Puyallup Tribe operates two of the five hatcheries on the Puyallup River, playing a vital role in salmon restoration and commercial fishing alongside non-tribal facilities.
While the state-run facilities are up and running elsewhere in the basin following the flood in 2009, budget cuts there are further putting strains on resources. That means partnerships with everyone involved are more critical than ever.
“You can’t just do work alone anymore,” said Russ Ladley, resource protection manager. “It has to be a partnership.”
The Tribe’s fisheries operations, for example, just completed a $650,000 vehicle bridge on National Forest land across the lower Huckleberry as a way to better access fish-rearing grounds. The bridge will be open to hikers and other nature lovers. The Tribe spent another $250,000 for an acclimation pond on private land on Clearwater to provide for spring Chinook runs.
The state-run facility at Voight Creek is operating, but its budget has been cut. That translates to a proposed reduction there of Coho from 800,000 to 400,000 next year that the Tribe hopes to avoid through a cost-sharing partnership with the state.
The partnerships are paying off in some species, while other species are continuing to see declines.
Chinook and steelhead counts are continuing to decline much like they are doing around the Pacific Northwest in general. Chum and pinks counts are on the rise, however.