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IF YOU FIX IT, THEY WILL COME — FAST!
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP — UPSTREAM, THAT IS — for Puget Sound salmon. One example is a habitat restoration project started in 2006 that’s already spawning results. At the mouth of Washington’s Skokomish River, dikes and levees installed
decades ago for agriculture blocked almost half the estuary, preventing spawning salmon from
reaching their upstream habitat and pushing young salmon out to sea where they couldn’t
grow as large as necessary to survive their long ocean migrations.
To restore the estuary, the Skokomish Indian Nation teamed up for a joint project with
the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Mason Conservation District
to remove dikes across 300 acres of historical marsh, and simply let nature take its course.
Once reconnected, the river and regular tidal flow began to form a quality fish habitat naturally in the estuary. Today 20 different fish species are swimming through the restored habitat,
including threatened Chinook and summer chum salmon. — r.l.