About Recovery Planning & Implementation in the Upper Willamette River Basin
More than a million salmon and steelhead once returned to Oregon’s Willamette River Basin. Over the course of the last two centuries, the effects of fisheries, hatchery fish, flood control and hydropower operations, and habitat alterations led to declines in these populations. These collective pressures contributed to the listing of Upper Willamette River spring Chinook and steelhead under the Endangered Species Act in 1999.
NOAA Fisheries worked with its partners, most notably the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Governor’s Natural Resources Office, and the Upper Willamette River Stakeholder and Planning Team, to develop a recovery plan that addresses the biological needs of the population and the threats it faces. The Stakeholder Team consisted of representatives from several interests, including: agriculture, business, conservation, government, tribal, fishing, forestry, local government, soil and water conservation, and utility. Their input and collective efforts culminated in NOAA Fisheries' 2011 adoption of the Upper Willamette River Conservation and Recovery Plan for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead.
The recovery plan focuses actions on the biological needs of fish throughout each life stage in order to address the various threats they face. The two highest priorities are to reestablish natural production of salmon and steelhead above the Willamette's flood control dams and to protect high quality habitat while strategically improving degraded areas. These activities, coupled with sound harvest and hatchery management, will contribute to the long-term recovery of Upper Willamette River spring Chinook and steelhead.