South Sound residents are invited to celebrate wild salmon and learn more about ongoing efforts to secure the future of local fish stocks at a multi-faceted community forum May 15 in Olympia.
Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Olympia Center, the forum will include events ranging from presentations by state and tribal resource managers to interactive games for kids.
Featured speakers include Jeff Koenings, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and representatives of the Nisqually and Squaxin Island tribes.
Members of the South Sound Salmon Recovery Group (SSSRG), a coalition of local, state and tribal organizations that is sponsoring the event, will staff informational booths focusing on various aspects of salmon stewardship and recovery work.
Participants will also be encouraged to construct murals that celebrate wild salmon and their history in the Pacific Northwest through art.
"The forum is designed to be both fun and educational for people of all ages," said Sue Patnude, a WDFW regional director and a member of the SSSRG oversight committee. "We want to give participants a chance to learn more about this precious resource and ways to get involved in hands-on salmon recovery efforts here in the South Sound area."
Patnude said the SSSRG is currently focused on developing a section of the salmon recovery plan that will be submitted to federal resource agencies involved in assessing the status of chinook salmon and bull trout in Puget Sound.
People who attend the salmon-recovery forum May 15 will have an opportunity to participate in that effort by expressing their ideas about the future role of wild salmon in southern Puget Sound, Patnude said.
"We'd like to hear from as many people as possible," she said. "The recovery plan begins with a 'vision' statement of what local people expect from salmon recovery, and we plan to draw on the ideas expressed at the upcoming forum."
In developing its plan, the SSSRG is examining the "four H's" of salmon recovery - habitat, harvest, hatcheries and hydropower - and how they affect sustainable salmon runs in the South Sound area, Patnude said. Once the recovery plan for chinook salmon and bull trout has been completed, the coalition will turn its attention to other species, such as coho, chum and pink salmon, she said.
Along with WDFW and the NWIFC, participants in the SSSRG coalition include the Governor's Office, the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Washington Department of Ecology, the Puget Sound Action Team, the Nisqually Tribe, the Squaxin Island Tribe, Mason County, Thurston County, Pierce County, Shared Strategy for Puget Sound, the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group and other local salmon recovery organizations.