Habitat Restoration

Removing Barriers and Restoring In-Stream Flows

Dams and other fish passage barriers blocked salmon and steelhead trout from much of the best habitat in the region. In the past 20 years, more than 336 barriers have been removed, opening nearly 400 miles to salmon. More barrier removal projects are underway, including at the six large federal dams in the Yakima River basin. Major investments also have been made to improve streamflows and screen water diversions to keep fish out of irrigation systems.

Restoring Tributaries and Floodplains

Restoring and protecting tributaries and floodplains are priorities in the region. More than 3,000 acres of salmon habitat and 135 miles of stream have been restored and protected. Projects to set back levees, place large wood in streams, restore streamside vegetation, and reconnect side channels are restoring valuable habitat and reducing flood hazards.

Migration Challenges

While productive rearing habitat for young salmon is important, they need to be able survive their trips to the ocean. Researchers are measuring survival and using that data to increase survival by improving flow and temperature conditions, providing safe routes past dams, and reducing predation.

  • 399 miles of stream made accessible
  • 336 blockages, impediments, and barriers impeding passage
  • 1,366 riparian acres treated*
  • 58 riparian stream miles treated*

*Riparian areas are streamside forests, wetlands, and vegetated areas. ”Treated” usually means fenced to exclude cattle, planted with native trees and shrubs, removed invasive plants, or a combination of them.

For more information about habitat project actions, visit the Recreation and Conservation Office’s Salmon Recovery Portal and Project Search public databases.

View data on Habitat statewide. Visit the Salmon Data Hub for more of the data behind the indicator charts and graphs used throughout this site.