievable goal.
The Quinault Salmon Recovery Program notes that sockeye salmon native to the Quinault River are one of seven genetically distinct populations of sockeye in the Pacific Northwest. Quinault River sockeye, also known as bluebacks, return from the ocean and spend three to 10 months in Lake Quinault prior to moving on to spawn in the Upper Quinault River. While in the lake, bluebacks subsist on their fat reserves.
Quinault Salmon Recovery Program Goal
In general, the goal of the Quinault Salmon Recovery Program is for the Quinault sockeye population to reach the point that it will become sustainable on its own. Biological recovery for a salmon species means that it is naturally self-sustaining, or enough fish spawn in the wild and return year after year so they are likely to persist in the long run, defined as the next 100 years. The species also has to be resilient enough to survive catastrophic changes in the environment, including natural events, such as floods, earthquakes, storms, and changes in ocean productivity.
From cold, clear streams high in the Olympic Mountains to open saltwater, Quinault salmon traverse the waters of the Quinault Indian Nation. If our waterways are healthy for salmon, they will be healthy for people too.
Several barriers come in play in the battle for salmon recovery by the Quinault Salmon Recovery Program:
- Roads – Roads can get in the way of salmon swimming home to spawn
- Culverts – Culverts were often built too high, too small or in other ways that bar the salmon from moving upstream
- Stormwater – Water that moves over roads pick up toxic stormwater which drains into rivers
- Industrial and Agricultural Runoff – Introduces pollutants into waterways which impacts salmon habitat
- Water – Salmon like water to be cool and plentiful
- Stream Flow – Demand for water being pulled out of streams impacts salmon survival
- Unpaved Roads – Rains flowing across unpaved roads creates muddy water which restricts water flow and oxygen that salmon need to survive
- Development – Changes natural processes and damages the places where salmon grow and feed
Fisheries Senior Scientist, Larry Gilbertson » 360.276.8215 x7261
Habitat Management Scientist, Bill Armstrong » 360.276.8215 x7240
Enhancement Biologist, Dan Fielding » 360.276.8215 x7502
Fisheries Operations Manager, Tyler Jurasin » 360.276.8215 x7472
Environmental Scientist, Mark Mobbs » 360.276.8215 x7292
Additional Quinault Salmon Recovery Program Resources:
State of Salmon (WA State)