Puget Sound steelhead populations are in severe decline. And most stocks have earned a “threatened” designation under the ESA, including Nisqually River fish. This year scientists are tracking juvenile steelhead from the Nisqually in an attempt to find out why they are not surviving long enough to make it to the ocean.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Nisqually tribe, and NOAA are participating in research that is implanting 100 juvenile steelhead with trackers before releasing them into the river. Several receiver stations are set up along the journey north, through Puget Sound and Strait of Juan De Fuca. Importantly, researchers are looking for where and when the signals die off.
“We know when they leave. We know how long they’re in Puget Sound …with some additional research we should be to be able to take actions now that will improve their survival and get more fish back to the Nisqually,” says Nisqually Natural Resources Manager David Troutt.