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Shared Strategy Conference

Shared Strategy Conference Breakout Sessions
February 5, 2003, Tacoma, Washington

The purpose of the conference breakout sessions were to create dialogue and foster mutual understanding among the many interests who must come together to build a collaborative salmon recovery plan for Puget Sound. The sessions varied in structure but all highlighted projects and activities that improve salmon and watershed health and recognize the other core values of local communities. Building on and learning from existing success stories is a cornerstone of Shared Strategy's approach to salmon recovery.

Common themes identified across breakout sessions included:

  • build relationships and trust;
  • identify a common vision and clear goals;
  • expand knowledge and education;
  • establish clear measurements for success;
  • plan for the long-term;
  • provide flexibility at the state and local levels; and
  • broaden community engagement.

Breakout Sessions:


Agriculture (top of page)

The Agriculture Breakout Session looked at the needs and challenges facing farmers in Puget Sound, the key ingredients for successful farming in the future and how the agricultural community can contribute to improving the health of salmon and our watersheds.

The session was facilitated by Jagoda Perich-Anderson from Triangle and Associates, and Vaughn Brown from Jeanne Larson and Associates. Presenters included:

  • Jay Gordon, Washington State Dairy Federation
  • Jason Vanderveen, Whatcom County Agriculture Preservation Committee
  • John Sayre, Northwest Chinook Recovery
  • Anne Seiter, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe

Speakers provided an overview of the issues facing farmers in western Washington, including stiff competition in the global market place, pressure from development, increasingly complex regulation and declining profits. The chilling rise in suicide rates among diary farmers facing disastrously low milk prices was mentioned and exclaims the challenges confronting farmers today. Presentations provided inspiring examples of farmers in the Nooksack, Skykomish and Dungeness watersheds taking action to protect and restore the environment while enhancing the prosperity of their farms.

Audience discussion focused on several key questions. How can collaborative actions support both agriculture and salmon recovery? What are the keys to successful collaboration? What inhibits collaboration between the agricultural community and salmon recovery advocates?

Key conclusions included:

1. Building relationships with farm communities means building relationships with individuals. No single organization (or conglomeration of organizations) can truly represent the interests of every farmer in a watershed. Building person to person relationships may require 100 cups of coffee or more.
2. Tribal members were involved in the discussion and participants recognized the "toughness" of both farmers and tribes. Both are survivors and have strong ties to the land and natural resources. There are many common values between them and a common experience with loss of wealth and experienced hardship.
3. Leadership to build a better future for agriculture and fish in Puget Sound requires going against the grain of past experience and takes courage. In the past farming has been pitted against salmon recovery. In the future, the needs of salmon, tribal fishing rights and property rights should be addressed together.
4. Farmers are inspired to improve the health of their watershed if they are respected and acknowledged for their historic knowledge. Farmers want to know how their contribution will make a difference which will give them a sense of good will and pride. They want to be given flexibility and incentives to accomplish salmon and watershed health objectives rather than be handed detailed prescriptions. Lastly, if the farming potential of their land is compromised, farmers need to be compensated appropriately if their enterprise is to be sustainable.

The session provided a new sense of hope for how farmers can be supported and productively engaged in their watershed, and how tribes and farmers can build partnerships for the future health of farms and fish.

Conservation and Restoration (top of page)

The Conservation & Restoration Breakout Session explored a variety of successful conservation and restoration efforts in Puget Sound and how each of them contributes to salmon recovery. The wide variety of efforts examined included habitat preservation and both large-and small-scale habitat restoration projects.

The session was facilitated by Lisa Dally-Wilson of Golder and Associates and Dennis Canty of Evergreen Funding Consultants. Presenters included:

  • Roger Hoesterey, Trust for Public Land and Maggie Coon, The Nature Conservancy
  • Martha Bray, Skagit Land Trust and Bob Carey, The Nature Conservancy
  • Randy Johnson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Neil Werner, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group

Presentations highlighted improvements in the strategic selection of projects through studies such as The Nature Conservancy's Bioregional Plan, watershed planning and development of strong criteria for project prioritization. Presenters noted that success is being measured using more sophisticated methods and the region can build on an already strong network of volunteers and grassroots groups such as the Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups.

