Over the last century, we have lost more than 97 percent of Puget Sound’s wild steelhead population, and that percentage may climb even higher if we don’t speak up today!
There are many factors that have led to the catastrophic loss of steelhead in Puget Sound’s legendary 49 steelhead rivers, from failed hatchery programs to habitat destruction. However, the decline of wild steelhead survival in the marine waters of Puget Sound has also been a major culprit. In fact, since 1980 the percentage of steelhead that enter Puget Sound and survive to adulthood has dropped from more than 3 percent from 1980 – 1984 to less than 0.5 percent from 2005 – 2009.
For the last five years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has championed a project to explore why a growing number of juvenile steelhead are dying in marine waters of Puget Sound. This effort has been quite successful and has provided WDFW a better understanding of where the highest risk areas are as well as what are the most severe causes of steelhead decline.
While much progress has been made, far more work needs to be done to continue studying this issue and developing effective management strategies. Please help ensure the funding is in place for this continued work by emailing your state legislator before February 10 and asking them to support the ‘Recover Puget Sound Steelhead’ request in the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2018 supplemental budget.
The legislature session is short, so make sure you speak up by February 10th to ensure your voice is heard!