Upper Columbia River region habitat

Restoring habitat has been key to improving salmon and steelhead runs

Habitat conditions in each life stage, including tributary streams, the main stem Columbia River, and the ocean, profoundly affect upper Columbia salmon and steelhead populations. Although habitat in most upper Columbia subbasins is good, especially in headwater streams, humans have damaged habitat near valley bottoms. The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board works with partners inside and outside the region to align priorities and implement the recovery plan. Accomplishments include the following:

  • Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation is conserving 12 acres in the middle Methow River reach, expanding land already protected and creating an opportunity for further restoration
  • Chelan County is restoring a half-mile of Nason Creek to increase salmon habitat
  • Methow Conservancy is protecting 29 acres, including a half-mile of riverfront and floodplain along the Twisp River
  • Trout Unlimited is encasing 2.5 miles of the Wenatchee River in pipes for irrigation, which will save water and improve water quality, and building a channel so that fish can travel upstream from Boulder Field on Icicle Creek

Increased sediment entering local streams impacts salmon redds and fish productivity

In this region, salmon face many obstacles; some of the most important ones include oversimplified rivers, degraded forests, excess fine sediment, low flows, and human-made barriers that block access to habitat. These interrelated issues are the result of past and ongoing natural and human-caused changes in our watersheds. The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board recognizes that recovery of salmon and steelhead ultimately will be the result of effective, interdisciplinary collaboration. That’s why this recovery region works hard to develop a strategy to achieve recovery goals and meet the needs of our partners and communities.

Indicator data

Habitat projects


Habitat Quality

large wood (volume) – click >> to open legend

For more information about habitat project actions, visit the Recreation and Conservation Office’s Habitat Work Schedule and Project Search public databases.

Visit How we measure for background about this data, and our Salmon Data Portal for original source data behind the indicator charts and graphs used throughout this site.