Salmon are ours to save

Washington State’s Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office needed to sustain and increase support for statewide, locally led salmon recovery.

In the face of the mounting challenges of climate change and a growing human population, this locally led statewide endeavor may be our best strategy to preserve and steward what we love about Washington.

“Pyramid Communications is great to work with. They tackled several large projects for us all at once, from strategic planning to website design. Their staff were knowledgeable and understood our need to speak to different types of audiences. Pyramid did a superb job of giving us products that not only looked great and functioned well, but communicated our messages in ways that resonated with people and told our story effectively.” 
– Kaleen Cottingham, Director, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office

When salmon were first listed under the federal Endangered Species Act nearly twenty years ago, the State of Washington and many tribal nations organized to recover them in an unprecedented way. Since that time, eight regional recovery organizations have coordinated the efforts of thousands of Washington residents, scientists, advocates, elected leaders, tribal members, and state and federal agency staff to implement locally-written recovery strategies.

Today, midway through their work to bring salmon back, state and federal funding of this effort is in jeopardy.



Achieving new funding required empowering fresh vision and leadership.

Nearly 20 years in, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office hired Pyramid to help them report on statewide progress and retell the story of this statewide endeavor and its importance to our communities, to legislators, and to members of Congress and private funders. 

Pyramid worked with an advisory group representing hundreds of stakeholders and conducted dozens of in-depth interviews to ensure that this diverse group’s collective experience, knowledge, and passion would be reflected in our work.

“This is an incredibly helpful body of work: the website is now much more than a static biennial report; it’s easy to navigate; it will be kept up to date and stay more relevant and useful through time; complex information is rendered more understandable; and it more candidly tells what’s really going on – it tells the truth. I’ve heard from a lot of my friends in Indian Country that they appreciate this very much.” 
– David Troutt, Chair, Salmon Recovery Funding Board and Director, Nisqually Tribe Department of Natural Resources

We produced a fundraising feasibility report and fundraising plan to support the ability of the Governors’ office’s to pursue diversified strategies in service of long-term sustainability. 

We also developed a communications plan and a series of communications tools, including print materials and a new website capturing the Governor’s Biennial Report to equip the Governor’s office and statewide partners to tell the story of the importance of this work both for salmon recovery and as an investment in the clean water, healthy forests and shorelines, and vibrant communities that define the Pacific Northwest.

Governor's Update

“Thank you for sharing the stunning Salmon Recovery website. It is truly beautiful. Exploring the site is a visual treat, coupled with intuitive layers of information that are so elegantly presented. This website could be a model for how to capture the attention and educate the public about complex, interconnected issues.” 
– Kendra Dahlen, Athena Group

A static biennial web-based report was transformed into a dynamic continuously updated resource.

GSRO’s new website is informative, navigable, and contemporary in its look and feel. In addition to the Governor’s statewide assessment, the regional organizations and state agencies have their own pages and data displays that they can keep updated. The site is serving spontaneously as a kind of crowdsourcing tool for new and missing data on water quality, fish numbers, and project updates.

State of Salmon Website


Usage is up and engagement has deepened.

Without substantially changing the way in which the biennial report, new website and collateral were released, GSRO has seen a startling increase in site visits and in social and earned media mentions, shares, and stories.

“Glad you did this. Impressive. Provides the cohesive messaging that this region has needed for some time.” 
– Michael Schmidt, Long Live the Kings Deputy Director



Over the three-week period following its release, there was a dramatic increase in engagement with the website compared to its 2014 release.




  • People accessing the site on mobile or tablet increased from 8% in 2014 to 24% in 2016.
  • Visitors entering the site from social channels increased from 1% in 2014 to 18% in 2016.





The development of a clear, simple, and impactful story and narrative used throughout the website, the Governor’s Update, the media release, and all related communications ensured more people were compelled to share the site and use the messages.



  • Compared with 393 people reached in 2014; incredible growth given there were no paid promotions to drive this number up.



  • RCO's 2016 account generated an additional 119 total engagements, resulting in an additional 4,869 impressions.
  • Earned media increased by almost 50% (12 stories in 2014 versus 22 in 2016).


“Salmon are ours to save.” 
– Governor Jay Inslee



Brian Abbot and Jennifer Johnson at the Governor's Salmon Recovery Office, Chantell Krider at South Sound Spatial for her work on the ESRI story maps, and Brad Smith and Hot Pepper Studios for their work on the website.


Who was involved

See more of our clients in Conservation & Sustainability

Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Center for Large Landscape Conservation
Climate Solutions
Environmental Science Associates
Hood Canal Coordinating Council
King County Department of Natural Resources
Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board
Office of the Chehalis Basin
PCC Farmland Trust
Seattle Public Utilities
The Nature Conservancy
The Water Foundation
The Wilderness Society
Trust for Public Land
University of Washington
University of Washington EarthLab
Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
WA Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Outdoor Recreation
WA Recreation and Conservation Office
Washington Conservation Voters
Washington Governor's Salmon Recovery Office
West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health
Wildlands Network

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