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Photo of a beach at low tide, with exposed eelgrass lying flat on the sand.

Ecosystem Solutions Made Local: Guidance Document for the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project

The 7-year active research phase of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project may have concluded with last year’s publication of the Synthesis Report, but that doesn’t mean the work is finished. Learning what causes Salish Sea salmon to die at alarmingly high rates as they enter the marine environment is just the first step for the SSMSP partners. Our ultimate goal is also to equip managers and decision-makers with science-backed strategies to increase their survival.

In February 2022, we released Local Level Salmon Recovery Recommendations Based on the Findings of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a guidance document for local salmon recovery organizations in the United States to put these findings into action. LLTK worked with salmon recovery experts at ESA to create this document, in consultation with local salmon recovery organizations and Tribes, as a toolkit to incorporate the SSMSP’s findings into watershed-level planning and projects. The actions target the issues that the SSMSP identified as key limiting factors for marine survival: local marine food supply and predation hotspots, along with strategies to address contaminants, restore estuaries, manage water quantity, and continue essential monitoring and data collection. In combination with regional-scale tools, including regional recovery plans and co-management processes, this resource provides local entities with a roadmap to support ecosystem-wide recovery in ways that best align with local conditions and goals.

Read on for more background about the Local Guidance Document and a link to the full story on ESA’s website:

Developing Local Solutions

ESA’s natural resource specialists have worked with salmon recovery lead entities and the Puget Sound Partnership to integrate adaptive management and updates into salmon recovery plans. With this understanding of fish recovery needs, the collaboration with Long Live the Kings was a natural fit.

The Local Guidance document builds on SSMSP recommendations and presents strategies and actions for local entities to apply at the local scale. It details how groups can address local impacts on marine survival rates by improving fish habitat conditions while limiting predation, enhancing food supplies, and partnering with fellow conservation efforts to accelerate estuary habitat restoration.

“The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project gave us clear evidence that environmental changes, from estuary and nearshore habitat loss to climate shifts, have impacted the entire Puget Sound food web in ways that are limiting the productivity, survival, and fitness of our juvenile salmon,” says Jacques White, Executive Director of Long Live the Kings. “This guidance document translates those findings into management and restoration actions. ESA had both the science and policy expertise that were essential to connect the research to concrete steps. We hope this toolkit provides a timely ecosystem perspective to equip local and regional salmon recovery efforts.”

“The breadth and depth of issues that salmon recovery groups are being asked to tackle continue to grow as we learn more about what it is going to take to recover these species,” notes Senior Conservation Planner Susan O’Neil, who guided the creation of the guidance document.

O’Neil explains that local recovery strategies will need to apply a holistic approach to address the complex interconnectedness of environmental factors that are contributing to the low Chinook, coho, and steelhead numbers in order to increase survival rates and meet recovery goals.

Read the full article on ESA’s website here.

Download the Local Guidance Document for U.S. Entities.

Photo of two scientists in knit caps leaning over the side of an open boat, holding up a submerged hemlock branch with a weight attached.

Recovering Herring Stocks Through Indigenous Practices

Following major findings from the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project about the important connections between healthy herring and salmon populations, Long Live the Kings is working with Tribal and other partners on methods to study and recover declining Puget Sound herring stocks. Because the loss of eelgrass and kelp beds has degraded herring spawning habitat, the Nisqually and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes are testing traditional techniques used by Indigenous coastal people to encourage herring spawn by sinking evergreen trees in nearshore areas. More forage fish, such as herring, helps salmon survival by providing both a nutritious food source for young salmon, and alternative prey for birds and mammals that otherwise feed on juvenile salmon themselves. Read on for an excerpt from our funders at the SeaDoc Society about the ecological and cultural importance of herring and what we’re hoping to learn from this project. Find the full article at the link below.

Nisqually Tribe and LLTK biologists deploy recycled Christmas trees in Puget Sound near the mouth of the Nisqually River, hoping to document herring spawn in future surveys.

