USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The rivers and forests of the Olympic Peninsula have long been important sources of natural resources. For the Quinault Indian Nation of the southwestern Olympic Peninsula, forests and fisheries have been the cultural and economic mainstay for thousands of years. To protect and restore these dwindling resources, the Quinault Indian Nation is undertaking a science-based approach for land management, in which understanding of ecologic conditions and functions is developed as a basis for steering land management activities in directions that promote societal values. The Quinault, Queets, Raft, and Salmon are four rivers that flow on or adjacent to Quinault Indian Nation lands that are important for fish production. These rivers actively avulse and migrate across their floodplains, leaving oxbow lakes, sloughs, and side channels that serve as critical habitat for many aquatic species, including rearing and refugia areas for anadromous salmonids such as Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, and Steelhead. This proposal is to study channel, large wood, floodplain, and riparian vegetation dynamics on these rivers as a component of participating in a watershed analysis of the 34 mi2 Salmon River.