The Olympic Peninsula is home to some of the last great places for wild salmon and steelhead in the Lower 48. Of course, it’s the wild steelhead that draw many of us to the OP. But it’s also the huge trees and beautiful brawling rivers that make the OP a destination for fish and anglers alike.
While much of the habitat in the headwaters of OP streams remains intact and protected in Olympic National Park, the lower sections of rivers and many of the lower gradient tributaries outside the Park have been degraded by decades of commercial forestry and other land uses. Tribes, conservation groups like Wild Steelheaders United, and resource agencies have collaborated over the past 20-30 years to restore, reconnect and better protect these altered habitats outside the Park.
Local tribes have shouldered much of this effort. More recently, groups like the Coast Salmon Partnership (CSP) have played major roles. Recently, the CSP hired Noted filmmaker Shane Anderson to create a film about the collective habitat restoration efforts in watersheds like the Quillayute, Queets, Hoh and Quinault Rivers.
To realize the best possible return on our investments in these habitat projects, we must ensure enough wild fish escape fisheries and are available to spawn in the newly restored or newly accessible habitat. This is not an easy balancing act, but the CSP and its stakeholders are working hard to achieve it. Please watch this short film — you’ll get a better understanding of the habitat issues facing wild steelhead on the OP and the variety of actions CSP, TU and others are undertaking to ensure that wild salmon and steelhead will have high quality habitat, and enough fish to sustain and grow the natural populations in these rivers, for decades to come.