Healthy Waterways, Forests and Salmon Runs

On April 7th, one of our interns, Jacob Weber, and I met three biologists from the Suquamish Tribe – Steve Todd, Hanna Brush, and Theo Suver – at the Big Tree Trailhead on the Preserve. We then met up with Jon Oleyar, also a biologist with the Suquamish Tribe, at the smolt traps in Hidden Valley.

Smolt trap in the water with trees behind and blue skies

The smolt traps are incredibly helpful tools. They capture smolts running through Wildcat and Lost Creeks just before they join together at the convergent zone to become Chico Creek. Hanna and Theo helped Jon count the smolts to gather data on the health of salmon runs today and what future runs may look like. For those who don’t know, our creeks have some of the healthiest salmon runs in Western Washington and the restoration work that we did on the creeks this past year will only serve to make those runs more productive over the years.

After that, we checked the status of the new plants in Hidden Valley and then took a walk out to Big Tree. After viewing the new deck, I led the group up Lost Creek to show them some of the larger Western red cedars trees at the Preserve.

We closed out the tour by traveling uphill to the perched wetland and headed north until we could see Wildcat Creek. After lunch, our group headed southeast back to the Big Tree trail.

It was a great day of sharing for me, but also a day to reflect on all the restoration projects, planting and partnerships that are building the Foundation’s legacy of conservation and stewardship. Everyone was very complimentary of the restoration work that we’ve done and excited for the work ahead.

We hope to see you out at the Preserve this summer. We also welcome you to reach out if we can offer a tour for your school or local group or to simply learn more about the Preserve.

– Jeff Wirtz, President