Washington Coast Restoration & Resiliency Initiative

Photo by 10,000 Years Institute

Healthy rivers, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat on Washington’s Coast are essential to our communities, ecosystems and economies. Coastal communities have worked tirelessly for decades with limited, inconsistent funding to improve the health of our lands and waters. The Coast continues to experience some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. Given the urgency of both of these needs, this initiative provides a proactive approach to restoration that:

  • addresses the region’s highest priority restoration needs;
  • leverages existing funding;
  • and puts people to work on the Coast restoring our water and lands

Coldwater Connection Campaign

Photo by Mara Zimmerman

The Washington Coast supports abundant and diverse wild populations of salmon, trout, and char. However, access to high quality streams is limited by the more than 4,000 fish passage barriers across the landscape. These barriers function as a ‘miniature dam’ network and prevent fish access to cold water refuges in the summer and low flow refuges in the winter. The Coast Salmon Partnership is taking a landscape view to this problem and finding solutions with the greatest gains for salmon. In collaboration with our partners at the Wild Salmon Center and Trout Unlimited, we are supporting the work of local agencies and governments to prioritize fish barrier corrections and bring the salmon home.

Intrinsic Potential Habitat Models

Not all streams are created equal so how do we protect and restore the best salmon habitat? An Intrinsic Potential model is a tool that calculates the habitat potential for salmon across the landscape. The model takes information gathered through intensive study and applies it to areas where no surveys have been conducted. We can use this information to understand the benefits of protection and restoration in different locations of a watershed. Intrinsic Potential habitat models for the Washington Coast region have been completed for Chinook, coho, and steelhead. This work was informed by local experts and done in collaboration with Wild Salmon Center and the UW Olympic Natural Resources Center.