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Return to the Salish Sea: Salmon Biologist David Troutt

Parker Miles Blohm
David Troutt is a salmon biologist and Director of Natural Resources for the Nisqually Tribe.

If you’ve ever driven on I-5 north of Olympia, you’ve likely been struck by the unique landscape of the Nisqually River Delta.

With Mount Rainier looming in the distance, a huge expanse of marshlands extends on either side of the highway where the fresh water of the river meets the salt water of southern Puget Sound. This is the southern end of theSalish Sea.

If you take time to stop, you can explore the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. A boardwalk trail provides easy access to the heart of the estuary, where tides flow in and out, creating critical habitat for all kinds of creatures.

“This is an amazing, productive ecosystem. Probably the most productive ecosystems in the world are these river deltas, where the freshwater meets the sea,” says David Troutt, a salmon biologist and Director of Natural Resources for the Nisqually Tribe, which has been actively restoring the wetlands here since 1995.

To see more pictures and read about the restoration of the Nisqually River Delta and how it relates to the Salish Sea, visit our "Return To The Salish Sea" website.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to