Using Science to Improve Salmon Habitat and Our City (City of Seattle, 2002)
Scientists examine the contents of a beach net used in research in Lake Washington research in 2001. Science has helped us learn about the chinook's complex life cycle. A chinook travels thousands of miles as it matures from an egg to a fry, then to a smolt and finally to a fully-grown adult fish ready to spawn. Science has also helped us understand that chinook need certain kinds of habitat at each stage of their life cycle to survive and thrive. Many different threats jeopardize this habitat.
Until recently, we knew very little about what chinook salmon need when they migrate through an urban environment. Most of our knowledge about chinook came from scientific studies done far from cities. We understood how these fish typically behave in a mountain stream, but not what they do as they swim near docks in Lake Washington, or along the steep banks of the Ship Canal and the Duwamish.
Today we are beginning to understand much more about chinook salmon in Seattle. In our Urban Blueprint for Habitat Protection and Restoration, we took a hard look at existing studies on chinook in Seattle's waterways, as well as studies from other urban areas. We also examined the results from very new research funded by the City in Lake Washington and Lake Union. We harnessed this knowledge to identify priorities for restoring habitat in Lake Washington, Lake Union, the Ship Canal, the Duwamish Waterway, Elliott Bay, and Puget Sound Shorelines.
Sound science will continue to guide our decisions about what to do for salmon. Without sound science guiding us, we could fail to restore the most important chinook habitat, or worse yet, make existing problems even larger.