Regional overview

Bridge across the Lower Columbia River

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Lower Columbia River: Key takeaways

1Of the 74 populations of wild salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, 8 are meeting their recovery goals.

2More than 80 lower Columbia River partners are working together to recover salmon, steelhead, and bull trout in this region.

3The presence of hydropower dams in key tributaries and the Columbia River make salmon recovery especially expensive and challenging in this region.

Visit the Regional Recovery Organization’s Website:


Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board

2016 progress and challenges

Progress

  • Protected nearly 3,000 acres of tributary salmon habitat.
  • Removed 93 barriers to fish passage, opening more than 200 miles of habitat to salmon and steelhead
  • Enhanced and/or protected 240 miles of rivers and streams
  • Enhanced and/or protected 22,685 acres of estuaries
  • Developed the Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries Plan with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to address harvest and hatchery impacts
  • Developed the Habitat Status and Trends Monitoring Program for the region

Challenges

  • Population growth and development continues to degrade habitat
  • Dams and culverts block fish migration
  • Rivers lack important habitat features such as shoreline buffers and habitat complexity, and have altered flows from long-term land use changes
  • Historic diking and filling has caused loss of floodplain and lower river habitats
  • Balancing harvest and hatchery reform with recovery goals
  • Managing predation in a way that supports recovering our salmon and steelhead
  • Addressing climate change and ocean condition impacts

About our region

Extending from the mouth of the Columbia River at the ocean upstream to, and including, the White Salmon River, our region includes 18 major watersheds and the estuary. It is home to more fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act than any other region in Washington – 5 species comprised of 74 distinct populations – representing 60 percent of listed Columbia River salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations. All fish in the Columbia basin travel through our region on their way to spawn upstream, and young salmon stop here to grow before heading to the ocean.

There are 8 major tributary dams, 1 Columbia River dam, more than 20 hatcheries, and many important tribal, sport, and commercial fisheries here, which make salmon recovery efforts especially complex. The recovery plan for our region is intended to restore listed fish to healthy, harvestable levels. To reach this goal, the plan addresses the full life cycle of fish, and provides a comprehensive roadmap for reducing limiting factors affecting recovery.

Salmon recovery stories

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Lower Columbia River salmon recovery region in Washington state