During the past 25 years, salmon and steelhead runs in this region have made real progress towards recovery, but challenging ocean and migration conditions have led to significant declines in many runs in recent years.
Fish barrier removal and habitat projects are increasing the amount of quality freshwater habitat available in the mid-Columbia region. Increasing temperatures and poor migratory survival rates, however, increasingly constrain salmon and steelhead trout production.
Strong partnerships are generating progress, but work remains to remove fish passage barriers, restore key tributaries and floodplains, and improve water management and migration conditions.
About the Region
Stretching from the high Cascade Mountains to the deserts of central Washington, this region encompasses pine forests, open rangelands, farms, and the cities of Ellensburg, the Tri-Cities, Goldendale, and Yakima. By the late 1980s, the region’s once-plentiful salmon had nearly disappeared. Of 30 populations of salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout, 20 are listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Chinook salmon are unlisted in the region. After having been driven to local extinction, coho, summer Chinook, and sockeye are being reintroduced.
The Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board is the regional salmon recovery organization and lead entity for the Yakima Basin. Klickitat County is the lead entity for the Klickitat, Rock Creek, and White Salmon basins. Both lead entities have strong collaboration with and participation from the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.