Restoration News

Free seminar on Ocean Acidification on March 28, 2013 in Bellingham, 6-8pm. March 28, 2013. The event will be held at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal and topics to be covered include the science of ocean acidification, regional and local implications to the food web, and recommendations from the recently released Blue Ribbon Panel report on ocean acidification. [Link]

Free invasive plant webinar: Why Some Wetland Plants Are Invasive and How They Affect Restoration. March 26th, 2013 at 1-2:30 pm (CST) by Susan Galatowitsch. March 26, 2013. Plant communities influence nutrient cycling and food webs, provide food and habitat structure to animals, and contribute to a wetland ecosystem’s aesthetic appeal. Consequently, the restoration of a wetland’s plant communities is often considered crucial to project success. Understanding why a particular wetland plant is invasive can help frame practical restoration decisions, such as selecting effective control strategies and evaluating the commitment needed to accomplish control. Dial-in: After you’ve connected your computer, audio connection instructions will be presented. [Link]

Recent landscape, boardwalk, and bird photos from Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife Conservation Stamp. March 12, 2013. It was a grassroots effort to save the Nisqually Delta in 1974 that led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase 1290 acres of the Brown Farm, turning it into Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This Refuge is now home to hundreds of species, including more than 200 bird species, various mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. [Link]

Downscaling climate change models to local site conditions: effects of sea-level rise and extreme events on coastal habitats and their wildlife. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. November 01, 2012. Coastal land managers are faced with many challenges and uncertainties in planning adaptive strategies for conserving coastal habitats at the land-sea interface under future climate change scenarios. [Link]

23rd Annual Nisqually Watershed Festival. September 28, 2012. On Saturday, September 29, 2012 for the 23rd annual festival celebrating the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Nisqually Watershed! Good music, food, guided walks, educational displays, and more await you at this FREE event! The festival is located at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge from 7am to 5pm. Please note that there will be no parking at the Refuge and ALL festival and Refuge parking will be at River Ridge High School, 320 River Ridge Dr. SE, off Martin Way, 2.3 miles from the Refuge parking lot. A free shuttle will run beginning at 7am. [Link]

Mark your calendars! Nisqually on PBS, February 4th, 2013. Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina. August 08, 2012. “Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina” is going to air a two part special focusing on the Nisqually! From their website: “For millennia, the Nisqually Indians relied on chinook salmon caught in the Nisqually River. Now the river’s wild chinook are extinct and the tribe runs a hatchery to keep their fishery going. But an unusual coalition of tribal leaders, private partners and government agencies is working to restore the river from top to bottom, from its source in the glaciers of Mount Rainier to the estuary that empties into Puget Sound. The aim is for the Nisqually to once again be a healthy and bountiful wild salmon river. And there’s a huge added benefit: everything that’s good for the chinook will help the watershed and its inhabitants adapt to climate warming. Rain gardens augment river flow, new logjams deepen and cool its waters, and farms returned to marshland will let the estuary move inland as sea level rises. They’re taking the long view. In this 2-episode special, we meet the tribal leaders who inspired this grand vision of restoration, which has its roots in the native fishing rights campaigns of the 1960s; and our cameras discover the first wild fish, descended miraculously from hatchery stock, now beginning to re-populate the Nisqually’s pristine spawning grounds.” [Link]

Tidal Marsh Monitoring website launches. July 02, 2012. We are pleased to announce the launch of, an online tool for tidal marsh restoration monitoring. This new website was created out of the growing need for a more standardized monitoring approach among restoration projects throughout the Western United States. [Link]

Update to Vegetation Science page!. June 01, 2012. New data and graphs from 2011 field season. [Link]

Updated Bird Science page!. April 17, 2012. Update to Bird Science page now displays data up to December 2011. [Link]

Nisqually Estuary restoration receives national award for outstanding coastal protection. EPA. December 12, 2011. (Seattle—Dec. 10, 2011) The Nisqually Estuary Restoration Team received national accolades for outstanding efforts to restore and protect the coastal environment as a recipient of the Coastal America Partnership Award. This is the only award of its kind presented by the Obama Administration for on-the-ground environmental restoration partnership projects. [Link]