Herring spawning stock has been in decline for decades and the concurrent lack of diverse spawning sites could have big implications on the Puget Sound and Salish Sea ecosystems. It’s an issue in urgent need of attention and action. 

Herring are especially important to juvenile salmonids as post-hatch larvae and small juveniles, with larger juveniles and adults being important to larger juvenile, and then adult salmon, said Paul McCollum, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s natural resources manager. 

“Elders here talked a lot about the magic in January and February, that when the herring came into the bay to spawn, the whole world woke up, with salmon coming in to eat the herring, ducks, marine birds and many other fish. It was a very big deal,” he said. “Now the herring in Port Gamble Bay are a very small fraction of what they used to be, which is likely a major issue for the crisis in salmonid stocks here in Puget Sound.”

With salmon and herring so inextricably linked in the food web, recovering salmon and the Southern Resident orcas that rely on them is directly tied to the recovery of herring. 

“We launched the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project with our partners at the Pacific Salmon Foundation 10 years ago because we knew that there were major unanswered questions about which factors were limiting early marine survival for Salish Sea salmon,” said Jacques White, executive director of Long Live the Kings. “The finding that herring stocks were so important for salmon growth and survival has led us to focus on these herring recovery efforts with our Tribal partners as a critical piece for salmon and the Puget Sound ecosystem.”

Read the full article from the SeaDoc Society.

International Year of the Salmon announces the official launch of the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition

For immediate release: 1/25/22, Seattle WA

The International Year of the Salmon (IYS) and the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) are excited to announce the launch of the 2022 IYS Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition supported by NPAFC member countries (Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America) and partners. Four research vessels and over sixty scientists and crew will depart their respective ports between late January and mid-February 2022 to conduct the largest ever pan-Pacific research expedition to study salmon and their ecosystems in the North Pacific Ocean.  

The 2022 Expedition is a major international effort engaging governments, academia, NGOs, and industry to begin a new collaborative approach to filling the gaps in our understanding of what is happening to salmon in a rapidly changing North Pacific Ocean. Four research vessels will be deployed between January and April 2022 to cover four zones spanning the North Pacific. The fleet for the 2022 Expedition will include one research vessel from Canada (the CCGS Sir John Franklin), one from the United States (the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada), one from Russia (the R/V TINRO), and a commercial fishing vessel from Canada (the F/V Raw Spirit).  

While the vessels are at sea you can follow their progress on the IYS Website and on all IYS online media platforms (TwitterInstagramFacebook). There will be a series of activities for the launch and return of individual vessels. 

Building off successful international expeditions into the Gulf of Alaska in 2019 and 2020, and the 2021 Western Pacific Winter Expedition, the major objective of the 2022 Expedition is to better understand how increasingly extreme climate variability in the North Pacific Ocean and the associated changes in the physical environment influence the abundance, distribution, migration, and growth of Pacific salmon. To document salmon ecology, vessels will systematically deploy oceanographic gears and trawl nets at stations approximately 60 nautical miles apart across the North Pacific Ocean, sampling environment and ecosystem from microscopic plankton to large predators such as salmon sharks, with an emphasis on catching salmon and associated species. The Canadian commercial vessel will simultaneously deploy gillnets to assess the effectiveness of trawl nets to sample the community of fishes and composition of salmon, including steelhead, in these surface waters. All of the data collected will be made publicly accessible. 

Novel technologies such as genomics, environmental DNA (eDNA), and ocean gliders will be utilized to test their potential to enhance our monitoring of salmon and the ecosystem. Recent advancements in DNA analyses allow researchers to determine the river of origin for salmon caught during the expedition, which enables us to understand for the first time how different stocks of salmon are distributed across the North Pacific. eDNA analyses will allow researchers to assess the full range of the biodiversity, especially for species not captured in traditional sampling gears.  

The 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition is made possible by in-kind ship time contributions from Canada and the United States, and additional financial and technical contributions from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the North Pacific Research Board, the Great Pacific Foundation, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, the North Pacific Fisheries Commission, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Tula Foundation, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of British Columbia, Oregon State University, and the University of Washington. 