Audience discussion focused on a few key questions. What are the best measures currently to assess the success of conservation and restoration projects? Are there ways to better prioritize efforts on a watershed and regional basis? What changes would encourage landowner participation in conservation and restoration efforts? How can the results from current efforts better inform decision makers and funding agencies?

Key conclusions included:

1. Evaluating success is problematic when actions may take decades before they are fully functioning and environmental factors such as ocean-driven fish returns are so variable. Key measures, however, should include the sustainability of a project after it has been implemented and the amount of maintenance required to keep it functioning. We need to define how projects contribute to ecosystem health in addition to how they benefit individual species. Measuring success will be easier once a recovery plan is in place and we can measure efforts against desired environmental results and the goals of the plan.
2. Watershed efforts to prioritize projects have been greatly improved over the last few years. Increased attention is needed to social factors such as building community support for long-term recovery efforts.
3. Landowner interest can be enhanced by improving the permit process for projects beneficial to watershed health. Property owners need to be engaged at the start of project planning. Disincentives to restoration projects created by application of protective regulations should to be eliminated. For example, existing laws can increase the liability of property owners who allow habitat restoration on their land.
4. Assessing when to use acquisition of land and easements, and when to use regulations, is an ongoing need. Concern remains that acquiring farm and timber lands may limit the future viability of forestry and farming in Puget Sound. Awareness of maintaining the land base for these vital economic sectors is needed.

Participants were inspired to learn of the diversity of conservation and restoration projects throughout Puget Sound. They identified the strong need for a clearinghouse demonstrating the wealth of activities and results across Puget Sound. Congress and the Legislature in particular need continued demonstration of the mounting benefits salmon recovery funding delivers.

Growth Management and the Built Environment (top of page)

The Growth Management & the Built Environment Breakout Session looked at how growth management can be successfully integrated with salmon recovery planning and at key actions to improve watershed health in urban and urbanizing areas.

The session was facilitated by Brad Shinn of the Norton-Arnold Company and Bruce Laing former King County Councilmember and private consultant. Presenters included:

  • Christine Endresen, Kitsap County
  • Paul Nelson, Kitsap County, Chico Watershed Plan
  • Peter Orser, Quadrant, Green Communities
  • Denise Andrews, City of Seattle, Using Natural Systems in an Urban Environment

Presentations illustrated the importance for local communities to integrate growth management with salmon recovery and watershed planning. Current economic conditions demand increased efficiency to meet competing demands on local governments and affected parties. Examples from both the public and private sectors demonstrated how they are meeting growth demands and providing environmental benefits in existing and developing urban centers.

New strategic information, like the Seattle Urban Blueprint, is available to prioritize actions in urban areas and help guide wise investments. Addressing human needs together with environmental concerns energizes local communities to think about their future. The Chico Watershed Plan illustrated how people with very diverse interests can create a common vision for the future for their community and move beyond conflicts between environmentalists and property owners.

Audience discussion focused on two key questions. How do we engage local community members in watershed health and salmon recovery in a way that recognizes their growth related needs? What broad incentives will encourage land owner and development community members to engage in growth management and salmon recovery?

Key conclusions included:

1. Successful integration of growth management, salmon recovery and watershed planning requires agreement on ultimate goals and outcomes. Success requires a broad and effective engagement of both advocates and affected parties. An inclusive process is needed to identify common interests and develop a vision for the future that respects and addresses specific needs in the community.
2. Flexibility and efficiency in state and federally mandated processes is required for local communities to develop a plan for their interests. Numerous and conflicting state and federal mandates lead to redundant processes at the local level, consuming precious resources and community capital.
3. Planning for future growth and salmon recovery can be controversial and risky for community leaders. Local and regional support is critical to allow private and public leaders to take necessary risks and build consensus in their communities.
4. Better enforcement of existing laws that support watershed health and salmon recovery should occur before creation of new, more stringent regulations.
5. Attention to both economic costs and environmental protection is required to ensure the most cost-effective approaches.

Session participants pointed to the need to identify the most effective means to support salmon in urban environments and the need to encourage integration of growth planning and salmon recovery.

Forestry (top of page)

The Forestry Breakout Session looked at the roles of public and private forest management in improving watershed health and how to integrate the efforts of forestry interests, local governments and watershed groups.