Snowy owl 'irruption' thrills birders. December 08, 2011. NISQUALLY, Wash. - It sounds like 'eruption' but it's an 'irruption' and it's a blast for bird watchers. It's happening right now at some of Washington State's most popular bird viewing sites and the spotting scopes and cameras are zooming in. [Link]

First sighting of South Sound snowy owl in five years. The Olympian. December 06, 2011. NISQUALLY: Bird last seen in area in 2006 At least one, and perhaps more, snowy owls have been seen in South Sound in recent days, part of an uptick in snowy owl sightings throughout Western Washington. [Link]

The Coastal America Partnership will present a Partneship Award to the Nisqually Restoration Team. December 02, 2011. On December 10th, the Coastal America Partnership will present a Partneship Award to the Nisqually Restoration Team in Olympia, Washington. The team is being recognized for their efforts to restore the Nisqually Delta and Estuary system spearheading the largest ongoing estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest's Puget Sound. [Link]

Finding the treasures in our own back yards. Nisqually Valley News. September 16, 2011. I’m embarrassed to say it took me a little more than 12 years, but I recently visited the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. If you’ve never visited the refuge, it really is worth seeing. There are miles of nature trails, including the beautiful Nisqually Boardwalk Trail, which winds across the delta toward Puget Sound. [Link]

The Nisqually Aquatic Reserve, part of protecting Puget Sound. The Seattle Times. September 14, 2011. State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark designated the seventh aquatic reserve on Puget Sound. Oversight of the Nisqually River estuary is part of a broader strategy to protect Puget Sound. [Link]

Nisqually now an aquatic reserve. The News Tribune. September 10, 2011. Washington’s effort to restore the environmental health of Puget Sound by 2020 received a significant boost Friday. In a ceremony at the Nisqually Reach Nature Center near Lacey, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark officially designated as an “aquatic reserve” nearly 15,000 acres of south Puget Sound that fan outward from the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on the Nisqually Delta. [Link]

Nisqually Watershed Festival September 24, 2011. September 09, 2011. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge hosts the Nisqually Watershed Festival each September. Good music, food, guided walks, educational displays, and more await you! Hope you can join us September 24, 2011 for the 22nd annual festival celebrating the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Nisqually Watershed! [Link]

Nisqually restoration boosts salmon. World Fishing and Aquaculture. September 01, 2011. A newly restored estuary is giving juvenile salmon from throughout Puget Sound a place to feed and grow before they migrate to the open ocean. [Link]

Nisqually River to soon be free. The Olympian. August 24, 2011. Dike Removal: Last major project in restoration will allow stream to move naturally near mouth [Link]

As a River Warms, Hope Beckons. New York Times Blog. July 21, 2011. In my article in Thursday’s Times about the future of the Nisqually watershed in Washington State, I mention efforts by conservation groups and land trusts across the country to buy up land parcels that are expected to turn into valuable ecological assets someday — marshes or swamplands, for example — as the sea rolls further inland because of global warming. [Link]

Seeing Trends, Coalition Works to Help a River Adapt. New York Times. July 20, 2011. NISQUALLY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Wash. — For 10,000 years the Nisqually Indians have relied on chinook salmon for their very existence, but soon those roles are expected to reverse. [Link]

Restoration Monitoring: Tidal Marsh Development. The Flyway. July 19, 2011. By USGS Biologist Kelley Turner In order to determine what types of habitats are developing and if estuaryscale ecological processes have beenrestored the USGS Western EcologicalResearch Center is conducting multiple vegetation surveys throughout theestuary focused on tidal marsh plant communities. [Link]

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia restores saltwater marsh, builds viewing boardwalk. July 14, 2011. Chalk up a victory for salmon smolts. After more than a century of exclusion, they once again can use the Nisqually River's delta to transition between fresh and saltwater. Nestled at the south end of Washington's Puget Sound, the delta's Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge has undergone a $9 million habitat restoration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nisqually Tribe and other partners. [Link]

