Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead
An assessment of the state of the science and suite of large-scale actions needed to make progress towards rebuilding Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead to healthy and harvestable levels.
The Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead report identifies a comprehensive suite of actions that would have the greatest likelihood of making considerable progress toward rebuilding Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead to healthy and harvestable levels. The report was finalized by NOAA Fisheries, with input from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and with feedback from state and tribal fishery co-managers.
The suite of actions span the salmon life cycle and include:
- Increasing habitat restoration
- Reintroducing salmon into blocked areas
- Managing predators
- Breaching dams
- Reforming fish hatcheries and harvest,
- Improving water quality, especially toxic pollutant levels,
- Managing marine ecosystems, and
- Reconnecting floodplain habitat
The aggressive actions reflect the urgency behind the Columbia Basin Partnership’s 2020 recommendations that merely avoiding extinction of native salmon and steelhead is not enough. Instead, the Partnership called for healthy and harvestable numbers that again contribute fully to the culture, environment, and economy of the region.
The healthy and harvestable goal goes substantially beyond recovery as required by the Endangered Species Act and would take a sustained commitment over many decades. This report is not a regulatory document, but rather is intended to inform and contribute to regional conversations and funding decisions.