In recent years, the Northwest's wild salmon runs have been under threat, with numbers hovering near 10 percent of their historical levels.
In response, local non-profits and government have been working to restore salmon habitat. Stewardship Partners, a Seattle based non-profit has been working for ten years in the Snoqualmie Valley with private landowners to replant the river and stream banks in the Valley.
On Saturday, April 20, in honor of Earth Day, 40 Boeing volunteers came to help Stewardship Partners restore a quarter mile of the river bank that runs along the main-stem Snoqualmie and Ames Creek.
For five tireless hours the volunteers planted over 1000 plants, all native species specific to river restoration. The Snoqualmie River winds its way for over 40 miles from the Snoqualmie Falls to meet with the Skykomish River just west of Monroe and is home to more wild salmon than any other river in King County.
The watershed supports wild runs of EPA listed Chinook and Steelhead as well as wild Coho, pink, and chum. In addition to salmon recovery these plantings support bird and other wildlife and add value to the farmlands in the floodplain by protecting the land from extensive flood damage.
“This Valley has the potential to be the bread basket for the greater Seattle area both with its wealth of agricultural land and fish. We have worked with private landowners for a decade to ensure the survival of both fish and farms,” says Deborah Oaks, Snoqualmie Stewardship Program Manager for Stewardship Partners.
“Bringing local groups out here to see what is available to them further ensures the survival of both industries. We are so grateful for the support of local agencies and corporations; we couldn’t do this without them.”
This project is part of a larger effort between six partners and five landowners to restore four miles of river bank and remove two culverts to improve fish passage to crucial spawning grounds. Stewardship Partners, Natural Resource Conservation Services, American Farmland Trust, King Conservation District, King County, Department of Ecology and the Snoqualmie Tribe have come together to provide the wide range of necessary support and skill to this large project. Volunteers will also play an essential role in the project's success, Boeing was the first group of volunteers to support this large effort and it looks promising that they will come again.