Author: kneumeyer

Beaver relocation expands west of the Cascades

For the fourth year, the Tulalip Tribes’ wildlife program plans to capture beaver in the Snohomish lowlands this summer and relocate them to the upper Skykomish watershed. So far, they have moved about 100 beavers to 13 sites on public land. The project removes nuisance beaver from private property where they can cause flooding. Away from human development, beaver dams can improve salmon habitat significantly by impounding water. Beaver ponds have been found to increase salmon smolt production 80 times more than placing large woody material in streams, said Mike Sevigny, wildlife manager for the Tulalip Tribes. The Tulalip...

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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: Six of 12 pocket estuary projects done in Whidbey basin

Six of 12 pocket estuary projects prioritized in the Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan have been completed since 2005. The 12 pocket estuaries total 76.8 acres of usable habitat area within a day’s swimming distance for Skagit River juvenile chinook. The restored pocket estuaries are estimated to increase chinook smolt production by over 48,000 smolts. These findings were included in the treaty tribes’ 2016 State of Our Watershed Report. Since the 2012 report, projects in Turners Bay and Dugualla Heights were completed. Researchers found that more than two-thirds of historic pocket estuaries in the Whidbey basin were completely lost to...

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Stillaguamish restoration restores wetlands, protects farmland

The Stillaguamish Tribe is reconnecting 88 acres of coastal wetlands to tidal influence, while also protecting the surrounding farmland. “Just like agriculture, we are in the food business, except our crops are fish, wildlife and culturally important plants,” said tribal Chairman Shawn Yanity. In 2012, the tribe purchased the property along the Stillaguamish River and named it zis a ba for a former tribal chief. Formerly part of Port Susan, the estuary was isolated from the floodplain by a dike built more than 100 years ago to prevent flooding. “We’ve learned through experience, however, that a healthy floodplain is...

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Aerial photos track glacial changes

The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe is monitoring the amount of sediment moving through the watershed as glaciers recede. “The tribe is concerned that global warming is exacerbating the amount and timing of this sediment by exposing steep, loose material in the late summer – prime salmon spawning season,” said Scott Morris, the tribe’s water quality coordinator. A main source of suspended sediment is Glacier Peak. The tribe has access to high-resolution Long Distance and Ranging (LIDAR) images taken by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2014 and 2015. But LIDAR, which surveys topography with an airborne laser, is expensive. The Sauk-Suiattle...

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  • Northwest Treaty Tribes is a service of Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

  • Northwest Treaty Tribes Magazine for Spring 2017 Available Now

  • Billy Frank Jr Memorial Edition of the NWIFC Magazine Available Here

  • Treaty Rights at Risk

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