Salmon Recovery

In Washington State, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office was created through the State Legislature to coordinate and produce a statewide salmon strategy; assist in the development of regional recovery plans; secure current and future funding for local, regional and state recovery efforts; and provide the Biennial State of the Salmon report to the Legislature.

The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board is one of eight regional salmon recovery organizations in the state. Although salmon recovery may cause some to suspect that harsh restrictions and hardships will be imposed, the truth is that salmon recovery will provide benefits to the Upper Columbia region that span all interest groups. Healthy salmon populations will boost local economies, ensure recreational opportunities and reduce ESA-related regulatory pressures.

Balancing the needs of the economy, salmon and community – essential for successful salmon recovery – requires stakeholder input and participation. The stakeholders in the Upper Columbia region include its residents – from farmers and families to ranchers, hikers and business owners. The UCSRB approaches salmon recovery efforts in a transparent and evolving process to restore fish populations for ecosystems and people while enhancing the economic viability of the region.

The UCSRB works with partners on the ground to facilitate implementation of salmon habitat restoration and protection projects that are consistent with the recovery plan. The UCSRB also coordinates with entities working in those sectors outside of habitat (i.e. hatchery, harvest and hydropower) to report progress toward program goals that also contribute to recovery.

Funding for habitat protection and restoration is driven by mitigation responsibilities (e.g. federal Columbia River power system and local public utility district facilities), and by direct funding from Congress to assist in the restoration of native salmon runs. The UCSRB aligns these funding processes to ensure that all implemented habitat actions contribute to recovery and are tracked over time. All stages of projects are reported in an on-line database called the Habitat Work Schedule.

Joy Juelson is the Salmon Recovery Implementation Program Manager.