Pierce County works with many partners including other local governments, state, federal, and tribal stakeholders and non-profit organizations to protect and enhance wild salmon populations. Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Chum and Pink salmon, as well as Steelhead, cutthroat and Bull Trout all call Pierce County’s rivers and streams home. For generations, salmon have been an important part of this area’s culture and economy. It is the job of everyone living and working in Pierce County to help protect these special fish for future generations to help ensure that they also have the quality of life that we currently enjoy.
Lead entities are local, watershed-based organizations created by RCW 77.85 to solicit, develop, prioritize and submit habitat protection and restoration projects for funding by the state's Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB).
The water resource inventory areas (WRIAs) 10 and 12 are also called the Chambers-Clover Creeks and Puyallup River watersheds. Both WRIAs are included in one lead-entity. The lead entity has developed a strategy to recover salmon in these watersheds. The strategy guides the ranking of salmon recovery project proposals and can be found in the Resource Library below.
At a regional scale, there is a Salmon Recovery Plan with individual chapters for each watershed (in most cases). You can find more information about recovery plans fromPuget Sound Partnership.
In 1999, Pierce County, the Puyallup Tribe, the Pierce Conservation District and others signed letters of agreement for Surface Water Management (SWM) to coordinate with partners to identify and prioritize projects to restore salmon habitat. Those projects are submitted to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for state grants.
The Pierce County Lead Entity, staffed by SWM, has citizen and technical committees comprised of representatives of Pierce and King County, cities, towns, tribes, the conservation district, salmon enhancement organizations, non-profit organizations, citizens and state agency staff. Together, we have been extremely successful in getting funds to build projects that improve salmon habitat in the Puyallup, Carbon and White rivers, as well as South Prairie, Boise Creek, Chambers and Clover creeks and important tributaries in both watersheds. Many of these projects have also reduced flood hazards by removing flood prone houses and structures and building setback levees that create habitat and protect upland properties.
The lead entity participates in salmon recovery planning both locally and regionally. Our Salmon Habitat Protection and Restoration Strategy helps guide the ranking of projects for our grant round, in which we submit a ranked project list for Pacific Coast Recovery Fund (PCSRF) funds, which are matched with state dollars and referred to as Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) funds, and also Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration funds.
Our work only addresses one of the 4 “H” ’s of salmon recovery, which is habitat. The other “H”’s are harvest, hatchery and hydro (power) which are managed by the tribes and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and hydropower industry and regulations. Some notable projects in our Lead Entity area include the Soldiers Home Setback Levee, the Calistoga Levee Setback project and more recently, the Countyline levee setback project. We have done acquisition and restoration projects on South Prairie Creek, Boise Creek, the Carbon and White Rivers, as well as acquisitions of flood prone properties on the Puyallup River. Many projects that benefit flood control and improve water quality are also a benefit to salmon.
The members of the Lead Entity also strive to share our passion and spread the word about the importance of salmon and the link between healthy salmon runs and the great quality of life afforded by the wonderful natural resources in our area.
In addition to the SRFB/PSAR grant round for WRIA's 10 and 12, we also run the King County Cooperative Watershed Management Grant rounds for the King County portion of WRIA 10. The grant rounds generally begin in the new year, after we receive grant round updates from RCO and the Puget Sound Partnership (The regional salmon recovery organization for Puget Soud). This is also when we can add official members to our citizens committee. Public participation is always welcome at our meetings.