pacific coast salmon: stillaguamish tribe natural resources

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This presentation is given to the Snohomish County Beach Watcher Training Class every year. It covers salmon life cycle, cultural and social benefits of salmon, salmon habitat and stewardship.


  • Stillaguamish Tribe Department of Natural Resources
  • What We Will Cover Co-managing the Fisheries Natural history and cultural significance Life cycle redds to estuary Fish identification with live hatchery fish Life cycle to the sea and back Life history requirements Status of local stocks Challenges and solutions
  • The Stillaguamish Tribe
  • Salmon evolved about 40 million years agofollowing the end of the Cretaceous Period. (Fish had been around since 400 million years ago.) Raven 1986
  • Over the next 20 million years, global cooling shifted productivity from fresh water to the oceans, and increased food availability.Pacific salmon ( ) separated from Atlantic salmon ( )20 million years ago. Speciation occurred with emergence of different types of water systems: lakes, rivers, small streams, etc.
  • For example: the Extinct by the Pleistocene 2Million Years ago By Stanton Fink (left) and Ray Troll (right)
  • Why care about salmon?
  • Food
  • Sense of Place
  • Jobs
  • Food for wildlifeWatershed nutrientsQuinn 2005 (ecosystem services)
  • How are salmon different from 99% of other fish?
  • Anadromous & Semelparous Migratory fish that live mostlyat sea and breed in fresh water. And breed once in their lifetime.
  • Alevin Emergence FryAdult The Salmon lifecycle Parr Smolt
  • Average eggs laid 2000 4000, largely depending on size. Eggs and alevin need cold, oxygenated water in the gravel. Time to hatching depends on temperature & oxygen. In general, . At 5C 87 120 days, depending on species. At 10C, 60 80 days. Quinn 2005
  • Alevins with yolk sacs in the gravel, this is a very sensitive stage. Alevins tend toburrow throughspaces betweengravel and orient themselves upstream.
  • Emerging Chinook fry (in the Stillaguamish River, this happens in about four to five months so Feb to March) Survival rates Eggs to hatching: pink 11%, Coho 25%, Chinook 38%Egg to migrant Chinook survival based on Stillaguamish smolt trap data averages 10%.
  • From alevin to fry now what?
  • Pinks and chumtend to headstraight to theestuary.Chinook will rearupriver if suitablehabitat is available.In Alaska, moreChinook arestream-type.Chinook spendmore time inestuaries than pinkor chum (this canmean Puget Sound Quinn 2005at large).
  • Coho tend to spend ayear in freshwater, .Trout may spend asmany as three years.They feed on algaeand aquatic insectsfound on streambottoms or in ponds. Quinn 2005As they grow they willeat small fish. They need places of refuge & well oxygenated water. They can be territorial.
  • Changes that OccurIon regulation, color, thyroid hormones, shape. Fish become silvery and elongated Chinook fry left and in the process of smolting, right. (Quinn/Bell)
  • Coho frySmolting(Quinn/Bell)
  • Smoltification: (teenage fish)Triggered by internal rhythms, size, day length, temperature.
  • Lets look at some live fish!
  • Credit: Laurie Weitkamp
  • Back to the fish lifecycle..
  • Optimal Out-migrant Habitat Eelgrass beds Salt marsh Pocket estuaries
  • Small pocketestuaries formbehind small spits,often withfreshwater inputs,are good foodsources andprotection frompredators.
  • Our salmon travel to the North Pacific Ocean. (Salmon tagged at sea and recovered in N Am or Japan. Quinn 2005)At sea, salmon tend to stay in near surface waters and move toward surface at night (as does zooplankton).
  • Life at Sea Populations from other rivers converge. Gain 90% of their bodyweight, eating fish, squid, crustaceans. Orient by using magneto-reception, N ocean temperatures.
  • Life at SeaMarine survival estimates: 5% or less Overall survival is less than 1% - but given appropriate habitat this may be enough to sustain a population.
  • Life at SeaSalmon get caught and we like to eat them!
  • The Return to the Estuary (pre-spawning)
  • Different species spawn in different places Sockeye Chum Chinook Pollard et al 97
  • Different species spawn in different places
  • Life HistoryRequirements
  • Cold, clear gravel bottomed streams surrounded by woods Temperatures need to be below 8 Celsius or 46F, water 30 60 cm deep, flowing 30 100 cm/second.
  • Nests or Redds made of gravel and rock
  • Buffers: Essential Healthy Salmon Habitat Benefits 1. Water filtration & transpiration 2. Insect habitat 3. Wood supply for in-stream use 4. Shelter 5. Shade 6. Slows current at banks Plus: 7. Predator deterrent Carbon sink/oxygen Wildlife habitat (birds, bees, mammals)
  • Fish Food
  • Sockeyerear in lakeseatingzooplanktonLeft to right: Daphnia,Diaptomus, Cyclops Quinn 2005
  • In the estuary Chinook eatzooplankton and invertebrates, smallfish, larval crabs and as they grow eatlarger fish.Crab Neomysis top &zoeae top, Corophium amphipodsCrabmegalopbottomBy Greg Jensen Ctenophore
  • Threats facing salmon today and efforts at recovery Habitat loss and degradation Over fishing Pollution Changing ocean conditions
  • Puget Sound Chinook were listed as threatened under the endangered species act in 1999. At least 34% of Puget Sound salmon stocks are depressed, in critical condition, or already extinct.In CA, OR, ID, & WA, salmon are now extinct in 40% of therivers in which they historically spawned. 30 50% ofremaining stocks are in jeopardy.
  • Local Threatened Stock Status Less than 7%historic estimatesNorth Fork Chinook: 1060South Fork 188 (Includes Skykomish andSnoqualmie rivers)Chinook (Sky and Sno)Bull trout (NF Sky, SF Sky, Salmon Creek,Troublesome Creek)
  • 1988-2012 Chinook Escapement
  • 1988-2012 Chum Escapement
  • 1988-2012 Coho Es


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