Planning for climate change will benefit local communities and salmon.
1 Very significant salmon recovery actions have occurred through regional collaboration.
2 The 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.
The recovery plans identify actions for habitat, hatcheries, harvest, hydropower, and ecological interactions with the fish that if implemented, will contribute to recovery of salmon and steelhead. The region has made the most progress in addressing fish passage impairments and the least progress in completing habitat restoration projects.
Water conservation practices and restoring river function are helping to improve stream flow across the region. Data set is limited to only two gauges where long-term data exists, but a shorter-term gauge (2002 through 2016) in the Tucannon River shows more promising results.
The region has focused on floodplain connectivity and function, fish passage, shoreline enhancement and water quality. Biological processes are not directly addressed by individual actions but improve when suites of actions are implemented to address the other factors. Biological processes take years or decades to improve and we will be tracking this indicator through time. Stream flow remains a challenge,
The region is removing barriers to fish migration, keeping water in streams, planting trees to shade and cool the water, and removing and setting back dikes to allow rivers to meander and connect with their floodplains. Recent accomplishments include the following:
Four projects will install tree root wads and log structures in the Tucannon River and Penawawa and Pataha Creeks to improve salmon habitat. On the Tucannon River, more than a mile of dike was set back. Fish passage has been restored at a dam in Asotin Creek and a fish-blocking pipe was removed on Steptoe Creek, opening 3.5 miles of habitat.
Monitoring by the Department of Ecology shows that there is too much fine sediment in the streams studied in this region. Excess sediment was found in about 60 percent of the salmon streams studied. This causes problems for salmon including smothering fish eggs, changing the shape and route of the stream, and reducing stream capacity to hold floodwater or provide cover for fish.
The Snake River region contains 12 demographically-independent populations of salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Five of these populations have sufficient data to measure, and two, Asotin Creek and Joseph Creek summer steelhead, are exhibiting numbers above the recovery goal. Overall, populations of middle Columbia River steelhead within Washington are showing promising long-term trends towards