Recovering Salmon & Steelhead To Healthy, Harvestable Levels

Read the Recreation and Conservation Office's 2020 State of Salmon in Watersheds report

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"All-H" Recovery Plan Approach: Working with Salmon & Steelhead Habitat, Harvest, Hatcheries, and Hydropower Systems

The Recovery Plan establishes strategies, measures and actions that, when implemented, will support salmon recovery by reducing threats across all impact categories:

  • Hydropower

  • Habitat

  • Hatcheries

  • Harvest

  • Ecological Interactions

Protecting High Quality Habitat and Restoration Watershed Conditions

At the heart of our region are 18 watersheds and several thousand miles of rivers and streams that feed the main stem of the lower Columbia River and support salmon, steelhead and bull trout throughout their life cycle.  Since 1998 the Board has helped secure more than $70 million to implement projects that improve off channel and side channel areas for spawning and rearing, enhance stream conditions that support migrating fish and reducing unstable hillslopes that cause sediment buildup.  Our sponsors include local public works departments, volunteers and tribal ecologists. 

Project Spotlight: Kwoneesum Dam Removal

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Project Sponsored By:

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe

Columbia Land Trust

Fish Supported: Steelhead

SRFB Funds: $746,811

Matching Funds: $1,500,000 (Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board)

Reconnected Habitat: 6.5 miles

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will remove the derelict Kwoneesum Dam in the Washougal River watershed. Removal of the dam and restoration of impacted habitat will support improved watershed processess and habitat conditions for steelhead. The Columbia Land Trust acquired the property in 2020 in support of the restoration project, and is working to manage the property using a conservation forestry approach.

Campfire Girls at the dam in the 1970’s (upper left), Tanna Engdahl, Cowlitz Indian Tribe Spiritual Leader at the site (upper right), and Cowlitz Indian Tribe Leaders and Columbia Land Trust walking the Kwoneesum Dam (bottom).  Photos courtesy of Columbia Land Trust.

Project Spotlight: Bear Creek, 2020 Construction

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Project Sponsored By:

Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group

Fish Supported: Fall Chinook, Winter Steelhead, Coho

SRFB Funds: $222,225

Matching Funds: $44,360 (volunteer time and materials)

Restored Stream Length: 1.22 miles

Riparian Habitat Restored: 27.0 acres

The Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group wrapped up restoration work in Bear and Harrington Creeks at their confluence with the South Fork Toutle River to support fall Chinook, winter steelhead, and coho rearing and spawning habitat. This restoration project builds on the LCFEG's extensive work in the Toutle watershed, home to key salmon and steelhead populations for regional recovery. 

Jesse Barr (LCFEG Technician) carrying hardware to secure logs to boulders with Brice Crayne piloting the drone (upper), Engineer Pat Powers directing construction activities with Mike Waters Excavation crew (bottom).  Photos courtesy of Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group.

Hydropower in the Lower Columbia River

There are eight hydropower dams in the tributary rivers of the region that impact four watersheds, and 18 populations of salmon and steelhead. LCFRB participates in technical and advisory committees for the hydropower organizations, and assists in managing mitigation programs to support reintroduction of Chinook, coho and steelhead upstream of the dams. 

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Mayfield dam on the Cowlitz River. Operated by Tacoma Power.

Watersheds with hydropower systems in the lower Columbia River region.

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Merwin dam on the Lewis River. Operated by PacifiCorp.