During the past 150 years, salmon and steelhead were blocked from some of their best habitat by dams, road crossings, and other barriers. In the past 20 years, more than 245 barriers to fish migration have been removed, opening nearly 200 miles of habitat to salmon. More barrier removal projects are underway, including at the large water storage dams in the Yakima basin.
Historic land uses reduced habitat quality in many streams, but most areas are recovering well as land managers have focused more on habitat protection. Today, nearly 3,000 acres of salmon habitat have been protected and 135 miles of streams have been restored or protected.
Restoring main stem floodplain is also a high priority in the Yakima and Klickitat basins. Projects to set back levees, reconnect side channels, and protect floodplain habitats are reducing flood hazards to local communities and providing valuable habitat for fish and wildlife.