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Salmon programs receive financial boost in 2008

In late December, the Suquamish Tribe and Kitsap County received good news in the form of two grants from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to help preserve salmon habitats in the North End.

The grant money, totaling $1.1 million overall, was split between five different projects, including the Suquamish beach seining program, which received $101,315, and the county’s purchase plan for Pilot Point in Hansville to preserve 30 acres and 1,000 feet of shoreline for nearshore habitat, which received $460,000. The aim of both projects is to support the continuing resurgence of salmon in local waters. The other three projects receiving financial assistance are located in other areas of Kitsap County.

“The (beach seining) pilot project from Foulweather Bluff to Kingston is a part of that,” said Suquamish Tribal Fisheries Biologist Paul Dorn, who is working on the program. “We’re trying to do a couple of things, like we’ll be doing some beach seining on the east side of Bainbridge Island, and the east side of the peninsula. We’ve got some pretty good research, and the interesting thing from my point of view is we’ve got a lot more rock fish that we usually see.”

Beach seining allows biologists to net and pull in marine animals from their nearshore environments, then measure and catalogue them to create baseline data so in the future, growth or loss in those environments can be more accurately calculated. In the past several years, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and Suquamish Tribe partnered together, on a completely volunteer basis, to get the beach seining program under way.

“One of the things we’re really looking at is redesigning the testing scheme,” Dorn said. “We’d like to supplement some of it with tow netting, going out into deeper water and trying to get further data that way.”

The county’s acquisition of Pilot Point is dependent on an additional three grants before it’s able to move forward with the purchase, said Hansville Greenway Association President Ken Shawcroft.

“Pilot Point will be a trust for the public land purchased by the Puget Sound Partnership,” he said. “A couple of years ago, we were contacted by the county to see if we could be property stewards.”

The Greenway Association is willing to take on that role once the acquisition is complete, and waiting for the rest of the funding to come in to the county’s Facilities, Parks and Recreation Department.

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