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2020 HCSEG Annual Report

2020 HCSEG Annual Report

Striving to deepen the connection between land, people, and salmon through restoration, education and research. Our mission is to ensure that wild salmon are once again abundant in the Pacific Northwest.

A Message From Our Director

Mendy Harlow

Celebrating 30 Years

Looking back over the past 30 years of conservation and restoration work that HCSEG has accomplished reminds me that none of this work could be possible without the support of our volunteers, interns, members, partners, supporters and landowners. Our collective achievements show that having healthy and clean water for our wildlife is important to all of us who enjoy life on the Hood Canal. Thirty years of this success is certainly a milestone worthy of a healthy celebration!

While the pandemic has been very difficult for everyone, I have been astonished by the dedication of my board of directors, our staff, AmeriCorps members, interns and volunteers who have continuously adapted to change, showed up and risen to the challenge every day.

In spite of the pandemic, HCSEG’s accomplishments continued to grow. In 2020, we planted over 11,000 trees and shrubs in riparian areas throughout Hood Canal. These plants, along with the thousands of other plants we installed over the past 30 years, will not only grow to provide shade and healthy habitat for our waterways; they will help us combat climate change through the absorption of billions of pounds of carbon dioxide throughout their lives.

Since 1990, we have also worked to protect and restore over 450 acres of habitat that is critical to the survival of multiple aquatic and terrestrial species. The protection of this habitat not only preserves wild spaces for future generations, but also gives HCSEG the ability to restore the habitat to its historic function. In 2020, HCSEG completed two key acquisitions totaling 13 acres in the Big Quilcene area which is providing a pathway forward for our Quilcene and estuary restoration project in the coming years.

Each year, HCSEG environmental education staff connect with thousands of students to help them learn about the importance of healthy habitat for our fish and wildlife, as well as how this healthy habitat means clean water for us to drink and thriving, biodiverse places for us to enjoy outdoor recreation activities. While 2020 was a difficult year for student interactions, our educators were able to reach kids utilizing new technology in order to keep these kids connected with the outdoor spaces around them.

This amazing place we call home has been a source of comfort and solace for our community over the last year of challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic. With all the new faces we have seen seeking out and enjoying our local outdoor spaces, I feel encouraged by Washingtonians’ need to connect to the natural world and so much gratitude for all of the support you have given us over the past 30 years. Thank you so much for your continued investment of energy, time and undying enthusiasm for a healthy Hood Canal. Your continued support helps us ensure that Hood Canal will continue to be this beautiful place with waters full of vibrant and diverse salmon populations for future generations to enjoy.

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Help Save PNW Salmon:

Last August marks the 20th season of the Summer Chum Trap on the Union River. This project began in response to the ESA listing of Hood Canal Summer Chum in 2000. Since then, the highest Summer Chum return at the trap came in 2003 when HCSEG volunteers counted 11,916 fish. This was the first return of the supplemented brood stock that was taken in 2000. So, in essence, this large return was created using the hatchery conservation method of taking eggs and milt from Summer Chum on the Union River, raising the juveniles at a hatchery, and then returning them during February and March to supplement the juvenile chum outmigration.

The largest “non-supplemented” returns came in 2016 (3,512), 2017 (5,810), and 2018 (3,628). These were the largest natural returns since 1975 and are confidently attributed to the completion of the Union River Estuary Restoration Project in 2013











Honeybees at Farm at Water’s Edge

Honeybees at Farm at Water’s Edge

Growing with Pollinators

Bees and other pollinators are critical to the survival of our planet and we hope to teach, share and celebrate this important relationship with others, as well as improve the health of our own local ecosystem here on the farm. Visit our website for our growing bee resource library, as well as see when you can come watch our next hive check!

In 2020 HCSEG planted 11,000 native plants; restored 0.5 river miles through new riparian plantings; restored 9 acres of riparian habitat through new riparian plantings; and surveyed and controlled knotweed on over 40 stream miles.

In 2021 we have goals to grow these restoration efforts, with plans to install 17,500 native plants; restore 1 river mile and 15 acres of riparian habitat through new riparian plantings; and survey and control knotweed on over 40 stream miles.

2020 HCSEG









The overall goal of the Seabeck Creek Project is to provide additional river access for Hood Canal salmon and steelhead. With the undersized culvert and failed fish ladder now removed, returning adult fish have the ability to pass through this section of creek and access the 7 miles of upstream habitat.