Kitsap Sun: Skokomish River to support sockeye, chinook salmon again

Construction has started on the Skokomish River with the expectation that sockeye salmon will return to the river after being absent for nearly a decade.

The Kitsap Sun (subscription required) reported about the construction of two salmon hatcheries and other facilities on the North Fork of the Skokomish River that will support sockeye and chinook salmon runs.

The work is a result of negotiations between the Skokomish Tribe and Tacoma Public Utilities over a new license for the Cushman Dams.

From the story:

Sockeye salmon, known for their red bodies and greenish heads, spawn in or near lakes, where they grow for one to three years before heading out to sea. Some tribal elders from the Skokomish Tribe recall seeing sockeye going up into a natural lake, which was inundated by the Cushman Reservoir when the first dam went in.

Habitat may have been limited by the small size of the original lake, but the idea of restoring sockeye has remained a goal of the tribe, and it became an integral part of the settlement, according to Alex Gouley, the tribe’s habitat manager.

“We got that into the settlement as a priority, based on oral accounts of the elders,” Gouley said. “It will provide another fish for ceremonial and subsistence use by the tribe, as well as recreational opportunities for the state (anglers).”