Middle Columbia River Steelhead
The Middle Columbia River steelhead is a threatened species. NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region, along with the Science Centers, work to protect and conserve this species under the Endangered Species Act.
DPS Description: This distinct population segment, or DPS, includes naturally spawned anadromous O. mykiss (steelhead) originating below natural and manmade impassable barriers from the Columbia River and its tributaries upstream of the Wind and Hood Rivers (exclusive) to and including the Yakima River; excludes such fish originating from the Snake River basin. This DPS includes steelhead from the following artificial propagation programs:
- Touchet River Endemic Program
- Yakima River Kelt Reconditioning Program (in Satus Creek, Toppenish Creek, Naches River, and Upper Yakima River)
- Umatilla River Program
- Deschutes River Program.
This DPS does not include steelhead that are designated as part of an experimental population.
Current Population Trends: Middle Columbia River Steelhead Status Reviews and Five-Year Updates
Critical Habitat: Designated September 2, 2005
Protective Regulations: Issued June 28, 2005 (70 FR 37159)
Recovery Plan: Middle Columbia River Steelhead Recovery Plan (2009)
Reintroduction Effort: Experimental Population Designation:
- Overview: Reintroduction of steelhead to Oregon’s Deschutes River Basin
- Final Rule to designate experimental population of Middle Columbia River steelhead to Oregon’s Deschutes River Basin (78 FR 2893; January 15, 2013)
- Final Environmental Assessment for Experimental Population Designation for Middle Columbia River Steelhead (2012)
NOAA Fisheries delineated eight recovery domains, or geographic recovery planning areas, for the ESA-listed salmon and steelhead populations on the West Coast. The Middle Columbia River Recovery Sub-domain is one of three sub-domains comprising the Interior Columbia River Recovery Domain (see map of recovery domains). This sub-domain is home to one ESA-listed steelhead species, Middle Columbia River steelhead.
NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region manages recovery planning and implementation for this sub-domain through its Interior Columbia Basin Area Office.
Working with its Federal, state, tribal, and local partners, NOAA Fisheries adopted a Recovery Plan for Middle Columbia River steelhead in 2009. The plan is based on the biological needs of steelhead and provides the foundation for restoring the population to healthy levels. It covers the spawning, rearing, and freshwater migration range of Middle Columbia River steelhead, which is approximately 35,000 square miles in the Columbia plateau of eastern Washington and eastern Oregon, as well as the Columbia River and estuary. The plan draws on four locally developed recovery plans for management units encompassing Middle Columbia River tributaries in Washington and Oregon.
Partnerships for Recovery
Steelhead recovery requires action at all levels of government and by all stakeholders to be effective. Partnerships among federal, state, local, and tribal entities, together with non-governmental and private organizations, are key to restoring healthy steelhead runs and ensuring the cultural, economic, and environmental benefits they provide. Implementing recovery actions is especially critical at the local level. NOAA Fisheries supports this by providing scientific and policy support, providing funding as available, and working with our partners to improve regulatory mechanisms for steelhead recovery.
Key partners working to restore Middle Columbia River steelhead are identified below.
Federal & State Partners
- Bonneville Power Administration
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Forest Service
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Oregon Governor's Natural Resources Office
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Washington Governor's Office
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
- Washington Department of Natural Resources
- Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
- The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
- Yakama Nation
Local & Private Partners
- Yakima Basin Fish & Wildlife Recovery Board
- Snake River Salmon Recovery Board
- Kittitas County
- Yakima County
- Benton County
- Chelan County
- Klickitat County
- Skamania County
- Portland General Electric
- Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council
- Steelhead Status Reviews and Five-Year Updates
- Steelhead Federal Register Notices
- Salmon and Steelhead Federal Register Rules and Notices prior to August 2019
- Steelhead Maps & GIS Data
- Salmon Publications
- Steelhead Publications
- Salmon and Steelhead Hatcheries on the West Coast
- Learn about what you can do to help endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead recover
- Recent Stories
If you would like to get involved directly in Middle Columbia River steelhead recovery efforts please join the Middle Columbia River Recovery Forum. If you have questions, or would like to learn about upcoming meetings and more about recovery efforts, please contact:
West Coast Region - Interior Columbia Basin Area Office
Phone: 509.962.8911 ext. 809