The Vision

The recovery plan identifies actions for habitat, hatcheries, harvest, hydropower, and ecological interactions to achieve salmon and steelhead recovery. The region has made the most progress in addressing fish passage and the least progress in completing habitat restoration projects.

Salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout populations must navigate four to eight large dams between the ocean and their natal streams, including the four lower Snake River dams. A key assumption of the recovery plan is that aggressive work on the items identified in the plan can make up for the damage create by the hydropower system. There are multiple studies and efforts ongoing with the Columbia Basin Collaborative, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and Bonneville Power Administration, and the Governor’s Office that continue to discuss the issue.

Region progress includes the following:

  • Opened more than 601 miles of habitat by correcting 87 fish passage barriers
  • Installed 1,017 fish screens to keep young fish out of irrigation systems
  • Installed more than 390 flow meters, conserving 151 cubic feet per second of water.
  • Restored 6,930 acres (634 miles) of riverbank buffer to help keep water cool and improve habitat conditions and resiliency
  • Protected more than 67 miles of streambank areas by installing livestock fencing
  • Planted seeds on more than 94,000 acres of agricultural lands to reduce sediment entering rivers
  • Improved more than 204 miles of habitat in streams
  • Saw Snake River fall Chinook increasing and some steelhead populations (Joseph Creek and Asotin River) above recovery goals
  • Supported reintroduction efforts for Walla Walla spring Chinook, coho salmon, and Pacific lamprey, led by the tribes.
  • Saw sediment levels drop from 63 percent to 19 percent after restoration work and landowner stewardship, giving fish in the Tucannon River the cool, clear water they need to survive.

Background: Salmon recovery in Washington is driven by regional salmon recovery plans. The recovery plans provide the actions and rationale for where to invest and when. Each region reports on the actions implemented related to what is recommended in the regional recovery plan. The information about recovery plan implementation is grounded in the regional organizations’ extensive knowledge of recovery issues and recovery progress.