Critical Habitat projects are our state’s primary tool for conserving important fish and wildlife habitat. These projects protect the rich and diverse habitats in our forests, prairies, and wetlands. These funds help maintain our state’s biodiversity and protect species that are popular for hunting, birding, and other outdoor recreation, and are critical for the health of our salmon and fish populations.
The Salmon and Snow Creek Estuary project will protect premier critical summer chum, salmon habitat and excellent habitat for Puget Sound Chinook and coho, sturgeon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, shellfish, shorebirds, waterfowl, eagles and elk. Salmon Creek is the stronghold of ESA listed Strait of Juan de Fuca summer chum salmon. 1999 returns exceeded the summer chum returns to all other Strait of Juan de Fuca streams combined. It’s stable spawning habitat and high quality estuarine rearing habitat are essential to the survival of this salmon stock. Salmon Creek also contains the highest seasonal concentration of white sturgeon in Washington (1995 & 96 data). ESA listed Puget Sound Chinook likely use the estuary for rearing, and coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat spawn in both Salmon and Snow Creeks. Shorebirds, waterfowl and shellfish are abundant in the estuary. Bald and Golden eagles feed on salmon carcasses along the creeks and in the intertidal areas. Roosevelt elk use the site. The project area encompasses about 300 areas of prime habitat proposed for easement or acquisition. Included are the estuary and associated tidelands, wetlands and riparian corridors that together contain nearly 2 miles of beach and 3 miles of anadromous stream. This is a single-phase project to protect fish and wildlife habitat. Other elements (public access, interpretive and wildlife viewing facilities) could be incorporated later. The scope of this project is to complete demolition of structures on the Andrews and Larrance properties, which were acquired with funding through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.