Snow and Salmon Creeks

Finding common ground and working together to restore salmon habitat.

A Bird’s-Eye View

Salmon Snow EstuarySnow Creek and Salmon Creek flow from the foothills of the Olympic Mountains down to the head of Discovery Bay. Here they form the Snow and Salmon Creek Estuary — one of the most intact estuaries of its kind on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal, and the stronghold of the area’s endangered summer chum salmon.

These waters and shorelines provide a wealth of habitat for summer chum, steelhead, coho, Puget Sound chinook, white sturgeon, three species of forage fish, and Olympic oysters and other shellfish. Shorebirds and waterfowl, including trumpeter swans and bald and golden eagles, feed on salmon carcasses along the creeks in the intertidal areas.

The Preservation Story

More than 500 acres of scenic estuary, wetland, creek, and buffer habitat have been protected in the Snow and Salmon Creeks watershed, from the head of the bay all the way to Crocker Lake and the foothills above the valley, including some adjoining farmland and forests.

Together, Jefferson Land Trust and our Chumsortium project partners have acquired nearly 180 acres from willing landowners. Six-and-a-half acres of this is the Snow Creek Estuary Preserve, a critical part of Snow Creek and surrounding habitat and uplands that we purchased in 2011.

Finding common ground

The Preserve is part of an ongoing restoration effort led by the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Restoration work has been very complex in this area, balancing the interests of many different groups and undertaken in cooperation with landowners, Chumsortium partners, permitting agencies, Washington State Department of Transportation, Jefferson County, and private contractors. It has included removing several dilapidated structures, an old abandoned railroad grade and moving a residential waterline.

A new generation gets its hands dirty

The Chumsortium partnership has worked particularly hard to protect and restore the habitat corridors running along Snow and Salmon Creeks. Some landowners and project partners have grown up in this area and their children are now involved in restoration projects, too. We are proud to see a new generation of conservationists getting their hands dirty to give fish and wildlife a healthier and more climate-resilient corridor.”

Visiting Snow and Salmon Creek Estuary Preserve

The preserve is located at 31 Fairmount Road at Discovery Bay. From Port Townsend, traveling south on Highway 20, keep right on at the junction with Highway 19, turning right at the stoplight. Travel 7.6 miles and take a right on Fairmount Road. Park on Fairmount Road. The property is downslope of the junction of Highway 20 and Fairmount Road.

Additional Resources

Snow & Salmon Creek Estuary 2004 bird list

Snow & Salmon Creek Estuary 2004 plant list