Native Fish Society River Steward Program:                                                                              Dedicated Volunteers, Incredible Achievements

For more than 130 years, the iconic steelhead and salmon have been in steady decline in the Pacific Northwest.  Some are extinct, and many are listed as threatened or endangered.  In response, government agencies have spent literally billions of dollars on recovery efforts with very little beneficial outcome.

The Native Fish Society has taken a different approach.  Beginning in 2004, we created our River Steward Program with its goal of solving root causes of native fish decline and stopping threats before they happen.  As of this writing, we have more than 65 volunteer River Stewards looking after more than 70 Northwest Rivers.  We assure you they do not cost a billion dollars.  In fact, they cost taxpayers nothing.

From a grassroots level, our River Stewards fill that gap between local communities and government agencies to champion native, wild fish.  They work to create fish-friendly government policy as well as to ensure those policies are implemented and enforced.  They create coalitions and inform the public how they best can take action to stop the declines.

The NFS River Steward program is the only grassroots fish conservation effort in the Pacific Northwest, working watershed-by-watershed.

We are always looking to expand our River Steward Program.  Currently, we are seeking River Stewards in N. California,  SW Oregon and SW Washington.  River Stewards adopt a watershed and fight for its native fish by:

  • understanding the habitat, life history and biological characteristics of native species;
  • working with state, federal and local authorities to develop conservation plans;
  • monitoring and measuring scientific criteria to determine fish population’s status;
  • seeking funding for habitat improvement projects
  • representing their watershed at public meetings and before decision makers;
  • establishing effective coalitions that respond to and solve problems affecting native fish;

If you would like to learn more about becoming a River Steward and live north of the Umpqua watershed please contact our Program Director, Mark Sherwood, at (503) 496-0807 or If you live in the Umpqua watershed or south, please contact Southern District Manager, Jake Crawford, at (720) 253-8485 or