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Upper Columbia

Similkameen and Okanogan Rivers The Upper Columbia River Salmon Recovery Region in north central Washington includes the Columbia River and its tributaries upstream of the confluence of the Yakima River to the base of Chief Joseph Dam. The geography is varied and the climate includes extremes in temperatures and precipitation, with most precipitation falling in the mountains as snow. Melting snowpack, groundwater, and runoff maintain stream flows.

A large portion of the Upper Columbia Basin is in public ownership. The recovery plan was completed in June 2005 and adopted by NOAA Fisheries Service in October 2007.

Major Factors Limiting Recovery

  • Degraded floodplain and channel structure
  • Riparian degradation
  • Degraded water quality and temperature
  • Impaired stream flows in tributaries
  • Excessive sediment
  • Barriers to fish passage in tributaries
  • Harvest impacts
  • Hydropower system mortality on Columbia River
  • Predator harassment of spawning fish
  • Influence of hatchery releases on natural origin populations

Hatchery and Harvest Priorities

Short-Term Objectives
  • Use selective harvest techniques to constrain harvest on naturally produced fish at the currently reduced rates throughout the Columbia Basin.
  • Use selective harvest techniques to provide fishery opportunities in the Upper Columbia Basin that focus on hatchery-produced fish that are not needed for recovery.
  • Recommend that parties of U.S. v Oregon incorporate Upper Columbia VSP criteria when formulating fishery plans affecting Upper Columbia spring Chinook and steelhead.
  • Increase effective enforcement of fishery rules and regulations.
  • Appropriate co-managers/fisheries management agencies should work with local stakeholders to develop tributary fisheries management goals and plans.
Long-Term Objectives
  • Provide opportunities for increased tributary harvest consistent with recovery.
  • Incorporate Upper Columbia VSP criteria when formulating fishery plans affecting Upper Columbia spring Chinook and steelhead.
Research and Monitoring Objectives
  • Research and employ best available technology to reduce incidental mortality of non-target fish in selective fisheries.
  • Monitor the effects of incidental take on naturally produced populations in the Upper Columbia Basin.
  • Improve estimates of harvested fish and indirect harvest mortalities in freshwater and ocean fisheries.
  • Initiate or continue monitoring and research to improve management.

Recovery Plans

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salmon recovery and conservation, please contact
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Human Population
Human Population: 142,200
Listed Fish
Listed Fish

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Regional Recovery Organization
Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board

Federally Recognized Tribes
Colville Confederated Tribes
Yakama Nation

Counties in this Region