1Very significant salmon recovery actions have occurred through regional collaboration.
2The largest hurdles to fish migration are gone now in Asotin Creek and the Touchet and Tucannon Rivers. Mill Creek is up next and will require U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ participation, significant levels of funding, and community support.
3Marine mammals and birds are eating more salmon, compromising salmon recovery.
Our region encompasses five counties – Asotin, Columbia, Garfield, Walla Walla, and part of Whitman County – and five listed species of salmon. Life is hard for fish in this region. The floodplains, banks, and river channels have been altered, which results in water that can be too warm and too low in the summer yet too high and too fast in the winter; and, migrating salmon are being eaten by marine mammals and birds at alarming levels. Fortunately, the strong partnerships between local governments, residents, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, have made a difference. Sediment and temperatures are at the lowest levels since Endangered Species Act listings occurred. Dikes, levees, and gravel berms are being removed or set back, allowing rivers to interact with floodplains, reducing flood risks and stabilizing summer time base flows. In addition, local communities and businesses are benefiting from the investments made for salmon recovery. The economics of habitat restoration and salmon fishing are being realized.