Promoting the Story of Salmon Recovery in Washington State

Jen Rittenhouse

Showcasing the Story of Washington’s Salmon Recovery Efforts

The story of salmon recovery in Washington state is impressive. It spans watersheds, regions and decades. The numbers that bring the story of the effort to life are a data scientist’s dream. However, for those of us less inclined to catch a buzz from never-ending numbers in spreadsheets, the impact salmon recovery has on local ecosystems, economies and cultures is lost in rows, columns and tabs. 

So when it came time to design a website for the State of Salmon biennial report, the team at the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office wanted to blend visuals and real-time data to demonstrate progress and impact.

In addition to multitudes of numbers, salmon recovery efforts in Washington State is an epic story that brings together experts, agencies and individuals across multiple regions. The state of the previous website fell short of accurately telling that story because it relied heavily on text.

To bring forward the core elements of salmon recovery — the people, the places and the fish — customized templates for the new website provided opportunities for condensing content, bringing forward imagery and showcasing data with custom graphics and visuals. 

Screenshots of the 2020 Washington state of salmon report

From Spreadsheets to Dashboards

After the new design was in place it was time to turn the data from spreadsheets into interactive dashboards. 

The salmon recovery data from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was expansive.  This data, presented in spreadsheets, missed the mark for storytelling and engagement. Our team identified key data sets in the information and transformed those numbers into visual dashboards that tell the story of each species of salmon, their recovery counts and the regions they are in.

Automation Keeps Data Fresh

Streamlining website management and presenting accurate information was essential because the State of Salmon report is produced every two years. Custom templates simplified content entry and updating and the new dashboards display accurate, up-to-date information. Additionally, a fully automated process syncs data from the WDFW database daily ensuring the State of Salmon website reflects accurate, current information. 

Salmon are a basic and important natural resource, a symbol of the natural beauty of Washington state and the State of Salmon website is as robust as the salmon recovery efforts.

Check out the 2020 State of Salmon report to learn more about salmon recovery efforts throughout Washington.

Screenshots of the 2020 Washington state of salmon report