Update to the Vegetation Science page!. July 01, 2011. [Link]

Nisqually lecture series begins July 6. The 24th annual Summer Lecture Series will begin July 6 at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The News Tribune. June 30, 2011. The 24th annual Summer Lecture Series will begin July 6 at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This year’s series, titled “In Touch With Nature,” will feature talks on environmental topics ranging from big cats to tracking. The series begins with “Secrets of the Snow Leopard,” presented by Tom McCarthy. He is the executive director of the snow leopard program with Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization. The free lectures begin at 7 p.m. and are held at the refuge visitor center auditorium. The lectures typically last about one hour, with time for questions. Attendance is limited to 100 and seating starts at 6 p.m. on a first-come basis. The refuge entrance fee is waived for those attending the lectures. On lecture nights, the visitor center will be open until 7 p.m. and again after the lecture. For more information, call 360-753-9467. [Link]

New photos on the Invert Science page!. June 01, 2011. [Link]

Update to the Photo-documentation Panoramas page!. May 23, 2011. Now displays panormamas from pre-dike removal to post-dike removal. [Link]

Update to the Bird Page!. April 27, 2011. New display of seasonal patterns of bird occurrence throughout the year! [Link]

Salmon reclaim Nisqually Delta: Featured Video. King5. April 14, 2011. NEAR OLYMPIA, Wash. -- What used to be a single, straight river mouth confined to its man-made levee path is now a wild delta spreading its fresh water fingers to touch Puget Sound. [Link]

18 places to welcome spring. #4 Nisqually NWR. Sunset. April 13, 2011. To kick-start spring, may we recommend a breath of salt air? [Link]

Behold nature at Nisqually. The Olympian. April 01, 2011. Weekend nature programs at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge will resume this weekend. The refuge is used as a focal point for programs that study wildlife, botany, history and photography through the summer. [Link]

Nature lovers, boardwalk was built with you in mind . The News Tribune. March 17, 2011. The area’s newest tourist destination has visitors flying in from all over – many of them on their own wings. Others – those of the human variety – are flocking to the South Sound to check out the mile-long boardwalk at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge that opened last month. [Link]

Update to Invertebrate Page. March 14, 2011. The Invertebrate Science page has been updated with a new map, photos and summary. [Link]

108 years of wildlife preservation. The Olympian. March 13, 2011. 108 years of wildlife preservation As the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's national wildlife refuge system turns 108 Monday, now might be a good time to plan a visit one of 23 refuges in Washington. [Link]

New Bird Data. March 01, 2011. Update to Bird Science page now displays data up to January 2011. [Link]

Birdwatch like a hawk at refuge. The Olympian. February 04, 2011. On Saturday, Phil Kelley will lead a birding walk through Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the end of the hunting season. [Link]

Nisqually boardwalk a window to nature: Visitors flock to the opening of a mile-long elevated trail leading into restored estuary. The Olympian. February 02, 2011. The tide flowed in as the crowd pushed out onto the $2.8 million boardwalk that opened to the public Tuesday at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The mile-long, over-water boardwalk drew rave reviews from among nearly 200 visitors who attended the opening-day ceremony, including Natalie Cooper of Olympia, who said she has been visiting the refuge since she was a child and has kayaked in the delta as a young adult. [Link]

Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail Dedication on February 1, 2011. January 27, 2011. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge invites you to the grand opening and dedication of the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail on February 1, 2011. The public ceremony starts at 12:15pm and visitors should plan on wearing comfortable shoes and warm clothes appropriate for an outdoor ceremony. Round trip walk from the Visitor Center to the end of the Boardwalk and back is 4 miles. [Link]

NEW Fish Data. January 18, 2011. Update to Fish Science page includes pictures, maps, graphs and summary from 2010 field season [Link]

