Salmon-Safe award for Salish Cliffs


Sean Dudley

The new Salish Cliffs course, located in Shelton, Washington, part of the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Little Creek casino resort, has become the world’s first golf course to be certified ‘Salmon-Safe’, after passing an assessment verifying the tribe’s commitment to protecting native habitat, managing water runoff, reducing pesticides, and advancing environmental practices.

The Salmon-Safe certification for golf courses is an offshoot of a popular eco-label for agricultural and vineyard practices, administered by Seattle-based non-profit Stewardship Partners. The programme looks at site development practices to protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and overall watershed health based on a detailed set of peer-reviewed guidelines.

Little Creek’s water treatment system, which generates Class A reuse water from the resort, is an example of the detail that the tribe used to earn Salmon-Safe certification at Salish Cliffs. The treated water is stored to irrigate the course during summer.

“When we decided to build Salish Cliffs, we vowed to uphold our Tribal mission to nurture our people and our land and ensure both thrive for generations to come,” said Dave Lopeman, the tribe’s council chairman. “Creating and maintaining an eco-sensitive course from site planning through ongoing operation was essential to us and the people of Western Washington.”

The Tribe is acting on several assessment team recommendations to enhance its management program. For example, in an effort to minimise storm water pollution from its clubhouse parking lot, the Tribe plans to install a rain garden.

“The Squaxin Island Tribe designed Salish Cliffs from inception to support salmon so they can once again thrive in south Puget Sound,” said David Burger, executive director of Stewardship Partners. “We hope that Salmon-Safe certification of Salish Cliffs demonstrates to the golf industry that environmental innovation and world-class courses are mutually beneficial.” Salish Cliffs was designed by architect Gene Bates.