Watershed Introduction

What is a Watershed?

Watershed Diagram
Watersheds are also called Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs). The Lake Washington/ Cedar/ Sammamish Watershed is also known as Water Resource Inventory Area 8 (WRIA 8)

Spawning Salmon
Interested in the fascinating life history of salmon? Learn more about salmon

A watershed is a series of interconnected creeks, rivers, lakes, and wetlands that all share a common drainage. It includes the water above and below the ground, as well as saltwater areas like Puget Sound. The quantity and quality of the water is affected by the rain and snow that feed it, forest cover, human controlled barriers, and runoff from our roads, roofs, lawns, and parking lots.

It is topography, not jurisdictional borders, that creates the boundaries of a watershed. A small creek may flow through several cities, counties, or even a different state on its way to its final drainage point.

How Does Our Watershed Support People and Salmon?

The Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish Watershed:

  1. Includes 470 rivers and streams
  2. Provides drinking water, food and recreation
  3. Supports a diversity of salmon, including Chinook (also known as king salmon), bull trout, coho, sockeye kokanee, and steelhead
  4. Is the most densely populated watershed in the state of Washington (More than twice the population of any other WRIA)

What is healthy watershed habitat for salmon?

Healthy habitat for salmon in freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes includes:

Young salmon also depend on the Puget Sound nearshore, where they rear after leaving freshwater streams. Healthy nearshore habitat includes:

How are we working to create a future where people and salmon can live together?

Many people are working hard to make this happen by working to restore and protect the habitat that salmon need to survive. Much of this work is guided by the WRIA 8 Chinook Salmon Conservation Plan.

Learn more about progress in implementing the Salmon Conservation Plan by reading the WRIA 8 Implementation Progress Report.

You too can join us in making our watershed a better place for both people and salmon. Click here to learn about actions you can take at home, or how you can get involved in the WRIA 8 salmon habitat conservation process.