FREE Restoration and Monitoring Lecture and Panel Discussion on Tuesday, January 25 from 7-9 PM: "Return of the Nisqually Estuary". January 05, 2011. Event Description: The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited and the Nisqually Indian Tribe, restored tidal waters to 762 acres of the Refuge by removing 5 miles of the Brown Farm Dike in the fall of 2009. Jesse Barham (Refuge Restoration Biologist) will talk about the restoration process and construction, Kelley Turner (USGS Biologist) will speak about the preliminary results of the USGS monitoring including both physical and biological responses, and Christopher Ellings (Nisqually Tribe Salmon Research Biologist) will talk about preliminary results of ongoing fish ecology monitoring. Location: 500 Adams St NE Olympia, WA 98501. More information: 360-888-0565 [Link]

Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge gets new boardwalk. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is opening a new boardwalk trail into restored estuary just in time for winter birding. Seattle Times. December 17, 2010. As the light fades and the tide creeps out to sea, they come by twos and threes, their wings whistling in the evening sky: ducks, alighting on the mud flats for supper. This sight, so ordinary, is extraordinary here. For more than 100 years the tide was fenced out of this estuary with dikes. But beginning in the fall of 2009, the dikes were removed, and the tide welcomed back to 762 acres of the refuge. Combined with parts of the estuary already restored by the Nisqually Tribe, nearly a square mile of habitat has been returned to its natural state, the biggest nature reboot north of San Francisco Bay. [Link]

New Nisqually boardwalk is for the birds. December 09, 2010. When dikes were removed to recreate the natural river delta in the Nisqually National Wildlife Reserve, bird watchers and hikers lost a very popular trail. The trail took them along the top of a dike, deep into the refuge, for one of the best bird watching opportunities in the Northwest. But now a new one mile long, $2.7 million boardwalk is about to provide access to tide lands that have been gone from the delta for a hundred years. [Link]

Restoration of the Nisqually Estuary: Tracking the Changes. The Flyway, Spring 2010. September 24, 2010. The restoration of the tides to 762 acres of the Nisqually Estuary in the fall of 2009 initiated many changes at the Refuge. As a mixture of fresh and saltwater spreads across the restored delta, the freshwater vegetation is beginning to decay, marine invertebrates have begun to colonize, and historic tidal sloughs are re-establishing themselves, which the juvenile salmon will utilize this spring. [Link]

Restoration Monitoring: Salmon in the Sloughs. By Kelley Turner, USGS and Chris Ellings, Nisqually Indian Tribe Fisheries Biologist. The Flyway, Fall 2010. September 24, 2010. The restoration of the tides to 762 acres of the Nisqually Estuary last fall has prompted many questions from local scientists. Are threatened juvenile Chinook salmon able to physically access the recently restored tidal sloughs? Are they also feeding in these sloughs? These are questions that the Nisqually Indian Tribe, USGS Western Ecological Research Center, and USGS Western Fisheries Research Center are trying to answer. [Link]

Nisqually Refuge Manager Jean Takekawa receives Warren G. Magnuson Puget Sound Legacy Award. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Refuge Update July/August 2010. August 29, 2010. Jean Takekawa, refuge manager at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, WA, received the 2010 Warren G. Magnuson Puget Sound Legacy Award for her tireless efforts to restore more than 760 acres of the refuge to tidal wetlands. The largest such restoration on the West Coast, the project involved partnerships with the greater Puget Sound community and contributed to groundbreaking science on estuarine restoration monitoring. [Link]

Creating a walk at the delta. Nisqually River: Estuary boardwalk about half done. The Olympian. August 15, 2010. Snaking its way across the recently reclaimed Nisqually River estuary, the mile-long boardwalk at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is nearly 50 percent complete. When it opens to the public, which should be late this year, refuge visitors will have a chance to venture out into a world of mudflats, saltwater vegetation and tidal sloughs rich with marine life and birds, constantly changing with the tides. [Link]

Reflections on the Water: Conversations About the Salish Sea. July 22, 2010. The waters of Puget Sound, Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca define the natural boundaries of the maritime Pacific Northwest. Known collectively as the Salish Sea, it also defines the people who’ve lived in this place from centuries past to the present. [Link]

