Quinault River Upper Watershed Restoration
Just a reminder: we will be posting audio and the actual power point presentations of each speaker, if you would like more details on these talks.
Ed Johnstone, the Quinault Indian Nation’s fisheries commissioner gives a general overview of the Quinault River and the blueback (sockeye) population. The run is an iconic run and is very much connected to the tribe’s culture.
As an aside, Johnstone pointed out that while we’re talking about removing dams on the Elwha, Skokomish and Goldsborough, QIN is fighting against building dams on the Chehalis River watershed.
Bill Armstrong, salmon resources scientist, QIN begins his talk. The upper watershed valley was created by a receding glacier, creating a wide river valley with an incredibly braided river channel. There was also a lot of large wood in the river bed, providing habitat for salmon.
Today, in place of a mature forest, a young forest has changed the habitat in the river. As the river became less braided, the main channel became wider.
Over the same time period as habitat has changed in the upper watershed, the run size of Quinault River sockeye has plummited
Quinault River sockeye are genetically unique, so if we lose these fish, there are no other stocks to replace them. Run timing is also unique compared to other sockeye stocks.
They’re also dealing with a receding glacier in the upper watershed, which is now “essentially gone.” Some of the tributaries to the river have gone completely dry this summer.
General restoration approach is restoring mature old growth forest.