The session was facilitated by Margaret Norton-Arnold of the Norton-Arnold Company and Brenda Kramer from Seattle Parks and Recreation. Presenters included:

  • Ann Goos, Washington Forest Protection Association
  • Debora Brown-Munguia, Washington Department of Natural Resources
  • John Gorman, Simpson Resources
  • Gene Duvernoy, Cascade Land Conservancy

Presentations highlighted unprecedented efforts by public and private forest interests to improve watershed health and maintain the economic viability of forestry. Timber interests over the last two decades have developed a scientifically sound approach to reducing impacts and improving conditions for salmon by addressing sediment, slope stability, water quality and fish passage.

Management plans implemented on private and public forest lands over the next 15 years will provide significant improvements for watershed health and support sustainable forestry long into the future. Extensive monitoring and adaptive management efforts are underway in private and public forests.

Audience discussion focused on the following questions. How are forests managed to benefit salmon and what are the impacts of recovery-related decisions on the forest industry? What are the key elements for connecting forest management with watershed groups? What lessons about collaboration in forest management apply to collaborative efforts to recover salmon?

Key conclusions included:

1. People are tired of the timber wars and see the benefit of collaboration among forestry and other interests working in common watersheds. Monitoring and adaptive management in the forestry sector can inform other watershed efforts.
2. An effective and efficient way to engage forestry interests in salmon recovery and watershed planning is needed. Effective engagement requires understanding and respect for existing agreements on environmental standards and processes between the forestry sector and the federal and state governments. Economic constraints limit the ability of private timber companies to participate in all the meetings and activities of watershed groups. The timber industry, however, is very interested to plug into watershed planning efficiently and according to strategic priorities for them and other work in the watersheds.
3. More work is needed on how to integrate data and results from forestry into our overall understanding of watershed function.
4. Regional support is needed to keep timberlands into the future and meet the demands of new sustainable management methods. Many private forest areas are being lost to housing or commercial development. Building political support at the regional level is needed to keep land in forestry.
5. A venue is needed to connect timberland owners and farmers. In many areas timberlands border active farms. They share common interests and challenges that need be to addressed.

Session participants identified the need to strengthen relationships among public and private forest owners and other interests working for watershed health.

Fisheries (top of page)

The Fisheries Breakout Session looked at harvest management and how it can be integrated with hatcheries and habitat to increase salmon runs.

The session was facilitated by Bill Ross and Gail Gatton of Ross & Associates. Presenters included:

  • Jeff Koenings, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Randy Kinley, Lummi Nation and commercial fisher
  • Mike Grayum, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
  • Curt Kraemer, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Kit Rawson, Tulalip Tribes

Presentations focused on the value of harvest, how it is managed and the need for its integration with habitat and hatcheries at the watershed level. Statewide, harvest supports more than 24,000 jobs and generates more than $2.4 billion in related spending per year. There have been dramatic changes to harvest practices over the last ten years allowing more fish to reach spawning grounds. Harvest of wild stocks is managed to support recovery. Harvest cut backs have come at a significant cost to tribal and non-tribal fishers. Current favorable ocean conditions offer an opportunity to jumpstart salmon recovery and to provide more fishing while they persist.

Audience discussion focused on the following questions. What issues at the watershed level must be addressed for coordination of harvest, habitat and hatcheries (Hs) management? What additional measures can be taken, or information provided, to support a collaborative approach to harvest at the state, regional and watershed levels?

Major conclusions included:

1. Current trends indicate harvest is being managed to support recovery. Delivering accessible information about harvest reform to people and communities in the watersheds is critical to building support for management efforts by the tribes, state and federal governments. The people affected by harvest management need to be connected with people working on habitat and hatcheries.
2. Limiting restrictions to harvest alone won't be sufficient to achieve recovery of wild stocks. An integrated approach is necessary that provides a consistent approach to management of all Hs. Harvest reforms can have immediate benefits while results take longer to manifest from habitat protection and restoration. Harvest can be managed to provide more spawners as habitat improves.
3. Monitoring harvest results can help determine the effect of integrated management but more monitoring is needed to adaptively manage across all Hs.

Participants expressed support for the state and tribes in their approach to harvest management. Information provided on the need for integration of the Hs was clear and useful. Participants agreed more work is needed to clearly explain the effect of harvest management on results at the watershed level.

Hatchery Reform (top of page)

The Hatcheries Breakout Session looked at how collaborative planning can make hatcheries effective tools to recover wild salmon and support sustainable fisheries.

