Salmon depend on habitats that are drastically altered from their historic form. Over a hundred years of human population growth, unsustainable commercial exploitation, and poorly managed urban development have consistently ignored the complex ecological needs of salmon. Individual small changes in a large landscape may seem insignificant. However, these changes become very significant as they add up over years. This “death by a thousand cuts” continues due to regulatory and political failures that we work to fix.
Current habitat conditions are incapable of supporting the healthy salmon populations the Tulalip Tribes relied on since time immemorial. Threats to habitat and salmon are also increasing, primarily through pressures from development and other land use changes. Between 2010 and 2025 the population in the Snohomish River watershed is expected to grow by 35%. Our salmon recovery staff review growth management practices to help accommodate this inevitable growth without further habitat loss. We also facilitate habitat restoration and protection actions, and monitor where and how habitat is lost to guide adaptations in management.
The Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Department is committed to recovering salmon populations in Puget Sound. We collaborate with local, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations to guide recovery actions and management decisions. We are encouraged by improvements in harvest and hatchery management over the preceding decades, as well as increases in restoration work, and the adoption of a no-net-loss policy in the state Growth Management Act. However, despite these improvements, habitat loss is ongoing and salmon populations continue to decline. Restoration by itself will not lead to recovery. Without a more effective regulatory framework to prevent habitat loss, restoration and protection efforts will not realize net-gains in habitat. Without habitat gains, the persistence of these iconic Puget Sound species is threatened along with the Tulalip culture that depends on them.