New post on restoring the Deschutes Estuary on Everyday Olympia

There’s a new post this morning on the importance of restoring the Deschutes River estuary:

We know that South Sound is dying. Squaxin tribal researchers recently conducted a study of how many coho salmon leaving streams in southern Puget Sound actually survive long enough to swim past the Tacoma Narrows. Coho populations have been dropping for more than a decade around here, and we’ve been studying them to understand why.

What we came up with was shocking. Only 3 percent of coho that originated in southern Puget Sound made it past the Tacoma Narrows. Typically around 2 percent of any given salmon run return as adults, so South Sound coho are practically seeing a lifetime’s worth of mortality in only a few miles.

Another reason the non-tribal community argues against restoring the Deschutes River estuary is there are other, more convenient places to restore. They can spend their restoration dollars in places they’ve already decided aren’t better suited for a yacht club or a port. But the Squaxin Island Tribe has no other place to go. The tribe is bound by tradition and by a treaty with the federal government to fish close to home in the same waters they have fished for centuries.

The non-tribal community can point to Budd Inlet and say, “this place is too important economically to ever restore the estuary.” But for the Squaxin Island Tribe, there is no more valuable place to restore than the Deschutes River estuary.

Journalists visit the Headwaters of the Salish Sea


The Squaxin Island Tribe and Taylor Shellfish hosted the 2009 Puget Sound Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources on July 12th.  Fifteen journalists from around the county gathered to learn about the Tribe’s relationship with shellfish and its commercial production in South Sound.  Lynda Mapes from the Seattle Times led the tour.

Charlene Krise, Tribal Council member and Museum Director explained Tribal history at the Squaxin museum.  Then the journalists went out to Chapman Cove in Oakland Bay to dig clams on Taylor property and hear firsthand about water quality issues.   The day ended with Charlene welcoming the journalists to Squaxin Island by asking them to maintain a positive frame of mind while on the island.  A shellfish feast ensued!