The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board this week released the 2012 biennial State of the Salmon in Watersheds report and with it launched a new, interactive Web site that allows people to see how salmon are doing in their community’s streams and rivers.
“This is an exciting new approach to our reporting on salmon recovery,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, home of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, which created the report and Web site.
“For the first time, you can sit at your computer at home and learn about whether the number of salmon are increasing or decreasing in your county, if the rivers and streams in your area are too polluted or too warm for salmon, and what’s being done to make things better. It’s the first web site in Washington that allows people to see how the state’s investment in salmon recovery is working.”
The web site puts online what previously was available as a printed biennial report to the Legislature, called the State of Salmon in Watersheds, and provides more extensive maps and data, pulled from many state and local organizations.
“Washington State has been investing in salmon recovery for more than a decade, and we are starting to see some positive effects,” Cottingham said. “In some areas of the state salmon populations are increasing. But we still have a long way to go until all listed species of salmon are recovered enough to be removed from the federal Endangered Species Act list."
Salmon need lots of cool, clean water to survive, as well as healthy habitat where they rest, feed, hide from predators, and spawn. The State of Salmon in Watersheds report measures Washington’s progress in those areas. Some findings from the new, online report:
--The quality of Washington’s waters, by some measures important to salmon, has improved slightly since 1992.
-- Communities continue to make progress implementing actions in recovery plans to restore and protect priority habitat, improve hatcheries, and make dams more fish friendly.
--61 percent of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s hatchery programs are meeting or expected to meet scientific standards for proper management to ensure conservation of wild salmon and steelhead.
--Washington has been managing fishing to ensure that salmon and steelhead species at risk of extinction are not over harvested. In the past 10 years, Endangered Species Act limits to the amount of fish that can be caught have been met 90 percent of the time, for all but one population.
See the report at www.StateofSalmon.wa.gov.