Celebrating Orca Recovery and Salmon Conservation

This October Great Peninsula Conservancy celebrated Orca Recovery Day with an Orcas and Salmon Walk & Talk at Curley Creek Tyner Preserve. Curley Creek sees an average of 2,500 fall chum returning to spawn every year and is also home to summer chum, coho, and coastal cutthroat trout.  

Visitors explored the preserve to learn about the ways GPC is working to conserve salmon habitat within the Curley Creek Watershed. They also got to hear from an expert guest speaker about the Southern Resident Orca population’s need for increased salmon conservation. Nora Nickum, a Senior Ocean Policy Manager at Seattle Aquarium, children’s fiction and non-fiction author, and science educator, passionately shared about the feeding habits of our local fish-eating orcas and how they depend on salmon for the majority of their diet.  

The group discussed ways they can help support orca and salmon conservation, species tied closely together in the Puget Sound food chain. From increasing pristine salmon habitat to educating people about the need to give orcas quiet spaces to hunt for salmon, everyone was excited about the future of salmon and orca recovery and the ways they could contribute in their community. 

While there were of course no orcas at this Walk & Talk, and the salmon were not currently spawning, there was still an abundance of wildlife at Curley Creek Tyner Preserve. Using a spotting scope, participants enjoyed a red-tailed hawk and other birds who depend on the protected riparian habitat surrounding Curley Creek.  

The salmon that use creeks GPC protect form the foundations of nutrient exchanges between the ocean and the land, tying their stories together as they have done for thousands of years.