Search Results for: state of our watersheds

State of Our Watersheds: Summer low flows are worsening as wells are added

The proliferation of exempt wells continues across the Lake Washington, Green and Puyallup river basins, despite evidence that salmon are being hurt. Between 2010 and 2014, nearly 500 new wells were dug across the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s area of interest, likely worsening already existing low water issues. Almost 600 miles of streams across the three watersheds have low flow issues during dry summer months. From the State of Our Watersheds Report, released last year by treaty tribes: Low streamflows are one of many factors that contribute to low productivity and abundance of Chinook and other salmon. Low flows reduce...

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State of Our Watersheds: River flows hurt salmon on the Calawah River

More floods in the winter and lower flows in the summer mean that salmon on the Calawah River are having a harder time. Lower flows in the summer lead to high temperatures that likely kill juvenile salmon before they can leave for the ocean and adult salmon before they can spawn. Higher flows in the winter destroy redds (egg nests) and harm juvenile salmon. This is what salmon face in the Calawah River, where the Quileute Tribe reports decreasing summer flows and increasing flows during the rainy winters. This finding is reported in the State of Our Watersheds Report, recently released...

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State of Our Watersheds: Nooksack floodplains far from Salmon Recovery Plan goal

Although the floodplain in the lower mainstem of the Nooksack River has not been degraded in recent years, the habitat is still a long way from meeting the Salmon Recovery Plan’s long-term goal of returning the floodplain to historic conditions. From the State of Our Watersheds Report, released last year by treaty tribes: Based on the most recent comprehensive wetland study, in 1880 there were approximately 4,754 acres of wetlands within the Nooksack River floodplain; by 1998, the floodplain wetlands had been reduced to less than 10% of that historical area. There has been little change in floodplain wetland...

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State of Our Watersheds: Permit-Exempt Wells Hurt Salmon Habitat

While permit-exempt wells represent a source of water for many landowners in the North Olympic Peninsula, withdrawals through these wells affect groundwater supply, thus affecting salmon habitat. The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe explores the real-time use of this resource in its chapter of the State of Our Watersheds report. Legally, property owners are allowed to withdraw water for domestic purposes without obtaining a water right. There are 1,003 wells that affect groundwater supply and instream flows in the Lower Elwha Area of Concern.   Between 1980 and 2009, 801 wells were completed at a rate of about 27 new...

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State of Our Watersheds: South Sound loses forest bigger than Olympia

Between 2006 and 2011 forest cover in deep South Sound declined by over 18,000 acres. This means that in the Squaxin Island Tribe’s area of interest, we lost a forest larger than the city of Olympia (only about 12,000 acres). This is according to the State of Our Watersheds report by the treaty tribes in western Washington. From the report: Timber harvest, agriculture, and residential and commercial development have substantially altered salmonid habitat throughout South Puget Sound. In the Puget Sound region, forestlands are giving way to cities and urbanized areas at a fairly rapid rate. Research shows that...

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