About International Year of the Salmon  

The IYS is a five-year initiative (2018–2022) to establish conditions for the resilience of salmon and people in a changing world. It is a hemispheric partnership led by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission in the North Pacific, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization in the North Atlantic, as well as by NGOs, the private sector, governments, and academic organizations.   

About NPAFC 

The NPAFC is an international organization that promotes the conservation of salmon (chum, coho, pink, sockeye, Chinook, and cherry salmon) and steelhead trout in the North Pacific and its adjacent seas and serves as a venue for cooperation in and coordination of scientific research and enforcement activities. The NPAFC Convention Area is located in international waters north of 33°N latitude in the North Pacific, Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk beyond the 200-mile zones of coastal States. NPAFC member countries include Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.  

Information and Updates for the 2022 IYS Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition:

2022 Expedition Webpage: 
https://yearofthesalmon.org/2022expedition/  

IYS Twitter: 
@yearofthesalmon

IYS Instagram: 
@internationalyearofthesalmon 

IYS Facebook: 
International Year of the Salmon – North Pacific  

Photos and videos for press use available here:

2022 Expedition Press Release Media

For more information, please contact IYS Communications Coordinator Camille Jasinski at cjasinski@npafc.org.

*Media advisory with information on a virtual technical briefing with chief US scientists for the launch of the NOAA Bell M. Shimada to be released shortly

Quotes:

Changes in the North Pacific Ocean over the last decade have had unprecedented effects on our fisheries, communities, and cultures that depend on it. This international survey seeks to provide new insight into ecosystem shifts that have resulted in changes in salmon returns to rivers from Alaska to California. The better we understand what is behind these shifts, the better we all can anticipate and prepare for future changes.”

Dr. Cisco Werner, Chief Science Advisory & Director of Scientific Programs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

“The NPAFC is excited to lead this historic international effort that is unprecedented not only in its pan-Pacific scope but also in its degree of international cooperation, collaboration, and partnerships. This expedition will undoubtedly make new discoveries about the complex ecology of salmon in the open ocean, but perhaps more importantly will begin the transformation needed to better understand and manage salmon in an increasingly uncertain North Pacific Ocean.”

Doug Mecum, President, North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission

“The North Pacific Research Board is pleased to be a contributing partner for the first ever Winter Pan-Pacific High Seas Research Expedition. Reaching from the Gulf of Alaska to Kamchatka, with four research vessels and a cadre of international scientists, this is a first for scientists sampling such a huge swath of salmon waters during winter in the North Pacific. We still lack information on the critical ocean life history phase of salmon — these surveys represent a huge step forward in understanding salmon distribution and the factors affecting salmon populations during the marine phase. We wish our survey ships and crews fair winds and calm seas!”

Lynn Palensky, Executive Director, North Pacific Research Board 

It is incredibly exciting to be part of such an amazing scientific expedition!  This is definitely a ‘once in a career’ opportunity and I am really looking forward to all the discoveries we will collectively make.  It’s been a long road putting it all together, but I am confident this cruise will change how we think about salmon in the ocean. It’s Darwin’s voyage of the Beagle of our time!”

Dr. Laurie Weitkamp, Chief US Scientist for the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

“This is an exciting time for salmon science!  For the first time in decades, international cooperation across the North Pacific will provide an invaluable snapshot of salmon distributions, their health, and their environmental conditions in these times of changing climate. I expect these results will be foundational as we also begin a much larger study under the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science.” 

Dr. Brian Riddell, Science Advisor, Pacific Salmon Foundation

“I am extremely pleased that the International Year of the Salmon’s bold 2022 Pan-Pacific Expedition is set to begin. Through the vision and perseverance of an international team of researchers and leadership from NPAFC countries and partners, we are about to transform the way we study salmon and the North Pacific Ocean.”