Tides rechanneling Nisqually River. The News Tribune. February 08, 2010. The tides are back and change is afoot at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. No one knows that better than Jean Takekawa, who manages the 3,000-acre refuge southwest of Tacoma. She is in charge of returning 762 acres of the refuge to a saltwater marsh or estuary after more than 100 years as farmland and freshwater wetlands. “Water is really taking over,” she said this week as higher-than-normal tides flooded into the refuge. “Nature and tides are very effective at this – better than we are at restoring the estuary.” [Link]

Northwest Now - Puget Sound and Nisqually Restoration . KBTC Public Television Tacoma. February 07, 2010. The tide is moving back in to the Nisqually delta. After more than 100 years without saltwater, historic farming dykes have been removed and the waters of the Puget Sound are moving in to recreate a fertile estuary for fish, birds, plants, and mammals. As we splash around in the waters of the Puget Sound, it's disheartening to realize that the Sound is one of the five most polluted waterways in North America. Every year, roughly 52-million pounds of toxic chemicals wash into the Puget Sound. Five types of salmon and the orca are listed by the federal government as endangered species. Over all, one-thousand Puget Sound species are in decline. The price tag to clean up our famed waterway now sits at seven to eight billion dollars. One clean-up project that is well underway is the restoration of the Nisqually delta estuary. After one hundred years of farming. The dikes surrounding the delta are coming down and salt water is returning to this important breeding and feeding ground. [Link]

Video: The Nisqually Estuary Returns. January 05, 2010. Diked and dammed for more than 100 years, the tide is returning to the Nisqually estuary. Conservation partners gathered at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the largest estuary restoration in the Pacific Northwest. After spending 12 years and nearly $10 million, experts have reconnected some 762 acres of estuary with the tides of Puget Sound. [Link]

Puget Sound returns to Nisqually Delta. November 12, 2009. OLYMPIA, Wash. - With the rhythmic beat of Native American drums providing a sound track, Puget Sound tidal waters crept slowly into hundreds of acres of the Nisqually Delta that were taken away more than a century ago. [Link]

Return of the Nisqually Estuary: Celebration and Public Ceremony November 12, 2009. November 01, 2009. You are invited to a very special event at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, November 12, 2009 to welcome the return of the Nisqually Estuary. The event will highlight the restoration of 762 acres of the Nisqually Estuary, the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest. We hope you can join us for this important celebration. The Nisqually Estuary from I-5. [Link]

News Release: Celebration Event to Welcome the Return of the Nisqually Estuary to be held at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Complex. October 29, 2009. A celebration welcoming the return of the Nisqually estuary will be held at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on November 12 from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. This event will highlight the largest estuary restoration in the Pacific Northwest. Nisqually NWR, Ducks Unlimited and the Nisqually Indian Tribe worked tirelessly for more than 12 years with the help of many partners to restore 762 acres of estuary – reconnecting it with the tides of Puget Sound. This celebration will include speakers and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a portion of the new Nisqually Estuary Trail for public viewing of the estoring estuary. This one-half-mile trail will be part of a longer estuary trail, which will include a boardwalk to be built directly in the estuary in 2010. This will allow visitors to experience the wonders of a restoring estuary up close. The event will also include the naming of the longest historical tidal slough in the restoration site Leschi Slough, in honor of Chief Leschi of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. [Link]

Waters flow again at Nisqually estuary. The Olympian. October 01, 2009. Blocked more than 100 years by man-made dikes, the waters of Puget Sound returned to the Nisqually River estuary Wednesday, creating a watery landscape few if any people alive today have ever seen. Five of the seven sloughs that braid their way through the river delta filled with water at high tide after decades as empty, muddy channels. The remaining two will be opened up by construction crews to tidal flows by the end of the week, said Jean Takekawa, refuge manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “I think it’s so special to see the tides moving in,” Takekawa said as she stood on a new, 10,000-foot-long dike, watching Shannon Slough glisten in the afternoon sun with water from the Nisqually Reach in South Puget Sound. “It’s hard to describe how ambitious and challenging this project has been.” [Link]

