There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment that follows hard work, and that’s exactly how we’re feeling after reviewing the results of the 2014 State of Salmon in Watersheds Report for Hood Canal! This week, the Kitsap Sun covered the State of Salmon report, primarily highlighting the work within the Hood Canal. For those unfamiliar, the State of Salmon in Watersheds is released every two years and aims to report the different ways in which Washingtonians have “responded to the challenges of protecting and restoring salmon and steelhead to healthy status.” The report covers statewide and regional health considering 3 categories of indicators, including: fish, watershed health, and plan implementation (You can access the report here).
The Kitsap Sun’s coverage indicates that Hood Canal summer chum are one of only two stocks nearing their respective recovery goals, acknowledging Hood Canal chum as “one of the few bright spots” in the State of Salmon report. Of the reports, 15 surveyed salmon populations (all of which were declared at risk for extinction and listed under the Endangered Species Act), Hood Canal summer chum and Snake River fall Chinook were the only two species listed as nearing their recovery goals. It is important to meet these ostensibly discouraging results with a firm understanding of the time and dedication these projects require, and appreciate—as dictated by Kaleen Cottingham, director of the state Recreation and Conservation office—“that recovering salmon isn’t going to happen overnight.” This mindset allows us to recognize successes and continue to move forward encouraged.
As the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, we continually contribute to the hefty task of recovering our region’s salmon populations and are pleased to have consequently been met with optimistic results in this report. Since 2000, HCSEG has been operating the Union River Chum Trap, working to recover the river to a sustainable population by 2003. The effective reestablishment of these individuals has since allowed for their use as broodstock to repopulate the Tahuya River. Just Tuesday, HCSEG staff released 60,000 summer chum fry from the Tahuya Rearing Site into the Tahuya River. The final fry from last year’s spawning will be released this Thursday.
As one of four salmon species within Hood Canal that are listed, summer chum face many challenges in their recovery, including population growth, climate change, and habitat loss. However, the results of this report are hopeful, stating that there is “good reason to believe” that Hood Canal’s summer chum can recover. The report highlights strengths and weaknesses, offering both encouragement and renewed determination for future efforts.
You can learn more about HCSEG’s efforts to recover this stock here.