Research, Monitoring & Evaluation Program 

The Recovery Plan asks a series of questions to guide the course of recovery and improving watershed health  -- Where are we?  How did we get here?  Where do we want to go?  How to we get there?  And how do we know we're there?  This last question sets the stage for evaluating our progress.  The Board's approach is comprehensive and depends on a number of programs to be successful.  
As part of the recovery plan development the Board established their Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Program to assist Lower Columbia planning partners in implementing monitoring.  The Board has developed additional monitoring methods and protocols in coordination with the integrated status and trends monitoring program of the Pacific NW Aquatics Monitoring Partnership.  Ongoing fish status and trends monitoring is conducted through the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Habitat status and trends monitoring is currently under development.  When published the program will integrate the needs of SW Washington stormwater permittee for monitoring water quality with other habitat factors that affect salmon and steelhead.


LCFRB 2020 Monitoring Grants
funded through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB)
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WDFW staff working with fish at a hatchery. Photo courtesy of WDFW. 

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Aerial photograph of an area in SW WA showing differences in vegetative cover. 


Fish Supported: Chum, Chinook, Coho, and Steelhead
SRFB Funds: $68,280
Matching Funds: $15,757 (volunteer time)
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was awarded funding to centralize existing salmon and steelhead data and produce new metrics to support the Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries Plan (CSFP) reporting, a key program for assessing hatchery and harvest needs in the region. 

Fish Supported: Chum, Chinook, Coho, and Steelhead
SRFB Funds: $68,280
Matching Funds: $15,757 (volunteer time)
The LCFRB and WDFW were awarded funding to acquire and analyze data for landscape-scale assessment of vegetation and impervious surface coverage. This information is essential to supporting region-wide habitat status and trends monitoring, a key program to assessing salmon recovery progress.
Habitat Programmatic Review - East Fork Lewis River Pilot Project
Fish Supported: Chum, Fall Chinook, Coho, Winter Steelhead, Summer Steelhead
Partners Interviewed: 65
Programs Evaluated: 29
The Recovery Plan’s adaptive management process calls for periodic evaluation of progress toward meeting recovery goals, including implementation of programs by the over 80 different recovery partners identified in the Plan.
It was assumed that regulatory programs protect habitat baseline conditions, conservation programs protect what regulatory programs cannot, restoration programs improve upon baseline conditions, and that monitoring of programs will identify successes and areas where more effort is necessary. 
East Fork watershed.jpg
The LCFRB partnered with PC Trask & Associates, Inc. to assess habitat program alignment with these assumptions in the East Fork Lewis River. The East Fork Lewis River Habitat Pilot Study is available for review, with follow up efforts building on this pilot study expected in the near future. 
Key Take Homes from the East Fork Study:
  • Recovery Plan expectations for partner programs do not provide enough supporting details for successful alignment
  • LCFRB staff have limited capacity to fully engage with recovery partners on all programs
  • Supporting program data is limited, and not structured to support effective assessment of program success
  • Available habitat restoration project data does not support assessment of freshwater habitat threats to salmon and steelhead.

Lower Columbia Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW)
Mill - Abernathy - Germany (MAG) Complex

The purpose of the IMW program is to determine whether restoration projects measurably increase salmonid production. This information will be used in adaptively managing restoration efforts and updating recovery plans. The IMW effort in the MAG complex involves 2 interrelated elements:


• Monitoring fish populations and habitat conditions in both the treatment and control watersheds by the IMW Monitoring Team led by the WA Department of Ecology and WDFW; and


• Conducting extensive habitat restoration work in the Abernathy Creek and nutrient enhancement in Germany Creek.  The habitat restoration work is coordinated by the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board (LCFRB).


This work was funded by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) via the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). Visit the Monitoring page in our website Library tab for IMW documents.



Monitoring began to establish baseline conditions.


IMW experimental design plan was completed


IMW restoration treatment plan for the MAG complex was completed.


Created designs for habitat restoration work.

2017- current

Partners implementing restoration projects in the treatment watersheds.

The restoration treatment plan (Plan) surveyed stream reaches in the Abernathy and Germany watersheds and identified potential projects. The projects were ranked based on species importance to recovery, estimated current and/or potential value of the targeted reach or project site to the performance of the target species, species life history stages and associated limiting factors or habitat attributes targeted and anticipated improvement in the quality and quantity of habitat. The Plan presents a three-phased approach to restoration project implementation with each phase comprised of 20 restoration projects. Within each phase, projects are grouped by potential interdependencies to promote economies of scale. The projects are also classified by “opportunities and constraints.” The estimated cost of implementing the Phase 1 projects is $6,025,830.