The session was facilitated by Krystyna Wolniakowski of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Betsy Daniels of Long Live the Kings. Presenters included:

  • Barbara Cairns, Long Live the Kings
  • Don Campton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Paul Seidel, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Pat Crain, Clallam County
  • David Troutt, Nisqually Tribe

Presentations provided an overview of how hatcheries have been managed in the past, why changes were needed, and how the Hatchery Reform Project identifies management changes to support sustainable fisheries and recovery of wild salmon. Hatcheries are no longer viewed as isolated production facilities independent of the habitat and harvest practices that affect them. Through independent science and sound policy, hatchery reform is directing hatchery management to reflect current habitat and wild stock conditions and restoration goals.

Audience discussion focused on the following questions. How are hatcheries changing to address reform recommendations? What are key points and means for integration of hatchery changes with other efforts in the same watershed? How do we start the integration process?

Major conclusions included:

1. Enormous progress has been made in a short period of time due to strong, independent science and the commitment of tribes and the state. Work remains to finish the reform process and implement its recommendations, including integration with habitat and harvest.
2. Integration with harvest and habitat work is needed at the watershed level to maximize the potential for salmon recovery. People in each watershed need better information about local hatchery management, proposed reforms and about the vision for hatcheries to move beyond the "hatchery versus wild" conflict.
3. Integration needs to begin by connecting the people and organizations working on hatchery reform with those working on habitat protection and restoration.

Participants noted the hatchery reform process has made impressive progress in a short period of time. Participants pledged to help tell the story of how hatchery management has evolved and that integration is underway at the watershed level.

Marine Waters and the Nearshore (top of page)

The Marine Waters and Nearshore Breakout Session was a forum for building a collaborative dialogue and understanding about the roles nearshore and marine ecosystems play in Puget Sound salmon recovery planning.

The session was facilitated by Megan Smith, staff to the King County Council and Dan Siemann with the Dan Evans School of Public Policy at the University of Washington. Presenters included:

  • Bernie Hargrave, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and PSNER Partnership
  • Scott Redman, Puget Sound Action Team
  • Hugh Shipman, Department of Ecology and PSNER Science Team
  • Kurt Fresh, NOAA Fisheries and PSNER Science Team
  • Tim Smith, Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and PSNER Partnership
  • Curtis Tanner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and PSNER Partnership
  • Jacques White, People for Puget Sound
  • George Blomberg, Port of Seattle
  • Curtis Tanner, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Presentations provided a comprehensive overview of current knowledge, analysis and challenges in the nearshore environment as they relate to salmon. Significant efforts have been made over the last two decades to improve the overall quality and functioning of Puget Sound marine waters. Efforts to understand the functions and opportunities for protection and restoration in the nearshore, however, are just beginning. Presenters discussed draft principles to guide action in the nearshore and provided examples of how recent projects address those principles.

Audience discussion focused on the following questions. What are the best actions to protect and improve the nearshore for all species? How can the Puget Sound Nearshore Project aid salmon recovery? How should groups organize across Puget Sound to maximize their benefit to the nearshore environment?

Major conclusions included:

1. All of Puget Sound - both fresh and marine environments - is important to all species of salmon. Scientists can't answer how much protection and restoration of nearshore habitat would be enough to meet recovery goals but they know the nearshore is critical to salmon. Principles are needed to guide effective protection and restoration efforts in the near term and to provide a qualitative guide for building the regional recovery plan.
2. People working on the nearshore are frustrated by the lack of visibility and support for nearshore projects at the watershed and state levels. The lack of scientific certainty about project priorities coupled with a strong desire to take advantage of near-term action opportunities makes planning difficult.
3. Region-wide interests and concerns about marine and nearshore environments must be integrated into locally-driven efforts to recover salmon. Institutional arrangements should be sought to improve the flow of information among region-wide efforts, lead entities in the watersheds and other organizations working locally. The Marine Resource Committees of the seven northern Puget Sound counties were recognized as key players for informing local decisions about marine and nearshore aspects of salmon recovery.
4. Projects are likely to be more effective if they are linked to a science-based strategy. Although findings of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Study won't be available for several years, it's important to think now about an institutional framework to successfully implement projects.

Session participants learned the value of the science developing under The Nearshore Project and see opportunities for further collaboration among project members and people working on related issues at the local level.

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