Mark Saunders, Director, International Year of the Salmon

“Our researchers and scientific experts crewing the NOAA ship Bell M. Shimada are on the front lines of our collective efforts to save our threatened marine species. As they prepare to embark on the International Year of the Salmon 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition, I want to thank the entire crew for their commitment and dedication. This expedition is crucial to helping us better understand our rapidly changing climate and the critical role salmon play in our beloved Pacific Northwest ecosystem. These creatures are among our state’s most iconic species, and I will continue to do all I can in our state Legislature to fight for their survival. It’s hopeful to see such a dynamic display of international cooperation as we all face the global threat of a changing climate. I wish everyone aboard a productive and safe journey and I look forward to learning from the expedition’s findings upon its return.”

Senator Christine Rolfes, Washington State 23rd Legislative District

“As climate change makes the Pacific Ocean more variable, we need to know much more about what affects salmon survival in this complex marine environment. This expedition will create a critical knowledge base to help scientists and managers recover salmon and oversee sustainable fisheries under the increasingly uncertain conditions in our warming ocean.”  

Dr. Jacques White, Executive Director, Long Live the Kings

Map of the North Pacific Ocean showing research zones and icons for the four ships participating in the Expedition.

Zone map for the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition

Photograph of a road covered in running water, with yellow trees along one side brightly lit by the sun. A chum salmon is swimming, half-submerged, across the road's surface, towards the brushy undergrowth on the other side.

Salmon and Floods

Our hearts are with everyone affected by the flooding in Washington and British Columbia this week. Intense rains and floods in the Northwest are becoming more common, a consequence of climate change. Major flooding is also a concern for struggling salmon populations. Fast-moving floodwaters can scour riverbeds, washing away salmon nests and juveniles in the gravel. At the same time, heavy loads of sediment washing into streams from runoff or landslides can smother eggs and fry. 

Pacific salmon are adapted to dynamic rivers where flooding is a natural ecological process. Floods help shape habitat diversity that salmon need in their spawning rivers, creating log jams, side channels, and wetlands that are part of a healthy ecosystem. Human changes to the landscape, however, make it harder to absorb the impacts of flooding, at the same time as the warming climate means more rain and more severe floods. Deforestation makes hillsides more prone to erosion and landslides, which dump sediment into spawning habitat. Former floodplains drained for development or farming mean less room for floodwaters to spread out and slow down, putting both human infrastructure and salmon nests in harm’s way.

Photo of a road through an autumn forest, covered in several inches of running water brightly lit by the sun. A chum salmon is swimming across the road, surrounded by splashing water as it swims.
A chum salmon swims across the flooded road in the Skokomish Valley.

Along the Skokomish River, near our Hood Canal field station, the shallow stream channel naturally overflows during heavy fall rains. Today, this means the increasingly common sight of salmon crossing flooded roads in the valley. When the floodwaters recede, these fish are often stranded, unable to find their way back to the stream and their spawning grounds. For salmon populations already at risk, the combined effects of development and increasing floods are cause for serious concern.

In addition to taking action to limit climate change, communities and scientists are using green infrastructure to increase flood resilience for both salmon and people. Habitat restoration projects combat erosion and create areas where water can slow down and be safely stored in wetlands. Programs like Floodplains by Design work locally to protect farms and infrastructure from flooding, improving salmon habitat at the same time. Urban rain gardens store and clean stormwater before it reaches streams. These strategies work with natural systems to manage the risks from flooding, with mutual benefits for salmon runs and sustainable communities.

LLTK is concerned about the impacts these events have on salmon and steelhead as we face the reality that they are occurring more frequently. That is why we work with the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, Tribes, local governments and businesses, our state legislature and Congress to identify and provide funding for the most important actions to help salmon recover and thrive in a changing climate. It’s also why we are building regional and international partnerships to better understand the impacts of climate change in both freshwater and marine environments. These recent events are a reminder of the force of nature, and how our shared decisions can affect outcomes for salmon and people.

Read more: 10 ways YOU can help salmon, including by starting your own rain garden.