20th Annual Nisqually Watershed Festival. Nisqually River Council. September 23, 2009. The 20th annual Nisqually Watershed Festival will be held on September 26th, 2009 from 10am to 4pm at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This year’s festival includes numerous exciting entertainment, activities, and exhibits for kids of all ages. The main stage will feature reptiles and birds, music, and dancing. The Red Salmon story tent will be back along with the Thurston County Storm Drain Trailer. There will be activities and exhibits from many conservation minded agencies and organizations included fish printing, plywood fish painting, a touch tank, and many, many more. You should of course bring your appetite; the famous Nisqually Salmon Bake will again be available. It will be a great festival this year and we look forward to having you there! [Link]

Nisqually refuge interpretive programs continue.. The Olympian. September 04, 2009. Interpretive programs at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge continue through September. There is no charge for the programs, but participants must pay the entrance fee for the refuge, which is $3 per family. [Link]

Nisqually restoration: Back to nature. Despite a recession, millions of dollars pour in to restore fertile delta.. The News-Tribune. July 12, 2009. The back-up beeps of heavy equipment are drowning out the calls of songbirds at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge this month. After 12 years of planning and preparation, excavators, dump trucks and bulldozers are resculpting the Nisqually River’s vast delta, turning back to nature what was destroyed by industrial agriculture a century ago. The flurry of activity is partly because of good weather. This summer’s near-record streak of dry days has enabled the earth movers to proceed at maximum efficiency. [Link]

Refuge project wins federal aid. Nisqually: $3.4 million in stimulus money completes funding for tidewater restoration work. . The Olympian . April 28, 2009. The budget is complete for a $12 million project to restore 762 acres of estuary at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Department of Interior announced today that the project will receive some $3.4 million in economic stimulus funding, refuge, manager Jean Takekawa said. The money, combined with an additional $1.45 million for the project in the 2009 refuge budget, is enough to complete construction of the project in 2010, Takekawa said. Refuge managers still seek some $3 million for a multi-year monitoring program to see how the estuary restoration works, she said. [Link]

Kim Larsen, Fisheries biologist, USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, receives USGS/USFWS Science Support Partnership funding. . April 20, 2009. Fisheries biologist Kim Larsen, USGS Western Fisheries Research Center, received USGS/USFWS Science Support Partnership funding to continue work on otolith microstructure as a tool for assessing residence and growth rates of juvenile Chinook salmon in estuarine habitats. [Link]

USGS Geologist Eric Grossman to be honored. . April 19, 2009. USGS Geologist Eric Grossman, Western Coastal and Marine Geology, will be honored for his partnership work with native tribes to study water quality in Puget Sound. The awards ceremony, hosted by the US Department of the Interior, will take place on May 7, 2009 in Washington D.C. [Link]

Brown Farm Dike Trail at wildlife refuge in final days. Trail will close May 3 for $15 million project to restore estuary. . The Olympian. April 16, 2009. NISQUALLY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE — Refuge managers implementing a $15 million estuary-restoration project 12 years in the planning soon will remove the dike at Nisqually. With it will go the Brown Farm Dike Trail, which today provides a 5.5-mile walk along the outer perimeter of the refuge. A farewell walk for the trail will be hosted for the public Saturday, and the trail will be closed May 3 in preparation for a summer of heavy excavation to take out the dike and welcome back the tide, sometime this fall. [Link]

Restoring Nisqually estuary to close popular trail. . Seattle Times . April 15, 2009. NISQUALLY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE — The Nisqually River gnaws away on big rocks pushed into place the last time it took a chunk out of this dike, trying to reclaim its natural route. Pretty soon, it will get its way. Refuge managers implementing a $15 million estuary-restoration project 12 years in the planning will take the dike out for good. With it will go the Brown Farm Dike Trail that today provides a 5.5-mile walk along the outer perimeter of the refuge. A farewell walk for the trail will be hosted for the public on Saturday. [Link]

