Snake & Coumbia River Steelhead and Salmon retain endangered species status

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Good news for Snake River and Upper and Middle Columbia River salmon and steelhead recently arrived from NOAA Fisheries. The agency recently completed its 5-year reviews of the species’ status and found that both will retain their positions on the endangered species list.

From Fishing Wire:

NOAA Fisheries has issued 5-year reviews for seven species of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Inland Basin protected by the Endangered Species Act. The reviews found that species in the Snake River and the upper and middle Columbia River should retain their current listing statuses. However, climate change increases the urgency of recommended recovery actions. These include further improvement of passage through hydroelectric dams, restoration of tributary and estuarine habitat, predator control and modification of steelheading practices.

Comprehensive recovery actions will help improve species’ resilience to climate change, the reviews said.

The Snake River spring/summer review of Chinook salmon signaled an “elevated level of concern” for the species based on declining population trends and the impacts of climate change. He called for further review if this trend continues. The review recommended additional habitat restoration. Research shows that at least 20 percent of floodplain and side channel habitat in a watershed must be restored to support a 25 percent increase in surviving salmon smolts.

The Upper Columbia Spring Chinook Salmon Review reports that all three fish populations have declined over the past 5 years by an average of 48 percent. Low survival in the ocean was a major factor, but reviews describe impacts in freshwater as well.

These are the first of 28 West Coast salmon and steelhead species revisions that NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region will release in the coming months. The Endangered Species Act requires a review of listed species at least every 5 years to determine whether their listing status remains correct or should be changed. The reviews also provide a report card on recovery, as described by each species’ recovery plan. They identify the most critical threats to the species and recommend key actions that could bring about the greatest improvements in their chances of recovery…

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Read the full 5-year reviews for each of the seven Upper Columbia and Snake River species.

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