Programs & Services
Fisheries Habitat Program
Page last updated:
May 24, 2023
May 24, 2023

Philip Starr Administration Building 

39015-A 172nd Ave SE 

Auburn, WA 98092


Mon 8:00am - 5:00pm

Tue 8:00am - 5:00pm

Wed 8:00am - 5:00pm

Thu 8:00am - 5:00pm

Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm

Program Overview

Kalen Williams and Karl Madplume at a Crisp Creektributary site 2022.

The Habitat Program focuses on the aquatic habitats necessary to sustain the Tribe’s fisheries resources. The goal of the program is to pursue opportunities to minimize development impacts on Tribal fishing opportunity within the Muckleshoot Usual and Accustomed Fishing Area, including the White, Green-Duwamish, and Lake Washington basins. When possible, this includes directing project proposals to improve habitat and afford additional Tribal fishing opportunity. Staff also work collaboratively with other Fisheries Programs to support and advance the Tribe’s Urban Salmon Strategy. The Habitat Program includes two technical teams, the Watershed and Land Use Team, and the Water Team. Key accomplishments for 2022 and the outlook for 2023 are summarized below.

Services Provided

Watershed and Land Use Team

Monitors pending development proposals/permits, including forest practices and land use permits in the Tribe’s Usual and Accustomed watersheds, in order to assess potential harm to fish habitat or water quality. Team members identify measures to avoid or mitigate impacts and seek opportunities to improve and restore fish habitat. As part of this work, the Team assesses the potential for projects to interfere with treaty fishing access and works with the Muckleshoot Fish Commission to identify measures to alleviate impacts. The Team works with a wide variety of local, state, and federal government agencies which authorize or plan development activities.

Water Team

Collects data and participates in projects, plans, and legislation, concerning stream flows, water rights, water supply, and water pollution. Efforts focus on curtailing the impacts of human activities that cause water pollution or reduce the amount of water available to fish. The team works with government agencies to ensure that toxic spills and contaminated waterways are adequately cleaned up. State legislation is monitored and actively prevented from reducing in-stream flow protections as much as possible.

Eligibility for Services

Outlook for 2023

The Ballard large lockage empty of water for their annual cleaning.
  • Continue working to protect and restore fish habitat by reviewing, and responding to plans, permits, and legislation from local, state, and federal agencies to identify necessary mitigation measures and restoration opportunities.
  • Engage with local governments, state and federal agencies in an effort to protect and improve fish habitat conditions and protect tribal fishing sites affected by a variety of actions including piers/docks, levee projects, and other activities planned in the Tribe’s U&A.
  • Continue to implement the culvert case injunction for barrier corrections at State and Federal Highways, and work with the counties and local governments to correct fish barriers under those jurisdictions.
  • Continue monitoring water quality in the White River and Crisp Creek to document conditions and pollution levels.
  • Implement the pH and phosphorus cleanup plan for the White River with state and federal agencies.
  • Maintain the Tribe’s Water Quality Lab for accreditation to ensure that the Lab continues to meet professional standards to test for several water quality parameters.
  • Track and influence state legislation that affects instream flow and habitat and to participate in watershed planning and habitat restoration efforts. Water right permitting processes will be monitored and tribal interests addressed.

Highlights of 2022

Watershed and Land Use Team Highlights

  • Reviewed over 2,100 federal, state, and local government permits, and over 250 were prioritized for further review and/or site visits. Team efforts often resulted in project modifications of new measures to mitigate negative development effects on fish habitat. Examples were adding fish-passible culverts at road crossings, minimizing or mitigating the adverse impacts of levee maintenance and associated Habitat Conservation Plans, verifying streams that support salmon, and increasing buffers to better protect wetlands and streams.
  • Worked closely with Federal and State agencies subject to the federal culvert case injunction to ensure that new and replaced road crossings would not impede salmon migration. Technical recommendations and oversight were provided for dozens of Interstate and State Highway projects involving multiple stream crossings, such as the SR 167, SR 522, SR 524, SR 18, SR 169, SR 202, SR 410, SR 525, SR 164, I-5 and I-405 road widening projects, and Sound Transit’s Lynnwood, Redmond, Ballard, West Seattle, and Federal Way Interchange at I-5.
  • Continued our engagement with the US Army Corps of Engineers regarding mitigation banking projects proposed in the U&A to ensure that salmon and their habitats are sufficiently protected.
  • Continued working on floodplain and habitat restoration opportunities on the Cedar, Green, White, and Puyallup Rivers as well as many tributaries.

Water Team Highlights

  • Monitored water quality in the White River and Crisp Creek, which is the source of water for operations at the Tribe’s Keta-Crisp Creek Hatchery. Monitoring results will be shared as appropriate with other agencies to document conditions and pollution levels.
  • Continued work with state and federal agencies to complete a water clean up plan to reduce pollution from piped discharges in the White River. Staff worked with local agencies to address agricultural and hobby farm pollution along the White River and its tributaries.
  • Maintained State accreditation to test water quality samples for six water quality parameters in the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s Water Quality Laboratory.
  • Participated on the state Legislative Task Force on Water Rights Mitigation as the technical tribal representative. Advocated for fish and flow protection currently in the water code and opposed legislative changes to weaken those.
  • Worked with the Tribe’s lobbyist to ensure no laws adverse to flow protection were passed by the state legislature.
  • Monitored the Tribe’s hatchery water rights to ensure compliance with permits and tracked water right issues in the Tribe’s U&A area. Successfully secured the water right change for the Tribe’s White River Hatchery.
  • Tracked flow operations for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the new Fish Passage Facility on the White River and communicated concerns for fish habitat to the USACE.

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