Salmon River

Summary

This 24 mile long river is one of the shortest of the Oregon Coast basins. It lies on the 45th parallel, on the north central coast of Oregon with Lincoln City being the nearest town. The river's headwaters originate at 3,100 feet near Lost Prairie on Saddlebag Mountain and then runs through 3 counties (Polk, Tillamook and Lincoln) and every point of the compass on its journey to the sea. Its uplands are heavily industrialized, at 8 miles it has an old growth remnant that covers 5 river miles called the Van Duzer corridor. It has no industrial source point pollution but there are 200 some odd homes contributing nitrogen and other components. Average rain fall is in excess of 100 inches oer year and snow is persistent in much of its uplands from November through May. Discharge averages 339 cu ft/s.

Native Species

  • Coastal Cutthroat Trout
  • Coho Salmon [ESA Listed]
  • Fall Chinook Salmon
  • Pacific Lamprey
  • Winter Steelhead
  • Chum Salmon
  • Western Brook Lamprey

Introduction:

The Salmon is one of only 5 International Salmon Treaty Rivers in the world and has a portion of its lower stretches designated as the first Scenic River Research Area in America. This same area is also a United Nations Biosphere Reserve. The Salmon River Valley was home to the Nechesne Native American peoples whose populations were as high as 500 individuals in the estuary area alone, and the coastal trail ran through the current Westwind site and then after fording the river up Cascade Head to the North.. The estuarine lands are 100% protected by a mosaic of federal and NGO ownerships including the Westwind Stewardship Group, Nature Conservancy, Us Forest Service/ Siuslaw National Forest. Lastly the marine waters immediately to the West are designated both a Marine Protected Area and a Marine Reserve.

Basin Stats:

  • Location: North Central Oregon Coast on the 45th parallel. Lincoln Polk and Tillamoook counties.
  • Major Contributing Streams: Boulder Creek, Slick Rock Creek, Little Salmon River, Bear Creek, Panther Creek and Crowley Creek.
  • River Length: 24 miles.
  • Drainage area: 75 square miles acres

Threats:

  • Large discharge of Fall Chinook by ODFW Hatchery.
  • Failing Weir at hatchery encouraging a high proportion hatchery origin spawners (pHOS).
  • Active industrials timber harvest employing 30 year rotations in upper half of watershed
  • Disproportionately large recreational fishing pressure from multiple access points from Highway 101 and 18 as well as vulnerability of Fall Chinook within the lower 5 miles of tidal influence confining runs in small shallow pools.

Conservation Partners within the Basin:

For more information regarding the Salmon River visit these links:

http://oregonconservationstrategy.org/conservation-opportunity-area/salmon-river-estuary-cascade-head/

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/siuslaw/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=fsbdev7_007294

https://www.1859oregonmagazine.com/travel/2012-september-october-outdoors-salmon-river

https://www.blm.gov/or/districts/salem/plans/files...

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