Thursday February 22, 2024

NOAA Fisheries

The cold water rivers of Western Washington descend from the glaciers and snow-capped mountains of Olympic National Park. They hold some of the last, best freshwater habitat for salmon and steelhead in the lower 48 states. Despite a warming climate, their high-elevation headwaters are predicted to remain cool enough for salmon and steelhead for at least the next 50 years.

However, the region’s roads—some a legacy of the logging industry—crisscross the watersheds. They often force streams to flow underneath them through small, poorly designed tunnels called culverts that block fish passage. There are more than 4,000 culvert barriers on the Olympic Peninsula. Salmon and steelhead are often unable to reach the historical habitat they need to spawn and produce the next generation.

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