About Us

With salmon as our guide, we’ve created programs that span from watershed level in-stream recovery, to basin-wide planning efforts, to major international research initiatives.

From our earliest days as a single project in one coastal watershed, through our work as a pioneer of conservation fish rearing in Hood Canal and the San Juan Islands, to our coordination of many impressive regional recovery efforts, LLTK has become an international leader in the improvement of science and management for salmon in Northwest waters.

Our driving force and our central motivation has always been the fish itself. Our founder, Jim Youngren, had a clear vision from day one – to restore salmon and steelhead for the Pacific Northwest. Migrating from remote wild streams through estuaries like the Puget Sound, to the Pacific Ocean and back, salmon connect our communities, bringing the mountains to the sea. Along their journey, they interact with fishers, ferries and freighters, with boaters and swimmers, and with the multitude of other species that inhabit our waterways.

Protecting and preserving salmon requires connecting the dots between the myriad impacts they face during their epic life-cycles, and bringing together the people whom they encounter at each stage to work collectively toward mitigating those impacts. LLTK has been doing just that since 1986: building a brighter future for fish and people.

Our Values

LLTK is all about stewardship of the resource, collaborating with others, achieving real results and continuously learning.  The statements below describe in more detail how these values inform our work.

  • Stewardship: We value the ecological and cultural importance of salmon for the Pacific Northwest and all its people. We are mission-driven to recover Pacific salmon – a keystone species vital to the health of our ecosystems – and to preserve sustainable salmon fishing, a cornerstone of Tribal and non-Tribal ways of life.
  • Collaboration: We value our relationships with rights holders and stakeholders, working together to expand our shared knowledge and implement solutions for salmon recovery. We work across boundaries and disciplines, understanding that creative solutions come from listening to and amplifying diverse voices.
  • Results: We value approaches that deliver results by advancing science, improving management, and driving solutions that target the greatest threats to salmon. We evaluate our work by holding ourselves accountable to salmon recovery goals and the people who share the same environment.
  • Learning: We value learning from multiple ways of knowing and honor opportunities for continuous growth. We learn from and contribute to current science, explore new approaches, facilitate information-sharing, and listen to a diversity of views to improve our work.

Our History

LLTK Founded

LLTK is founded in 1986 by Jim Youngren (pictured) and a group of salmon enthusiasts alarmed by the decline of wild salmon.
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Our First Project

Our first wild fish recovery project begins on the Wishkah River.
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Bringing Salmon to the San Juans

LLTK takes over their founder’s hatchery facility on Orcas Island, to build a Chinook run where none existed before.
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Recovering Wild Salmon in Hood Canal

Lilliwaup Field Station opens as a new center for salmon recovery.
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A Broadening Mandate

As salmon begin to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, LLTK initiates a new strategy as a trusted third-party convener to help navigate complex salmon recovery issues.
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Reforming Hatcheries to Support Wild Fish Recovery and Sustain Fisheries

LLTK is appointed by US Congress to facilitate a scientific review of the largest hatchery system in the world.
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Bringing Hatchery Reform to all Northwest Federal Salmon Hatcheries

LLTK is contracted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to help reform all federal hatcheries in the Pacific Region: from the mountainous Snake River in Idaho through the Columbia River basin and to the Olympic Peninsula.
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Integrating Hatchery Reform with Harvest and Habitat Management

LLTK is entrusted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to lead the development of a new integrated, goal-oriented agency salmon management framework.
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Recovering Steelhead in Hood Canal

LLTK, NOAA Fisheries and six other partners collaborate to assess the effectiveness of hatcheries as a tool for recovering steelhead in Hood Canal.
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Addressing a Major Information Gap in Salmon Recovery: Marine Survival

LLTK joins forces with the Pacific Salmon Foundation of Vancouver, Canada and 60 other entities to determine why juvenile Chinook, coho and steelhead are dying in our combined waters of Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia.
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Bringing a Common Framework to Salmon Recovery

LLTK works with the Puget Sound region to align its watershed-based recovery plans via a common language and a contemporary, adaptive management framework.
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Developing the Technical Basis for a Steelhead Recovery Plan in Hood Canal

LLTK works with salmon recovery partners in Hood Canal to use a standard planning tool to document existing information for four populations as a pilot project for Puget Sound Steelhead recovery planning.
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Determining How a Floating Bridge is Affecting Passing Steelhead and the Hood Canal Environment

LLTK assembles a team of scientists and managers to pinpoint the causes of high fish mortality at the Hood Canal Bridge and determine whether the bridge is lowering water quality throughout Hood Canal.
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Convening Salmon Recovery Partners to share New Science and Best Practices

LLTK co-convenes the biennial Salmon Recovery Conference with the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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Our Board of Directors

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Our Staff

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Our Partners

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