Seattle Public Utilities

Salmon Friendly


Working Together to Recover Salmon

The City of Seattle is committed to improving habitat for Chinook and other salmon species in our waters, whether urban streams, migrational pathways, or the Cedar and Tolt watersheds. We continue to work with scientists to figure out what actions are most needed. We are also taking steps to improve water quality, conserve water and restore shorelines.

Seattle is a gateway for wild Chinook salmon, a species threatened with extinction in Puget Sound. Chinook and other salmon pass through Seattle twice in their lives. As young Chinook (called juveniles), they migrate from their natal area in the Green and Cedar rivers to Puget Sound, and ultimately the open ocean. Adult Chinook take a return trip through Seattle as they begin the difficult journey back to their home waters to spawn the next generation. Lake Washington, Lake Union, the Ship Canal and the Duwamish Waterway all play a critical role in the life cycle of Puget Sound Chinook and other salmon.

Our urban gateway creates challenges for rearing and migrating salmon. Dense urban development has dramatically reduced shallow areas and wetlands along Seattle’s shorelines. Young Chinook use these areas to feed and grow before their ocean journey, and to escape from predators. Development along our shorelines has also stripped river banks and shorelines of their vegetation, reducing the shade and the insects that juvenile salmon to eat. Pollutants, such as pesticides, petroleum products, and oils, can also enter Seattle’s waters and affect salmon and other wildlife.

As we work together to make Seattle more salmon friendly, we will improve our city for people too. We all benefit from good water quality, restored shorelines and healthy salmon runs.