Estuaries are the interface between freshwater rivers and the ocean, and serve as a salmon’s migratory connection to and from the ocean. Some species of salmon spend more time in the estuary than others (up to 180 days), but this area is critical for the success of all salmon, since moving between freshwater and saltwater is no easy task (as this article explains).
The Puget Sound is essentially a very large estuary with extreme salinity gradients due to the amount of freshwater inputs. This makes the smolting phase for salmon more successful, but also makes for a diverse ecosystem rich in nutrients, food, and shelter for the salmon to take advantage of during this stressful time in its lifecycle.
SPSSEG’s nearshore projects often include bulkhead removals to restore tidal function and feeder bluff interaction, or restore fish passage to rivers and streams.