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Marine expert gives update on salmon recovery

Jay Zischke will give an update on the status of salmon recovery in the Puget Sound at the Sustainable First Monday program next week.

For five years, a consortium of citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses under the leadership of the Puget Sound Partnership has been working to restore Puget Sound’s dwindling salmon populations. And while progress has been made, Chinook salmon, which were declared endangered in 1998, are still at only 10 percent of their historic numbers, with some species down to less than 1 percent.

Zischke, a fisheries biologist for more than 30 years, is the marine fish program manager of the Suquamish Fisheries Department. He presently directs salmon supplementation facilities and develops harvest management plans for the Suquamish Indian Tribe.

He will talk about the complexities of salmon management and the integration of the “four H’s” — hatcheries, harvest, hydropower and habitat – that impact salmon, and the local challenges faced by the effort to maintain healthy salmon stocks. Zischke will also give an overview of the Suquamish Tribe’s salmon enhancement program and how that program integrates with local East Kitsap stocks.

The program will also feature details on “healthy” local stocks of salmon and how they can be managed sustainably. East Kitsap County shorelines account for nearly half of the nearshore habitat in south and central Puget Sound and provide vital habitat for threatened Chinook and bull trout populations from watersheds throughout those areas. Nearshore habitat provides refuge, resting and feeding grounds for juveniles heading out to the ocean and to adults returning to spawn.

The next Sustainable First Monday is 7 to 9 p.m. June 4. The free event will be held in the auditorium at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Sustainable First Monday is co-sponsored by Sustainable Bainbridge and the Bainbridge Island Watershed Council, an all-volunteer group of citizens committed to protecting the island’s watersheds and educating the community about the importance of watershed protection and restoration. For more information, visit www.SustainableBainbridge.org and http://www.biwatershedcouncil.org.

Sustainable Bainbridge is a nonprofit that supports collaboration among local organizations, agencies and individuals to create a more sustainable community.

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