Squaxin Island Tribe

The Squaxin Island tribe is made up of several tribes from Squaxin Island and the surrounding inlets. Although no members of the tribe currently live on Squaxin Island year-round, it unites past and future generations and is still an important destination. The tribal headquarters are located in Kamilche.

Squaxin Island Area of Concern:

Nearly half of the nearshore habitat in south and central Puget Sound lies in WRIAs 12, 13, 14, and 15, where the Squaxin Island tribe concentrates restoration efforts. The South Sound also has some of the highest population growth in Washington State, which makes reclaiming habitat a battle. Shoreline development is a major source of stress for forage fish, and available stream gage data shows all listed streams failing to meet flow requirements. The South Sound has unique bathymetry that makes it susceptible to nutrient loading, and Case, Carr, and Budd Inlets have particularly low oxygen levels. Shellfish growing areas have improved over the last several years, but continued management and monitoring is crucial.

Natural Resource Management:

  • In May of 2012, the Squaxin Island tribe let thousands of juvenile coho free in the Deschutes River. Tribal biologists are trying to determine the locations of the best coho habitat in the river. In the last few decades, coho runs in the Deschutes have been lower and lower, but the river has in the past been one of the largest producers of coho in the South Puget Sound region. A snorkeling survey after releasing the fish will determine where they are feeding and spending most of their time, which should help planners develop restoration projects.
  • The tribe is also monitoring streamflow in the Deschutes, in hopes of identifying when lack of flow and resulting lack of habitat begins to severely impact survival of juvenile salmon. The Deschutes is fed by groundwater, and growing development prevents rainfall from permeating the soil, contributing to lower flows in the summer.
  • In spring of 2010, the tribe announced plans to use a federal grant of nearly $1 million to restore Goldsborough Creek. The creek is one of the most significant salmon streams in the deep South Sound, and was previously the site of a 34 foot high dam that was removed in 2001. Since the removal, numbers of juvenile coho in the creek have been rising. The project is focused on restoring habitat around the former dam site.
  • In partnership with the Mason Conservation District and Fungi Perfecti, the tribe is also testing the ability of fungi to filter water, removing fecal bacteria from stormwater runoff. Fecal coliform is one of the most common causes of water pollution. Mycelia, the vegetative part of fungi, may be able to act as biological filters, consuming bacteria from contaminated water.

Map of Tribal Lands

Squaxin Island Tribe
SE 70 Squaxin Lane
Shelton, WA 98584

Phone: (360) 426-9781
FAX: (360) 426-6577

Natural Resource Center
S.E. 3100 Old Olympic Hwy., Box 3
Shelton, WA 98584

Phone: (360) 432-3802
FAX: (360) 426-3971

Tribal Chair: David Lopeman
Natural Resources Director/NWIFC Commissioner: Andy Whitener
Asst. Natural Resources Director: Jeff Dickison

Website: www.squaxinisland.org
Natural Resources Blog: squaxin-nr.org

source: NWIFC