Snow-Salmon Watershed Ecosystem

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Ecosystem site snow-salmon.png
The Salmon-Snow watershed system is a lowland watershed that enters Puget Sound at the head of Discovery Bay in the large Salmon-Snow Coastal Inlet complex. A variety of restoration efforts are underway in the nearshore, largely led by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. This ecosystem sitea unit from the nearshore project or watershed characterization watersheds that defines a ecologically cohesive site for management is a critical element of the Hood Canal summer chum recovery effort.

Efforts

Notes

  • Watershed boundaries differ between PSNERP and Watershed characterization project each having some minor error, With PSNERP data erroneously including a portion of the Jimmycomelately Watershed Ecosystem.
  • Lull 2010 describes Olympia oyster restoration in Discovery Bay, including a population in the coastal inlet.
  • WDFW SCORE provides data on Summer chum returns, with increasing returns following supplemental production using wild returns for broodstock.
  • PSNERP has developed a conceptual design for restoration.
  • The Snow Creek floodplain appears less confined than the Salmon Creek system.
  • The upper western watershed flows from the Olympic National Forest.
  • Other efforts have been focussed on the Crocket Lake Wetlands.

Nearshore Strategies Data Report

Cereghino et al 2012 completed a soundwide analysis to identify and describe coastal inlet sites in Puget Sounds as part of a nearshore ecosystem restoration strategy (using remote sensing data c. 2000-2006). The following narrative was developed to support distribution and use of analysis results:

Coastal Inlet Site 227, also known as Salmon/Snow Estuary, is one of 7 coastal inlets identified in the Juan de Fuca Sub-basin. This embayment had a historic length of 6201 meters, with 82.2 acres of wetland, receiving flows from a 116.4 square km watershed. Based on these metrics, it ranks 1 out of 7 in its subbasin, and scores 98 out of 100 point in terms of size and complexity among all Puget Sound Coastal Inlets. The PSNERP Strategy Analysis assigned this site to group P8, a medium group of 28 sites where very large coastal watersheds flow into large embayments with extensive wetlands.Over five generations of coastal inlet development, mapping suggests this embayment may have lost 44% of its historical embayment shoreline length, and 93% of current shoreline has evidence of tidal flow degradation. An estimated 28% of the nearshore zone, and 1% of the contributing watershed has impervious surfaces greater than 10%. Based on these metrics, this site ranks 2 out of 7 in its sub-basin, and scores 75 out of 100 points among all Puget Sound coastal inlets, in terms of the intensity and complexity of degradation. The PSNERP Strategy Analysis assigned this site to group D4, a moderate group of 23 sites with extensive modification of shorelines, but below average levels of development in the nearshore and shoreline and variable evidence of lost length. Based on this assignement, the site is recommended for a management approach focussed on exploring the potential for restoration of large scale ecosystem process, with the goal of developing self-sustaining ecosystem services.