With only 210 adult chinook salmon returning to the north and middle forks, and 120 returning to the south fork to spawn in 2005, fish managers are grappling with how to restore fish populations. Even though activities such as construction, farming and logging degraded habitat, restoration must still accommodate the river’s human neighbors.
About 260 people — tribal members, government agency employees, environmental group members, volunteers and students — gathered Thursday at the Lakeway Inn in Bellingham for the 11th annual Salmon Summit. Tickets were $45 for most participants.
The conference reviewed the status of salmon habitat in the Nooksack River watershed, reported on restoration work that has been completed, and outlined future projects and strategies.
Chinook salmon and bull trout are listed as threatened on the federal Endangered Species List.
“We’re not going to be able to restore everything and all the processes (to their historic quality),” said Ned Currence of the Nooksack tribe’s natural resources department. “We need to work with what we have and set priorities.”