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 they both will maintain their positions on the Endangered Species list.
From The Fishing Wire:
NOAA Fisheries has released 5-year reviews for seven salmon and steelhead species in the Interior Columbia Basin protected by the Endangered Species Act. The reviews found that species in the Snake River and upper and middle Columbia River should retain their current listing statuses. However, climate change increases the urgency of recommended recovery actions. These include further improving passage through hydropower dams, restoring tributary and estuary habitat, controlling predators, and modifying hatchery practices.
The comprehensive recovery actions will help improve the resilience of the species to climate change, the reviews said.
The review of Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook salmon signaled an “increased level of concern” for the species based on declining population trends and climate change impacts. It called for further review if that trend continues. The review recommended additional habitat restoration. Research indicates 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 review of upper Columbia spring-run Chinook salmon reports that all three populations of the fish have declined over the last 5 years by an average of 48 percent. Low survival in the ocean was a major factor, but the reviews describe impacts in freshwater, too.
These are the first of 28 reviews of West Coast salmon and steelhead species that NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region will release in the next several months. The Endangered Species Act calls for a review of listed species at least every 5 years to determine if their listing status remains accurate or should be changed. The reviews also provide a report card on recovery, as outlined by each species’ recovery plan. They identify the most critical threats to the species and recommend key actions that can yield the greatest improvements in their odds of recovery…
Read the full 5-year reviews for each of the seven Upper Columbia and Snake River species.