Salmon Point Forage Fish Spawn Habitat Restoration (Lopez)

Critical habitat along a 430 foot long pocket beach is improved through shoreline plantings (2020) and removal of degraded rock armoring and concrete/rock debris (September 2021).


The Salmon Point community members have been fantastic partners on this important project to improve habitat for spawning forage fish and juvenile salmon. – Tina Whitman, Friends Science Director

Friends of the San Juans and the Salmon Point Community on Lopez Island have successfully restored priority shoreline habitat along their local beach.

At the south end of Lopez Island, two areas of failed rock armoring and rock fill were covering portions of a documented surf smelt spawning beach, negatively impacting the habitat available for forage fish to lay their eggs on. The beach is also in a priority area for out-migrating juvenile salmon, which feed on forage fish along with many other critters such as insects that benefit from a natural shoreline. Our endangered orca, of course, rely on healthy salmon populations.

Michael Budnick, of Northwest Concepts, implemented the project, which was designed by Coastal Geologic Services. Approximately 42 cubic yards of medium to large boulders along with four large toxic creosote logs were removed from the upper beach, along the forage fish spawning habitat zone. Last winter, to complement recent beach restoration actions, Flower Mountain Tree Service planted 220 native trees and shrubs along the shoreline. Restoration efforts were supported by a grant from the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Salmon Point Community Association.