State seeks millions in grants - Money would help salmon, habitat.. The Olympian. April 07, 2009. OLYMPIA – The state submitted 52 projects totalling more than $101 million in the competition for federal grants earmarked for salmon recovery and marine habitat repairs under the federal stimulus package. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has $170 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for coastal and marine habitat restoration projects nationwide. [Link]

Climate Change, Natural Resources, and Coastal Management Workshop, San Francisco, CA.. January 29, 2009. The following researchers presented during the workshop and a video is available online. Patty Glick, National Wildlife Federation, Seattle: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Habitats in the Pacific Northwest: Application of a Model (Video 7). John Takekawa, USGS Western Ecological Research Center San Francisco Bay Estuary: Estuary-Nearshore Climate Change Effects and Relationship to Migratory and Listed Species (Video 8). Eric Grossman, USGS Coastal and Marine Geology: Forecasting Response of Large River Deltas and Nearshore Ecosystems to Sea-Level and Climate Change in Puget Sound: “Estuary Squeeze” (Video 8). [Link]

Nisqually Tribe recognized for salmon work. . The Olympian. January 03, 2009. A new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's Natural Museum of History in Washington, D.C., shines the spotlight on Northwest salmon, American Indian tribes and the leadership role that the Nisqually tribe has played in bringing Puget Sound chinook back from the brink of extinction. It's a fitting tribute for the Nisqually to be recognized at the national level for their work to restore salmon habitat in the Nisqually River watershed, a watershed that serves as a model for Puget Sound chinook salmon recovery. [Link]

Bringing back the saltwater marshes to Nisqually Refuge. . McClatchy. July 23, 2008. Bulldozers and other earth-moving machines began gouging into a beautiful green meadow near the entrance of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State on Tuesday. "It's such a big change," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge manager Jean Takekawa said. "It's jarring to see heavy equipment out there, but it is how we are bringing back the saltwater marsh." The refuge is on its way to becoming the largest restored saltwater marsh in Puget Sound. The $12 million project, about 10 years in the making, will restore 762 acres of saltwater estuary near the mouth of the Nisqually River. It will provide habitat for chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. [Link]

The Nisqually watershed is getting some help from its neighbors. . Northwest indian Fisheries Commission. December 14, 2007. Four neighboring watershed organizations are chipping in nearly $1 million toward a 700-acre estuary restoration project on the Nisqually River. The restoration project at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge will be the most extensive salmon restoration project in Western Washington. “Juvenile salmon from all across South Sound use the Nisqually estuary, so restoring it would mean healthier salmon populations for all of our watersheds,” said Amy Hatch-Winecka, salmon recovery coordinator for the Deschutes and Kennedy/Goldsborough watersheds. [Link]

Nisqually project helps reverse decades of decline. . The Olympian. January 12, 2007. The Nisqually River Delta is where the action is when it comes to estuary restoration work in Puget Sound. Just last month, the Nisqually tribe welcomed back the saltwater to a 100-acre expanse of pasture land that hadn't seen the tides flow in and out since it was diked for agricultural use more than 100 years ago. On the other side of the river, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is poised to pull back similar dikes to restore 700 acres of estuary in the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. [Link]

Dike removal restores slice of Nisqually River Delta. . AP Wire - Washington / Portland . October 08, 2006. Saltwater rushed back into a 100-acre expanse of pasture land last month that tides hadn't touched since it was diked for agricultural use more than a century ago. On the other side of the Nisqually River, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is poised to pull back similar dikes to restore 700 acres of estuary in the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Such large-scale dike removal projects aim to restore some of the Puget Sound's richest biological reserves — estuaries where rivers meet the sea and provide habitat for hundreds of species of aquatic plants, invertebrates, fish and sea birds. [Link]

Project Partners
Partners U.S. Geological Survey Nisqually Tribes U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System Ducks Unlimited