Survive the Sound Native Fish Designs Request for Proposal

Project Description:

Long Live the Kings (LLTK), a Seattle-based nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring wild salmon and steelhead and supporting sustainable fishing, is seeking Native artists to illustrate new fish designs to be entered in the 2022 Survive the Sound fish race. Survive the Sound is an annual education and outreach campaign dedicated to raising awareness about salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. Participants choose from 48 illustrated fish, representing data from real fish, to track during a 5-day migration each May. These fish designs seek to provide a visual representation of Native art in Survive the Sound and increase learning relevancy for Puget Sound students about Indigenous perspectives on salmon and salmon recovery. LLTK may reproduce the final image online, in printable educational materials, and on products including Survive the Sound apparel.

How to Apply:

Please email the following details to Jack McDermott (jmcdermott@lltk.org):

  • Name & contact information
  • A brief statement explaining your connection to Pacific Northwest tribes and why you want to do this work.
  • Past artwork, portfolio, or relevant work experience.
  • Preferred deliverable option (see below)

Your application will be reviewed by staff from LLTK, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, and Salmon Defense. We intend to select both a youth artist (under 18) and an adult artist (over 18) to commission one final fish design each.

Due Date: Proposal is due December 31, 2021, and the final design by selected artists will be due January 31, 2022.

Deliverables & Compensation:

  • Option 1: Artist designs fish avatar by hand (any medium acceptable) for LLTK’s illustrator to digitize. Artist will work with LLTK & illustrator to create an accurate representation of artist’s design in a vector file format. Artist will deliver a scanned PDF or high-quality image of illustrated fish design. Artist receives compensation of $150.
  • Option 2: Artist designs fish avatar and delivers digital vector file. Artist may need to work with LLTK to ensure avatar reflects the general Survive the Sound style and follows the appropriate formatting guidelines. Artist will deliver a vector file (Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) with fish design of at least 800×300 pixels and at high resolution (300 ppi). Artist receives compensation of $250.

How to Design Your Fish Avatar: Use the following template (link here) to draft or illustrate your fish design. Your avatar’s design should follow the general shape of the reference fish, but creativity is encouraged! Visit this page to reference previous fish avatar designs. A draft fish design is not required upon application.

 

Outdoor photo of four children in hooded raincoats facing away from the camera, standing on logs to look over a fence at a forest creek.

Where to See Salmon in Washington State

Viewing a salmon run in the Pacific Northwest is a powerful experience. We’ve put together this list of salmon watching locations from organizations around Washington State, so you can see this epic migration in your own community. Don’t see your favorite public viewing spot here? Let us know so we can add it!

Tips for Salmon Viewing

  • Give salmon space, and stay out of the stream. They are working hard, and if you’re near the spawning grounds, the streambed may already contain redds (nests of salmon eggs). Walking in the water disturbs the fish and can kill the eggs. Learn how to spot a redd.

  • Polarized sunglasses can make it easier to see fish in the water. 

  • Observe the whole environment. Is the streambed rocks, sand, gravel, or a combination? Are there trees shading the water? What’s the weather like? What other animals do you see using this habitat? How much human influence can you see?

  • Bring the experience home by taking action. We have 10 ways you can help save salmon, from building a healthier environment, to contributing to science, to sharing your salmon love with your friends, family, and leaders. Many of the links below also have ways you can volunteer for salmon recovery! 

P.S. Salmon viewing can be an at-home experience too! Watch salmon returning to the Issaquah Hatchery on their live feed here. And you can join our Hood Canal steelhead underwater any time at LLTK’s livestreaming Fish Camera! 

Long Live the Kings logo (dark blue text with a grey salmon leaping between the words)

Science Project Manager

Interviews for this position are underway. While the position is still open, please keep this information in mind if you are considering applying. Thank you for you interest in working with LLTK.

About Long Live the Kings (LLTK)

Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986, we have been advancing science, improving management, and implementing solutions to balance the needs of fish and people. LLTK envisions a sustainable Northwest with a growing human population, a thriving economy, and flourishing salmon runs. 

