regional fisheries coalition | 2020-21 annual report

Perseverance & Grit

A passion strong enough to overcome obstacles.
“I have watched kids who grow up planting trees, mature right alongside the trees they steward. And as they grow, from schoolchildren to young adults, they learn that restoring salmon habitat is a long-term process.”

-Rachel Vasak, Board President, Regional Fisheries Coalition

THE UNIFIED VOIce of Washington’s 14 regional fisheries enhancement groups

Welcome to our 2020-21 Annual Report

Our communities have grit. They find inspiration in the salmon that return to their spawning grounds, despite many ocean challenges and myriad barriers along their journey.

The 14 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) that make up the Regional Fisheries Coalition (RFC) have spent more than 30 years partnering with community members in the regions where we work to restore vital salmon habitat. 

Together, we have been steadfast in our determination, and creative in our approaches. Please join me in celebrating–and learning more about–the successes our collective grit has brought, here in our 2020-2021 Annual Report.

Rachel Vasak

RFC Board President

Making an Impact for 30+ Years



Fish Passage


Miles of
Stream Opened






Miles of



Our programs are statewide; our priorities are local.

As independent nonprofits, the 14 Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) are community-driven. We know the rivers in our regions intimately. And we know our communities. We are nimble, even in the face of challenges; we are resilient.

Harnessing the Power of Community
to Recover Salmon


Restoring watersheds, forests, and shorelines; providing fish passage, lessening flood risk, improving habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Featured Project

Quartz Creek Large Wood Replacement

RFEG: Mid Columbia

Sixty-six trees near Quartz Creek were thinned for forest health and fire resiliency, and were placed into Quartz Creek to improve fish habitat. 


Providing experiences that apply classroom learning to the real world; helping curious students to become environmental stewards.

Featured Project

in Schools

RFEG: Tri State Steelheaders

Students raise salmon in classroom tanks, learning about salmon’s lifecycle and needs, then release them into local streams each spring.


Releasing millions of fish yearly, in accordance with regional recovery plans; returning carcasses to provide nutrients to forest & river food webs.

Featured Project

Chiwawa River Nutrient Enhancement

RFEG: Cascade Fisheries

Salmon pellets are added to a river without a healthy salmon run, replacing food for juvenile salmon that was historically provided by returning adults.


Training citizen scientists to track and evaluate restoration impacts; involving communities directly in salmon recovery in their watersheds.

Featured Project

Clear Creek
Puyallup River Estuary

RFEG: South Puget Sound

Working with partners to tag and release juvenile salmon, improving our understanding about their habitat distribution, movement, and survival.

funding our work
“We continue to be impressed by the earnest dedication
RFEGs provide to communities across Washington by leveraging funding
opportunities to restore critical habitat and build resilience into the future.”

-Nicole Czarnomski, Habitat Restoration Division Manager, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

Our Financial Grit:
Matching State and Federal Dollars 1:8

Funding our work takes determination. Project managers are not just masters in design, implementation and construction oversight, they are also dogged in their pursuit of grant funds, donated services, and volunteer expertise. State and federal RFEG funds – administered by WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service – provide seed money, helping us take projects from ideas into action,  bring together partners, write grants, and train staff. We leverage this funding so that for each State and Federal dollar received we secure an additional $8, greatly amplifying the initial investment.

featured project: implementation funding
South Fork Toutle River Restoration

Design and construction of the Bear Creek, Harrington Creek, and Little Cow Creek projects, in the South Fork Toutle headwaters.

Funding sources included:

Little Cow Creek.

Salmon Recovery Funding Board: $452,173

WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife ALEA: $9,060

WA Dept of Corrections Labor Donations: $5,728

USFS Gifford Pinchot Retained Receipts: $7,180

WA Dept of Ecology Terry Hussman Account: $27,000

Clark Skamania Fly Fishers: $15,000

Hampton Lumber Mills Donations: $15,673

Beyond The Pond/Bass Pro Shops: $12,000

Weyerhaeuser Small Grants Program: $5,000

Total Project Cost: $548,815.45

Salmon Recovery Gives Back

RFEGs understand that we can help fish while also supporting rural economies; we can create habitat while making our communities more resilient to impacts like flooding and climate change.


Our communities are often at risk to natural processes: flooding, wildfires, and rivers that move. Working with partners, we find on-the-ground solutions that serve the goals of our communities and our salmon.

Featured Project

Seabeck Bridge Replacement

RFEG: Hood Canal

Replacing a 72-in culvert with a 60 ft. bridge eliminated seasonal flood risks on a main road used by the Seabeck community while allowing salmon access to spawning habitat.

Rural Economic

RFEG construction projects employ local businesses to provide a wide range of family-wage jobs, including heavy equipment operators, truckers, accountants, landscape architects, biologists, planners, and engineers.

Featured Project

Geissler Creek Barrier Correction

RFEG: Chehalis Basin

Two contractors, with an 11-person crew, installed two bridges and a bottomless arch culvert during a 7-week period, opening up 2.35 miles of excellent habitat in Geissler Creek.


Being community-based, RFEGs quickly
address threats and embrace opportunities. RFEGs are nimble, local organizations that often form strategic partnerships to tackle emerging issues.

Featured Project

Youth Opportunity Program

RFEG: Mid Sound 

When data emerged that refugee youth were hard hit by pandemic job losses, Mid Sound teamed up to hire and train immigrant youth in restoration and green jobs careers.

“RFEGs exemplify how federal and state entities can partner with local communities to implement priority restoration projects.”

