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Salmon & Nearshore Areas

The nearshore region of Puget Sound includes shallow saltwater, wetlands, estuaries, beaches, and bluffs. Nearshore plants provide important food and refuge for young salmon as they migrate from rivers to the sea.  
  • Trees and Shrubs
    Trees and shrubs stabilize the shoreline. Overhanging bushes and trees drop insects for meals. Plants along the water's edge help trap pollutants, keeping them from entering nearshore waters and harming developing salmon.
  • Logs
    Logs and other woody debris provides habitat complexity, refuge from predators, and a source of nutrients for young salmon. Woody debris can also buffer beaches from waves by trapping beach sediment.
  • Eelgrass
    Juvenile salmon feed on tiny invertebrates found in underwater eelgrass meadows, and to avoid becoming a meal themselves, young salmon hide among the eelgrass leaves. Eelgrass beds also supply a nursery area for herring - a favorite salmon snack - which deposit their eggs on eelgrass.
  • Marsh Vegetation
    Emergent marsh plants offer places for young salmon to forage, hide and feed. Marsh plants also support the salmon food web. Marsh vegetation provides vital detritus and habitat for juvenile salmon food organisms. Most of the prey juvenile salmon select - copepods, decapods, amphipods, and dipterans - feed on detritus or decaying vegetation.

    Related Topics

    Salmon, How salmon use estuaries and nearshore areas.
    Salmon Species, Estuary use varies.
    Salmon Life Cycle, The life cycle varies.
    Bulkheads, Bulkheads can damage salmon habitat.

    Related Links

    Puget Sound Nearshore Environments: Salmon Use, Large River Mouth, King County Department of Natural Resources. A color illustration showing zones used by juvenile salmon.

    Wild Salmon: Our Precious Natural Resource, Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife. Salmon/Steelhead species information.

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