Our 26-member Board of Directors, and 13 dedicated staff members seek broad involvement to help us accomplish our goals.  Our core values include collaboration, innovation, accountability, and inclusivity.  Our staff are located in Seattle, Hood Canal, and Orcas Island, and work throughout western Washington and the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about us in our 2025 Strategic Roadmap, and on our website

Position Summary – Science Project Manager

This new team member will use their scientific, technical, and project management expertise to help LLTK advance science and implement solutions for salmon recovery and sustainable fisheries. This is a full-time position focused on managing existing projects, developing and implementing new projects, and ultimately influencing the trajectory of salmon recovery. 

The Science Project Manager will report to the Associate Director for Government Relations and Special Projects and collaborates across all departments. If you are a scientific, creative, and strategic thinker, have experience collecting, analyzing, and visualizing technical data with qualitative and quantitative methods, have developed and implemented collaborative research and/or salmon conservation projects, possess strong writing and presentation skills, and are excited to engage with diverse stakeholders on a wide range of projects, we hope to hear from you. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Works collaboratively in a team environment across all levels of staff and the Board of Directors to develop and implement research projects that typically engage a varied group of stakeholders within the salmon research community. This includes securing project funding for existing and new priorities
  • Facilitates discussions and decision-making processes, including multi-party, multi-disciplinary, multi-agency project-related meetings; scientific discussions; workshops; conference sessions; stakeholder sessions; and technical science team meetings to develop research or apply science to management and conservation actions 
  • Coordinates and manages project contracts, subcontracts, and associated reporting and deliverables
  • Identifies and obtains appropriate scientific and regulatory permits to conduct project work
  • Designs and executes technical studies, including data collection and statistical analysis
  • Develops scientific reports, issue papers, project progress reports, work plans, strategic planning documents, monitoring and adaptive management plans, grant applications, and outreach/communications materials
  • Communicates project progress and results to diverse technical and non-technical audiences through presentations, reports, and public-facing communications materials in conferences, webinars, or public forums
  • Consults on technical issues related to project activities and hatchery operations across the organization 
  • Builds and maintains relationships with state, federal, tribal, local, and nonprofit project partners around the region
  • As needed, effectively seeks guidance from and shares information with scientific resources outside the organization
  • Provides input on the vision and strategic direction of the organization
  • Participates fully in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and works to apply a DEI lens to project work

Ideal Experience, Skills, & Qualifications

  • Developing, implementing, facilitating, synthesizing, and managing multi-party, collaborative scientific projects, assessments, or experiments
  • Providing guidance on and applying the latest science and state of the knowledge to salmon restoration actions, and managing proof of concept projects
  • Collecting, analyzing, and visualizing technical data with qualitative and quantitative methods for scientific writing, progress reports, technical reports, and/or manuscripts
  • Managing contract budgets, schedules, and associated deliverables
  • Communicating progress and results of technical projects to diverse technical and non-technical audiences through presentations, reports, and public-facing communications materials
  • Desire to be a part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion work as it moves forward
  • Proven work experience in fisheries biology, ecology, natural resources management, environmental science, conservation science, or closely related field
  • Bachelor’s degree, or a more advanced degree, in fisheries biology, ecology, natural resources management, environmental science, conservation science, or closely related field (or an equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties and responsibilities as described)

Additional Experience, Skills, & Qualifications

  • Conducting climate resiliency and/or salmon diversity projects, or relevant education in those fields 
  • Familiarity with technical aspects of hatchery practices and issues in salmon management and conservation
  • Experience giving public presentations
  • Passion for protecting and stewarding nature and wildlife
  • Competencies in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), R, GIS, and/or equivalent data analysis platforms
  • Experience writing grants, or assisting with them 
  • History of peer-reviewed manuscripts, white papers, technical reports
  • Fieldwork experience in the nearshore and marine environments
  • Existing network of Puget Sound environmental and/or salmon recovery professionals
  • Experience working with diverse partners and stakeholders
  • Ability to work independently in a remote environment
  • Leadership role(s) in prior paid and/or volunteer positions

Compensation, Benefits, & Location

$62,000-78,000 annual salary, depending upon qualifications. Generous benefits provided including:

