The Nisqually River and its estuary are home to a variety of fish species.  From the freshwater wetlands to the estuary to the open ocean, fish represent a critical link in the food chain; without a healthy population of fish, conservation efforts flounder.  But fish are also a conservation objective in their own right;throughout the Puget Sound region much energy has been devoted to salmonids, and the restoration of the Nisqually estuary is a critical piece of the recovery efforts.    

  • Salmonids

    Salmonids are a family of fish that are born in freshwater streams, live most of their life in the ocean, then return to the same stream to spawn and die.  Because each stream has its own set of specific environmental conditions, populations of salmon, even within a species, are specially evolved for a their birth stream's special conditions.  This degree of specialization has made salmonids extremely sensitive to change, and many salmonid populations are consequently in decline.

  • Forage Fish

    Forage Fish are not glamorous, but constitute a critical element in an estuarine ecosystem.  These are fish at the base of the food chain, providing nutrients for a broad spectrum of birds and mammals, as well as for other, larger fish species.  At Nisqually, the most common forage fish include stickleback, shiner, perch, sand lance, salmonids and herring.