SSHIAP

The Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Inventory and Assessment Program (SSHIAP), a joint effort of the treaty tribes and state of Washington, provides a “living” database of local and regional habitat analyses. It utilizes scientifically sound data to provide a platform for tracking trends in freshwater and estuarine salmon habitat conditions.

The Treaty Council’s habitat biologist and geographic information specialist work intensively with other tribes and natural resources entities to both collect and share important data.

A key feature of SSHIAP is that it quantitatively characterizes habitat conditions linked with stock distribution. This is designed for local, watershed, basin and regional scale habitat analyses focused on salmon protection and restoration efforts, and to track trends in habitat over time.

The SSHIAP program provides a blueprint for joint tribal/state action to define a cooperative process to implement habitat and restoration strategies by:

        *Documenting and quantifying past and current habitat conditions;

        *Providing a consistent framework for data analysis;

        *Assessing the role of habitat loss and degradation on the condition of salmon and steelhead stocks;

         *Assisting in the development of stock- or watershed-specific strategies for habitat protection and restoration.

 

Steve Todd and Sarah Burlingame conduct SSHIAP surveys 2010

ase Study: Study shows how shorelines have changed in 150 years
History is showing the way for salmon recovery efforts in Kitsap County and on the Olympic Peninsula.

A tool created by the Treaty Council allows anyone, from government agencies to private citizens, to access details about the history of certain shorelines and estuaries along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal. The tool, in a report format, can be accessed at the PNPTC Web site, pnptc.org.

“The information gathered is essential in helping us manage, restore and protect salmon habitats,” said Steve Todd, former PNPTC habitat biologist who helped gather the data. “The history of the area plays a big part in what we do today to help the salmon.”

Staff gathered data on 250 marshes, streams and river mouths – areas where juvenile salmon eat, seek refuge from predators, and prepare to migrate to the Pacific Ocean. Protecting and restoring these habitats is important to western Washington treaty tribes because they depend on salmon and other natural resources for cultural and economic sustainability.

Todd and his colleagues determined how each site had changed by comparing U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey topographic maps from the mid- to late-1800s to current coastal maps and aerial photos.

While some areas showed few differences, Todd was able to see major changes in many places due to human activity, such as residential, industrial, military and road development. The present-day look of Ediz Hook and Port Angeles Harbor, for example, has changed drastically by dredging, filling and other activities.

Reviews of maps and photos taken between the 1800s and today showed how the construction of highways and housing developments were contributing factors to the changing shoreline landscape. The construction of Hood Canal Bridge in the 1960s, for example, made it easier to access parts of the Olympic Peninsula. However, because of the popularity of developing homes on sand spits, the salt marshes associated with these spits were degraded or destroyed.

County governments, the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, salmon enhancement groups and private citizens already have been using the data for planning habitat restoration projects.