  • Paid Time Off (Vacation, Sick, Holiday, Personal)
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Health Reimbursement Account (HRA)
  • 401k with matching opportunities (after one year of full-time employment) 5%
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Flex Spending Account 
  • Dependent Care FSA
  • ORCA Pass for commuting

This position is based in downtown Seattle (5th & University) in our administrative offices but will be remote/hybrid during Covid-19; the ability to work remotely is necessary at this time.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Both staff and Board have recently begun a formal process of examining ourselves and our organization with a DEI lens. Our intention is to do the work so that we can authentically embrace DEI principles as a core value that drives the success of our people, our partners, and our work. 

How to Apply

We welcome and encourage qualified people of all identities and abilities to applyPlease email to apply, letting us know where you saw the job posted or how you heard about it, and include a resume and 1-page cover letter that describes your interest in this position and your relevant qualifications and experience. Priority review given to applications received by 9/20; position open until filled. 

We look forward to receiving your materials. Please send them to Lucas Hall at lhall@lltk.org. We’re a small team and politely request that follow-up calls or emails be restricted to technical questions or necessary accommodations having to do with applying. 

Photo of a wide, grey body of water narrowing to a channel in the center between two green tree-covered land masses. Behind them in the distance are more hills and a cloudy sky.

Remembering Lorraine Loomis

Long Live the Kings joins all those honoring the memory of Lorraine Loomis, who died this week at the age of 81. As Director of Swinomish Fisheries and Chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Lorraine was a champion for salmon and the interests of her Tribe, her community and all people who cared about fish, fishing and the environment that supports them all. She was a beloved friend and leader for her passion, kindness, strength, and tireless commitment to a future for salmon and tribal fisheries.

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission shares some of Lorraine’s own powerful words in their tribute to her life:

“None of us tribal natural resources managers are working for today. We are all working for tomorrow. We are working to make certain there will be salmon for the next seven generations.”

We will miss Lorraine terribly, but we’re determined to carry on her legacy in our work and efforts to guarantee that salmon will be here for this and many generations to come.

Image is a view across the Lake Washington Ship Canal from a platform with metal railings and a red metal box, looking over several docked sailboats and fishing vessels towards trees, buildings, and boats on the opposite shoreline.

Heat Wave: Seattle salmon face lethal water temperatures on a challenging migration

Last month’s record-shattering heat wave is driving an early start to lethally warm water temperatures for salmon in the Lake Washington Ship Canal. For over a week following the heat wave, water in parts of the Canal reached above 72 degrees Fahrenheit every day, a deadly threshold that weakens salmon and can kill them if they are exposed for long. Throughout the peak of sockeye migration and as threatened Chinook start to return, temperatures near the surface have stayed above 70 degrees. 

Line graph charting temperatures at four depth levels in Lake Washington Ship Canal. Between June 29 and July 9, surface temperatures (at 18ft depth) are consistently above 72 degrees, marked as the lethal threshold for salmon.

Pacific salmon are cold-water species, adapted for mountain-fed, forested rivers and cool oceans and estuaries. Healthy water temperatures for salmon are under 58 degrees. Above 59 degrees, their bodies become stressed, making them easier targets for predators and at higher risk of disease. When water temperature reaches between 70 and 72 degrees, it forms a “migration barrier,” meaning it’s too hot for salmon to swim through, and can be lethal. These extreme temperatures have a generational ripple effect in struggling salmon populations. Even if they can survive to reach their spawning grounds, fish weakened from high temperatures are less successful in reproducing. 

Image looking down on the surface of dark water. A brown harbor seal's head emerges in the center, with the tail half of a salmon in its mouth, ending in torn orange flesh.
Heat-stressed salmon are easy prey for harbor seals in the Ballard Locks.

