White Salmon River: Witnessing the Revival

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Native Fish Society is conducting a multi-year survey project to better tell the story of what is happening with our wild Steelhead and Coho after the removal of a dam that didn't allow fish passage. With our partners, WDFW and Friends of the White Salmon, we are currently in the middle of our third season of spawning surveys.

The Threat:

Our key area of focus for White Salmon River and its tributaries is Hatcheries. Learn more about the science behind the 5 H’s and their importance to the revival of wild abundance here.

Our Goals:

By collecting the data, NFS is telling the story of what is happening on rivers where hatchery steelhead programs have been eliminated and the watershed is now managed for the conservation and recovery of wild fish. Understanding the impacts of this management change will support our work to designate more watersheds for wild fish. 

How is NFS working to achieve our goal?

We recruit and train community members to follow the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife's spawning survey protocol and perform spawning surveys during Coho and Steelhead season. This data is tracked and allows us to tell the story of wild fish recovery after dam removal, and also provides a road map for other rivers where fish barrier removal could be considered.

Successes & Accomplishments to Date:

  • Maintaining 3 tributaries in spawning rotation despite weather-related challenges. 

  • 3rd survey season: Trained 26 new volunteers on spawning survey work. Training 2 more local volunteers in January 2023 and 3 USFS employees in May of 2023  

  • 3rd survey season: Worked with WDFW partners to improve reaches to the longest tributary (Buck Creek) Work continues to add Rattlesnake Creek as our 4th tributary for monitoring.

  • MAJOR MILESTONE! NFS was awarded the WDFW Region 5 organization award for this project. WDFW Region 5 partnership is ongoing.

How Can You Help?

Get involved!

Are you interested in walking some beautiful creeks, looking for spawning wild fish, and collecting the data that can help revive abundant wild fish around the region? We can use the help! You can help make a difference in monitoring the incredible and essential steelhead and Coho of the White Salmon River and its tributaries by volunteering, making a donation, or spreading the word about the importance of reviving and monitoring these vital native fish. Send us a message if you have any questions or would like to be notified of any upcoming volunteer opportunities and/or Action Alerts. Please join us as together, we can tell the story of wild fish recovery on the White Salmon!

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