Sustaining our Traditions and Culture
Sustaining our Traditions and Culture
Tulalip Natural Resources Department close up image of shorebirds in nearby restored habitat
Sustaining our Traditions and Culture

Smolt Traps

In May of 1999, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Puget Sound Chinook salmon as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). This listing included Chinook salmon from the Snohomish River Basin (Skykomish and Snoqualmie populations). Similarly, decreases in many runs of Puget Sound Coho salmon have resulted in a designation as a species of concern under ESA. The recovery of these species depends upon improving the effectiveness of habitat, harvest, and hatchery management across the basin. In order to achieve such improved effectiveness, additional information is necessary to fill important data gaps within the Snohomish system, including information on Chinook and Coho salmon abundance, productivity, spatial structure, and diversity (Snohomish Basin Salmonid Recovery Technical Committee, 2005). Information about the trends and inter-annual variability in these population parameters is critical to inform salmon recovery efforts, provides basic information on the productivity and capacity of the system, and can lead to significant improvements in harvest management modeling and run forecasting. Additionally, the monitoring of production and survival along with other physical, chemical, and biological conditions provides a means to evaluate recovery actions, habitat conditions, and potential ecological trajectories in the basin.

A key project helping to provide information on Snohomish salmon populations has been the operation of two rotary screw traps in the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers. Over the last 12 years, these projects involved trapping and enumerating juvenile Chinook and Coho salmon (as well as several un-targeted species) as they emigrate from the Snohomish River Basin to the Puget Sound. The goals of these trapping efforts are to estimate Chinook and Coho salmon natural production, migration patterns, and freshwater survival. These goals are accomplished through the direct quantification of juvenile salmon emigrations, evaluation of trap efficiency, and assessment of influential environmental attributes (Kubo, Finley, Nelson, 2013).

The Tulalip Tribes (TTT) trapping project has been classified on a multi-agency basis as a project of high priority for monitoring juvenile salmonids in the Snohomish River basin. TTT has worked in close collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), NOAA Fisheries, University of Washington (UW), Long Live the Kings (LLTK), Seattle City Light (SCL), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC), and other agencies to aid in better co-management of Snohomish basin salmon and steelhead stock assessment monitoring and run forecasting. Cooperative management agreements and in-kind contributions have been made to these agencies regularly from TTT in order to better assist in monitoring the status and trends of Snohomish Basin salmonid stocks.

Tulalip Natural Resources Department image of smolt trap outmigration chart for Skykomish river.
Tulalip Natural Resources Department image of smolt trap outmigration chart for Snoqualmie river.


Tulalip Natural Resources Department line art image of forest or wetland area