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A Talk on the Wild Side.

140 Years of Conservation: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fisheries Program

If you’re a fan of ours on Facebook, you may have noticed links to our fisheries podcast over the past few weeks.  The series, consisting of nine interviews, is designed to highlight different hot topics throughout the country.  Right now we’re in our sixth week, so we have three more podcasts to go.

How much do you know about the program, why it was started, or what it’s all about?

Well, this is the Fisheries 140th year.  In 1871, the U.S. Department of State encouraged the establishment of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries.  There was a growing concern over the decline in the Nation’s fishery resources, a lack of information about the status of the Nation’s fisheries, and a need to define and protect fishing rights in the United States. 

Today, our Fisheries Program plays an important role in conserving America’s fisheries.   We work with key partners from States, Tribes, federal agencies, other Fish and Wildlife Service programs, and private interests in a larger effort to conserve fish and other aquatic resources.

Bull Trout

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Washington: Tide Returns to Nisqually Estuary

Many bird species resting at a wetland

This project is a model of how estuary restoration can happen while providing a mosaic of diverse habitats for fish and migratory birds, quality public access, and education. Photo: Jesse Barham, USFWS. Download.

Photo iconPhotos: Nisqually Restoration and Boardwalk Projects on Flickr

Video iconVideo: Rivers and Tides: Restoring the Nisqually Estuary

River delta restoration projects are considered crucial to provide increased resiliency to large estuary systems – a key tool for adaptation in the face of climate change and related impacts of sea level rise. The Nisqually estuary in Washington State is a shining example.

After a century of diking off tidal flow, the Brown Farm Dike was removed in October 2009, allowing tidal waters to once again inundate 762 acres of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia, Washington. Along with 140 acres of tidal wetlands restored by the Nisqually Indian Tribe, the Nisqually Delta represents the largest tidal marsh restoration project in the Pacific Northwest to assist in recovery of Puget Sound salmon and wildlife populations.

During the past decade, the refuge and close partners, including the Tribe and Ducks Unlimited, have restored more than 22 miles of the historic tidal slough systems and re-connected historic floodplains to the Puget Sound in Washington State, providing the potential to increase salt marsh habitat in the southern reach of Puget Sound by more than 50 percent. The projects have also initiated the restoration of more than 70 acres of riparian surge plain forest, an extremely depleted type of tidal forest important for juvenile salmon and songbirds.

“The project is an important step in the recovery of Puget Sound,” says Refuge Manager Jean Takekawa. “Combined with the 140 acres previously restored by the Nisqually Indian Tribe, more than 900 acres of the Nisqually estuary have been restored.”

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