Coordinating Efforts for Salmon Recovery

In 1998, the Washington State Legislature enacted ESHB 2496 to empower citizens at the community level to engage in salmon recovery through a locally driven habitat protection and restoration program. The Act created the Lead Entity program to coordinate the local effort by soliciting, developing, prioritizing and submitting salmon habitat and restoration projects at the watershed level. The program is administered by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and funded through grants provided by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SFRB). Thurston Conservation District serves as the Lead Entity for WRIA 13.

How the Lead Entity Program Works

Under the Washington Administrative Code 173-500-040 and the Water Resources Act of 1971, Revised Code of Washington 90.54, the major watershed basins of Washington State were divided into 62 Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs). The Lead Entity works at the watershed level to develop a strategic plan to guide the selection and ranking of restoration and protection projects based on the input of a technical committee (made up of local experts that are knowledgeable about the local watershed, habitat and fish conditions) and a citizens committee (made up of local, state, federal and tribal government representatives, community groups, environmental and fisheries groups, conservation districts and regional fisheries enhancement groups).

The Lead Entity serves a critical role as the bridge that combines science based priorities and community priorities to effectively determine projects for proposals that will result in the most balanced soci-economic and technical regarding salmon habitat protection and restoration.

For more information, please contact Amy Hatch-Winecka at

Restoration Works

It Works for the ECONOMY

  • Lead Entities coordinate projects that represent an investment in local and rural economic development through family-wage job creation and retention.
  • Lead Entities spearhead efforts to recover and sustain salmon populations necessary for viable recreational and commercial fisheries throughout Washington State.
  • Restoration funds invested by Washington State leveraged 3 to 1.
  • Businesses locate in Washington State because of the quality of life provided by abundant and beautiful natural resources.


  • In 1999, Washington State worked with NOAA Fisheries to allow watersheds to write their own local recovery plans for ESA-listed species.
  • This action kept decisions local and not in the hands of the Federal government.
  • Lead Entities are the backbone for locally-based recovery efforts, bringing together Tribes, federal and state agencies, local governments, citizens, non-profits, business, and technical experts to make local decisions.
  • Hundreds of citizens volunteer statewide on Lead entity projects and committees.
  • Lead Entities are the nexus for science-based, citizen-supported salmon habitat recovery efforts, providing a coordinated, efficient, and effective response to ESA.

It Works for the ENVIRONMENT

  • Lead Entities work locally to restore and protect those resources to the benefit of people who live and work here, as well as the creatures that depend upon the habitat.
  • Lead Entities provide a local, balanced, coordinated, common-sense approach to recovery.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need assistance.

Thanks and take care,


Amy Hatch-Winecka
Environmental Program Manager
Thurston Conservation District
(360)754-3588, ext. 103

Click on the links below to navigate to:

2016 WRIA 13 Final PSAR Request for Proposal

Washington Salmon Coalintion Advocacy Handbook: A Guide for Communicating with Lawmakers

Lead Entity Project Accomplishments

2016 WRIA 13 Grant Round Timeline

2016 Salmon Habitat and Restoration Plan: Water Resources Inventory Area 13, Deschutes

2016 Proposed Projects Lead Projects

Lead Entity Habitat Work Schedule (Public Portal)

Draft South Sound Near-Term Actions

2016 WRIA 13 ProcessGuide

2016 WRIA 13 Deschutes Salmon Habitat Recovery Committee Citizen and Technical Ranking Criteria

Acquisition Project Criteria – Revised Draft

Restoration Project Criteria – Revised Draft

Acquisition/Restoration Combination Criteria – Revised Draft

Planning & Assessment Project Criteria – Revised Draft

2016 Project Considerations for Salmon Recovery Funding in WRIA 13

Action Plan Project Development on the Deschutes River – Thurston Conservation District – Letter of Intent

Butler Cove Estuary Enhancement & Fish Passage Correction – South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) –Letter of Intent

Deschutes RM 21 LWD & Riparian Habitat Enhancement – SPSSEG – Letter of Intent

Deschutes Watershed Habitat Acquisition Project Development – Capitol Land Trust – Letter of Intent

East Fork McLane Fish Passage Project – Thurston Conservation District – Letter of Intent

Harmony Farms Shoreline Restoration – Capitol Land Trust – Letter of Intent

Little Fish Trap Debris Removal and Estuary Restoration – SPSSEG – Letter of Intent

Lower Henderson Inlet Habitat Acquisition – Capitol Land Trust – Letter of Intent

WRIA 13 Habitat Workgroup Meeting Materials

2018 Meeting Materials
January Meeting Agenda January Meeting Summary Notes

Photo credit: E. Peter Steenstra/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region