Fed Agency Calls for Minimum Stream Buffer on Agriculture Lands

Planting stream buffer on farm In January 2013 the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) sent two other federal agencies a letter regarding the need for riparian buffers along streams in western Washington agricultural lands. The letter includes NMFS’s recommendation for minimum buffers to rebuild populations of Puget Sound salmon and steelhead that are at risk of extinction. The goal of the scientifically-based minimum buffers is to meet water quality standards and protect salmon habitat. The letter notes that, while the attached “table identifies buffers as narrow as 35 feet for limited situations, in most settings buffers will need to be significantly wider than this to meet salmon habitat needs.”