Salmon and trout (salmonids) are considered indicator species due to their sensitivity to human-induced impacts to their environment. Salmonids are sensitive to changes in water quality and quantity, water temperature, turbidity, and aquatic food webs. The decline of a salmonid population in a creek or river can give an early warning of the decline in the overall health of the environment. Since salmon and trout use both freshwater and ocean ecosystems, their health offers a snapshot of the health of a wide area.
By focusing on improving conditions for salmon and trout, the Fish Friendly Farming program takes a comprehensive approach to environmentally friendly land management. The program also recognizes the efforts of farmers to create or maintain habitat for wildlife such as songbirds, raptors, frogs, coyotes, and others. These species all share the same intricate food web as the salmon and play an important role in the biodiversity of the ecosystem.