-Nick George, Washington State Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Partners for Fish and Wildlife program

2020-21 Featured Projects

Click on an RFEG to view their featured project.

Nooksack Salmon Enhancement AssociationSkagit Fisheries Enhancement GroupNorth Olympic Salmon CoalitionPacific Coast Salmon CoalitionHood Canal Salmon Enhancement GroupChehalis Basin Fisheries Task ForceWillapa Bay Regional Fisheries Enhancement GroupLower Columbia Fish Enhancement GroupSouth Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement GroupMid Sound Fisheries Enhancement GroupMid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement GroupSound Salmon SolutionsCascade FisheriesTri State Steelheaders

Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

Featured Project: McCormick Creek
RFEG: Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

NSEA removed three consecutive barriers, two culverts, and a concrete dam. The culverts were replaced with steel bridges. Approximately 300 feet of new channel was constructed, mimicking upstream and downstream reference reaches, and providing fish passage to 1.1 miles of largely-undisturbed spawning and rearing habitat.

Learn More >

Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group

Featured Project: Pressentin Park Side Channel
RFEG: Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group

SFEG worked with Skagit County Parks to restore a historic side channel of the Skagit River at Pressentin Park in Marblemount.

Learn More >

North Olympic Salmon Coalition

Featured Project: Kilisut Harbor Restoration Project
RFEG: North Olympic Salmon Coalition

The Kilisut Harbor Restoration Project made accessible 2,300 acres of critical salmon habitat by reconnecting a historic tidal channel between Oak Bay and Kilisut Harbor, which had been blocked for nearly four decades.

Learn More >

Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition

Featured Project: Salmon as Food and Nutrients
RFEG: Pacific Coast Salmon Coalition

A nutrient enhancement program that helps to provide vital nutrients back into our watersheds as well as providing salmon fillets to our local food banks for families in need.

Learn More >

Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group

Featured Project: Seabeck Bridge and Culvert Replacement Project
RFEG: Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group

HCSEG replaced a 72-in undersized culvert and failed fish ladder with a 60 ft. bridge over Seabeck Creek, providing access to 7 additional miles of spawning habitat upstream for salmon and steelhead.

Learn More >

Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force

Featured Project: Geissler Creek Fish Passage Barrier Correction
RFEG: Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force

CBFTF opened up 2.35 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for five species of salmonids by removing three barriers in the Wynoochee River Basin, and by replacing them with two bridges and one bottomless arch culvert.

Learn More >

Willapa Bay Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group

Featured Project: Oxbow Creek Remote Site Incubator
RFEG: Willapa Bay

Staff, board and volunteers of Willapa Bay Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group install Remote Stream Incubators (RSIs) each year. RSIs are systems often installed in streams to allow salmon eggs to be reared and released with minimal handling. Some years, they have released 1.4 million fish!

Learn More >

Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group

Featured Project: South Fork Toutle: Little Cow Creek Restoration
RFEG: Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group

LCFEG improved off-channel habitat to address key limiting factors for ESA-listed fall Chinook, coho, and winter steelhead in the upper South Fork Toutle River.

Learn More >

South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group

Featured Project: Clear Creek Monitoring
RFEG: South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group

SPSSEG is assessing salmon and trout utilization in the Clear Creek watershed, ID tagging over 2,000 young fish to assess fish use and the impacts of barriers.

Learn More >

Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group

Featured Project: Youth Opportunity Program
RFEG: Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group

Crews of immigrant and refugee youth learned about restoration and green jobs, while restoring streamside plants in Auburn.

Learn More >

Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group

Featured Project: Quartz Creek Large Wood Replenishment
RFEG: Mid Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group

MCF thinned and placed 63 trees into Quartz Creek to reduce fuel loading, improve fish habitat, and implement part of a vision for landscape-scale restoration.

Learn More >

Sound Salmon Solutions

Featured Project: Grant Creek Riparian Project
RFEG: Sound Salmon Solutions

Restored a riparian buffer on both banks of Grant Creek (by removing invasive plants and replanting with native vegetation) with goals to increase habitat diversity, reduce in-stream temperatures, provide woody inputs, and supply runoff filtration. The project involves community volunteers, an engaged landowner, local school groups, and local fishing groups.

Learn More >

Cascade Fisheries

Featured Project: Minnow Creek Fish Passage
RFEG: Cascade Fisheries

Cascade Fisheries completed the third and final fish barrier correction in Minnow Creek, opening 3.74 miles of high-quality habitat in the Upper Wenatchee subbasin.

Learn More >

Tri State Steelheaders

Featured Project: Salmon in Schools
RFEG: Tri State Steelheaders

Students raise salmon in classroom tanks, learning about salmon’s lifecycle and needs, then release them into local streams each spring.

Learn More >

By the Numbers



Miles of
Habitat Opened




Fish Passage


Miles of




Photo Gallery

Click on any image for a closer look at our year in pictures.

Learn More & Get Involved

Find Your RFEG

Search the RFEGs to find the group nearest you and learn how you can support their efforts. Click through to our RFEG map to locate a group in your community.

Engage With Us

Donate, attend an event, or volunteer with your local RFEG. Your involvement supports our efforts to protect and restore Washington's vital salmon resource.

Help us continue this critical work

Your support is key to our success. Thank you.

RFEG projects support the sustainability of the salmon resource but they do more than that: they build community, create jobs, encourage environmental stewardship, and activate a new generation of salmon advocates. Please show your support by getting involved, donating, or learning more today.