Pocket estuaries and small independent streams draining into nearshore areas within the Whidbey Basin are an important rearing habitat for fry migrant Chinook salmon originating from the three Chinook salmon bearing rivers of the Whidbey Basin.
Juvenile Chinook salmon utilize pocket estuaries and small independent streams during late winter and spring months. The residence period of individual juvenile Chinook salmon in a specific small stream or pocket estuary averages a little over one month. During this period, individual fish increase their length by 20% and weight by 60%.
Use of these habitats provide fry migrant Chinook salmon with a survival advantage compared to use of the more exposed and marine-like nearshore habitats. Restoration and protection of pocket estuaries and small independent streams within the Whidbey Basin is important to Puget Sound Chinook salmon recovery.
Link to key juvenile Chinook salmon and pocket estuary references:
Link to key juvenile Chinook salmon and pocket estuary reference:
Link to Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC) Research Department webpage: http://skagitcoop.org/programs/research/
Link to research reports based on field studies of fish use in estuary or nearshore habitats: