Work Highlights

Click on a work area below to learn how Long Live the Kings is building a future that balances the needs of orca whales, salmon, and people.



I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with LLTK to obtain operational and maintenance funding for the Ballard Locks, and what we’ve been able to accomplish is an extraordinary example of coalition work at its best.Charles Costanzo, American Waterways Operators

How does the built environment impact the natural one?

For migrating salmon, big infrastructure can have unintended but serious impacts to survival. By improving understanding about why salmon don’t make it at these obstacles—or how their migration is hindered—we are helping to develop, build support for, and implement successful solutions.

2018 Project Highlight: Ballard Locks Improvements

The Ballard Locks are the 3rd most visited tourist attraction in Seattle, a place where visitors and residents alike can go to watch boats pass, see adult salmon return at the fish ladder, and connect with salmon and our region’s maritime culture. In the Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish watershed, the Locks are also the single biggest passage threat for out-migrating smolts and returning adult salmon. Steelhead have all but disappeared from this watershed, due in part to mortality at passage barriers like the Locks, and we want to prevent that from happening to Chinook, coho and the only central Puget Sound run of sockeye.

LLTK is working with partners such as American Waterways Operators, commercial fishing interest groups, marina owners and other maritime interests in the Ship Canal to make sure salmon recovery is included as the Locks are improved.

In 2018, LLTK worked with a coalition to secure $23 million for the Army Corps to fix the filling culvert in the large lock. Once complete, operations will result in more juvenile salmon surviving the outmigration, and a 101-year old piece of infrastructure will continue safely moving cargo, the Alaska fishing fleet and recreational boaters. Result: A proactive coalition advocating for improvements at the Locks that will benefit industry and salmon alike.

2018 Impact:

  • $13M secured for Ballard Locks improvements
  • $5M additional funds secured for Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund for fish passage and other improvements
  • 2 of 8 public safety and salmon passage upgrades funded
  • LLTK is one of ten in a diverse coalition of advocates working toward Ballard Locks improvements

Learn More: 



A success story in the making, the impressive progress of summer chum recovery in Hood Canal suggests that delisting is actually possible, and in the very near future. LLTK’s work has contributed in major ways: the organization’s comprehensive approach has helped to measurably rebuild summer chum populations, while also deepening our understanding of the species’ spacial diversity, behavior, distribution, and productivity. The result is not just one restored salmon stock, but restored hope.Scott Brewer, Hood Canal Coordinating Council

Rebuilding populations; restoring hope.

For more than 30 years, LLTK has shown how hatcheries—when driven by science—can contribute meaningfully to aquatic ecosystems, salmon recovery, and sustainable fisheries without endangering wild stocks. Our programs rescue once-imperiled populations from the brink of extinction, support fishers, uphold tribal rights to fish, and help feed and save hungry orca whales.

2018 Project Highlights:

Our work centers on the use of conservation hatcheries for short periods of time: until near-extinct populations have been rebuilt to once again be self-sustaining. We then stop supplementation when the wild population has reached its goal.

Hood Canal Summer Chum

In 2018 we were able to cease summer chum supplementation entirely in Lilliwaup Creek. Combined with previous success in rebuilding stocks in the Hamma Hamma River, and the work we’ve done with our partners to recover additional populations across the greater basin, we are now equipped to expand what we’ve learned and help push Hood Canal summer chum recovery over the finish line. Result: Nearing removal from the Endangered Species Act list.

North Fork Skokomish Chinook

Utilizing our facility on Lilliwaup Creek, we’ve worked with Tacoma Power and the Skokomish Nation to begin recolonizing a river in which spring Chinook were previously extinct. Result: First adults returning to the North Fork Skokomish in 65 years.

Hood Canal Steelhead Project

LLTK, in partnership with NOAA Fisheries and six other entities, has tested low-impact, time-limited hatchery supplementation to boost Hood Canal steelhead—a population once teetering on extinction. The lessons ultimately will provide crucial information about using hatcheries as conservation tools throughout the Northwest. Result: Nearing recovery of Hood Canal steelhead.

2018 Impact:

  • 20x summer chum returning to Hamma Hamma River
  • 1st Chinook returning to Skokomish River in 65 years
  • 28x summer chum returning to Lilliwaup Creek
  • 5k Chinook contributed to sustain fisheries and orca whales

Learn More:



As we all enjoy the benefits of a healthy ecosystem—clean water, fresh air, plentiful food supplies—we are also obligated to move through our world with mindfulness of our impact. As an educator, I strive to help my students develop awareness about the effects of our activities on our environment. Survive the Sound provided a fun, free, and accessible way to bring the value of ecosystem stewardship right into my classroom. It was a huge hit with my students!Jakki Smack, Horizons Elementary

Building a new generation of salmon advocates.

Whether we fish for them, honor them in ceremony, depend on them for our livelihood, or watch them spawn in neighborhood streams, we are all salmon stakeholders and we all have a part to play in their recovery. By crafting compelling new ways for the public to engage with salmon, LLTK is building a new generation of advocates.

Project Highlight: Survive the Sound

After a successful beta year in 2017, we launched our interactive challenge, Survive the Sound in 2018, along with a brand new educational toolkit for classrooms, developed in partnership with NOAA. Across the Northwest, students followed along as their sponsored steelhead battled for survival in a harrowing 12-day migration to the Pacific. Using real tracking data from actual out-migrants, participants watched as their heroes encountered bridges and blockages, predators, boats, disease, and other obstacles. Some survived, most didn’t, but everyone learned about the realities facing salmon and steelhead in the Salish Sea. Result: Thousands of kids and adults had fun learning about challenges facing juvenile steelhead.

2018 Impact:

  • ~ 30,000 students engaged
  • 20+ placements in TV and print media
  • 7M+ impressions
  • $110K in new donations

Learn More: