About Recovery Planning & Implementation Efforts in Lake Ozette
Following the listing Lake Ozette sockeye, the Lake Ozette Steering Committee formed to address the biological and environmental factors impeding the population’s survival. Several diverse bodies comprise the Steering Committee, including local, private, state, tribal, and federal partners. In 1999, when Lake Ozette sockeye became a federally protected species, the Steering Committee assisted NOAA Fisheries in its development of a biologically sound plan to guide recovery efforts. NOAA Fisheries adopted the Lake Ozette Sockeye Salmon Recovery Plan in 2009. The plan provides the foundation for restoring the population to healthy levels and is the foundation for voluntary action.
Since the plan's adoption, partners have taken the recovery plan from words to action. Through the work of the Lake Ozette Steering Committee, the recovery plan is making progress in several key areas, including habitat restoration and scientific research. Some example recovery actions include:
- Makah Tribal biologists continue to monitor water quality in tributary streams and collect survival data by trapping juvenile sockeye migrants at a weir in the outlet of the lake;
- Implementation of the Makah Tribe’s Umbrella Creek and Big River hatchery programs continues to provide a genetic reserve for the at-risk beach spawners, and has improved the geographic distribution of the population by establishing spawning in these tributaries;
- Local citizens continue to remove invasive weeds along streams, such as knotweed, to restore native vegetation and habitat complexity;
- NOAA Fisheries and Makah Tribe Fisheries Management collected river otter scat between 1998 and 2003. Through visual and genetic identification, the collected samples revealed river otter food habits. The analysis documented monthly fluctuations of river otter predation rates on juvenile and adult salmon, with special emphasis on predation rates of adult Lake Ozette sockeye. The results of the analysis will inform predation management strategies in the future;
- Olympic National Park is managing fisheries in the lake to reduce the risk of incidentally catching sockeye and encouraging the removal of non-native fish that prey on and compete with juvenile sockeye;
- Since 2001, forest landowners have implemented stream protection rules designed to protect Lake Ozette sockeye and meet Clean Water Act standards. Nearly 25 percent of current timberlands are left unharvested to protect streams and unstable slopes that could deliver sediment to streams.