Human alterations to the landscape, combined with climate change, have made the Lake Washington Ship Canal an especially hot, difficult passage for Seattle’s salmon. Sockeye, Chinook, and coho salmon from the Cedar and Sammamish Rivers must pass through the Ship Canal twice during their lifetime, where these deadly warm temperatures are now routine during the summer months. Temperatures climb quickly in the artificial environment of the Canal, an abrupt shift from cool salt water to warm freshwater that puts salmon under extreme stress. At the Ballard Locks, a major barrier, salmon can be seen “holding” for days or weeks, losing vital days on their spawning migration likely in part due to the need to avoid high water temperatures. Seals and sea lions are also a frequent sight at the Locks, where waiting, weakened salmon are easy prey. Biologists suspect that the combined stress of warm water and predator harassment can be a lethal combination. 

This summer’s heat wave struck earlier than usual, at the height of the returning sockeye migration. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife observed dead sockeye around the Ballard Locks fish ladder during and after the heat wave, near the transition from cold marine water to warmer fresh water. The high temperatures are expected to continue as this year’s run of Chinook salmon, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, start to return to the watershed in mid-July. But 2021 is not an isolated incident. High temperatures and low dissolved oxygen have been a known problem in the Canal for over two decades. Earlier this year, a report to the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed (WRIA 8) Salmon Recovery Council found that the Canal is warm enough to harm salmon through almost all of the critical summer migration window. Between 2009 and 2019, surface waters were warm enough to negatively affect salmon an average of 87-92% of days from May to September. Parts of the canal are above 72 degrees, hot enough to block migration or kill salmon, between 12% and 24% of migration days. Thanks to the heat wave, 2021 is likely to push those averages even higher.

Image of five adult sockeye salmon viewed through a greenish glass. The fish on the bottom has a large gash on its back.
Sockeye in the Ballard Locks fish ladder in late July, as dangerously warm waters persist.

With climate change upon us, summer temperatures are continuing to get hotter, and more extraordinary records are likely to be broken. This summer has shown us just how dangerous these conditions can be for salmon who are already struggling. Experts agree that without addressing the Ship Canal, long-term salmon recovery in the Cedar and Sammamish watersheds will be nearly impossible. Like all climate resilience challenges, solving this complicated problem is an effort that will take action and involvement from everyone in our watershed community. 

Based on the findings from the recent Report, LLTK and WRIA 8 are partnering to address this urgent issue. We’re convening a team of government and community partners to review current science and evaluate strategies to improve salmon passage through the Canal. We’ll be working urgently over the next several months to find creative, collaborative, and long-lasting solutions to help salmon migrate more successfully through these difficult waters, with preliminary recommendations expected by early 2022. 

Funding support for the Lake Washington Ship Canal work group is provided by King County Water Works and the WRIA 8 Salmon Recovery Council.

Update 6/21/2022: The Lake Washington Ship Canal work group is completing a review process before releasing its report on preliminary recommendations for improving fish passage. We look forward to sharing the published report later this year.

Logo: King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks; Wastewater Treatment Division
Lake Washington Cedar Sammamish Watershed logo
Underwater photo of steelhead trout swimming in the same direction.

Live Fish Camera

Wildlife cameras help people connect with nature and see the world from another species’ perspective. Many of us have enjoyed watching fledglings in an eagle’s nest, or spotted cougars and coyotes passing through a wildlife corridor – but getting a view of life underwater is a little more challenging.

Thanks to a grant from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and some DIY ingenuity by our staff, now you can! Long Live the Kings has set up a live video feed in one of the steelhead rearing ponds at a conservation hatchery on Hood Canal. View the livestream any time from here or on our YouTube channel to spend some time with the fish. 

These steelhead (or rainbow trout, the freshwater variant of the same species) are part of an innovative conservation program that LLTK manages to support the recovery of Hood Canal’s native steelhead. Hatched from wild-spawned eggs, they are being raised here to help give natural populations a boost. When they are mature, they are released to spawn in the rivers and migrate to sea. (Watch a steelhead release here.

This is a live video feed, so visibility can vary. We clean off algae that builds up on the camera every few days. The fish are fed around 11:00am most days, which is a good time to see lots of activity! If you don’t have a good live view, you can watch a highlight here.