Snohomish Watershed Salmon Recovery Planning

Watershed Overview

Covering an area of approximately 1,856 square miles in both King and Snohomish counties, the Snohomish River Basin contains about 2,718 miles in stream length, making it the second largest basin draining into Puget Sound. The Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers originate in the Cascade Mountains and flow along chains of rural communities and state highways (2 and 203) to join near the City of Monroe where they become the Snohomish River. The Snohomish River flows into the estuary near the City of Snohomish and finally joins Puget Sound between the urban centers of Everett and Marysville.

Nine salmonid species use these fresh waters for spawning and rearing:
  • Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye Salmon
  • Steelhead and Rainbow Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Bull Trout
  • Mountain Whitefish

There are two populations of threatened Chinook salmon: Skykomish and Snoqualmie—both are below 10% of their estimated historic population levels. The four listed bull trout populations – North Fork Skykomish, Troublesome Creek, Salmon Creek, and South Fork Skykomish – have populations estimated at less than 100. The basin produces between 25-50% of coho salmon in Puget Sound.

Cooperating Parties

Cooperative recovery planning efforts in the basin date back to the mid-1990s. The 41-member Snohomish River Basin Salmon Recovery Forum includes members from Snohomish and King counties, Tulalip Tribes, 14 cities, many special purpose districts, interest groups ranging from conservation to farming and business, and citizens. The group set the recovery priorities for the basin in the Snohomish River Basin Salmon Conservation Plan.


View publications for either marine resources or salmon recovery within the county and individual watersheds. Marine Resources publications deal with nearshore marine resources, such as Dungeness Crab conservation and derelict fishing gear removal. Salmon Recovery publications are related to planning documents, such as the Stillaguamish Watershed Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan, or technical documents that support planning or project implementation by the county.

Snohomish River Basin Ecological Analysis for Salmonid Conservation

The Snohomish River Basin Ecological Analysis for Salmonid Conservation was developed by the Snohomish River Basin Salmonid Recovery Technical Committee as the technical foundation for the Snohomish Basin Salmon Recovery Forum’s Salmon Conservation Plan. It is a collaborative effort between the Technical Committee, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries and the Puget Sound Technical Recovery Team. The objectives of the Ecological Analysis are to:

  • Integrate existing and ongoing inventories and analyses into one framework
  • Update the near term chinook salmon conservation strategy to incorporate new data, broaden to include other salmonid species, and provide long-term, basin-wide guidance
  • Develop and test recovery strategies to assist the Forum in crafting conservation alternatives and in selecting a preferred alternative for the Conservation Plan.