The Snake River Salmon Recovery Board (SRSRB), located in Southeast Washington, convened in 2002 for the purpose of developing a locally supported, technically sound plan to recover salmon that has been adopted by the State of Washington and Federal Government. The SRSRB is represented by each of the five counties in Southeast Washington and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The SRSRB has met monthly for the last 10 years to advise, recommend, and approve funding for habitat projects, monitoring programs and administrative functions necessary to implement the salmon recovery plan. As context and guiding principles for the work the SRSRB conducts the following information is provided.
The Federal Government is required by law to develop plans to recover plants and animals when they become endangered with the risk of extinction. The act is known as the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin, which includes the Snake River, were determined to be at risk of extinction in the 1990’s following one hundred years of declining numbers to the Columbia River.
The reason the number of salmon and steelhead declined over the last century is due to many factors. Over fishing from the late 1800’s to 2000 (over harvest is not a significant factor since 2000), habitat loss, hydropower, and over use of hatcheries are factors that humans are responsible for but there are also ocean conditions, droughts, diseases and predation by other animals that must also be considered. Combined, these factors proved to be too much for wild salmon and steelhead, causing decline in their numbers from as many as 18 million to less than 1 million over the last century.
Recovering salmon and steelhead requires a balance. We must balance the needs of fishermen, habitat (property) owners, and hydropower in a way that supports the recovery of our salmon and steelhead. We use hatcheries as a way to provide fishing opportunities and as a way to conserve our salmon and steelhead populations when needed. We improve survival of salmon and steelhead at our dams in a way that allows for the continued generation of hydropower and navigation. We work with landowners to restore and protect habitat on their property. And, we manage fisheries in a way to protect wild fish and to harvest hatchery produced fish.
Today we have a plan to recover these fish that reflects a balance between the needs of the salmon and the needs of people. This plan is unique in that it was develop and approved by local cities, counties, landowners, not by the state and federal agencies. State and federal agencies provided the information and were great partners but they did not write the plan. This is important because while the ESA requires the Federal Government to develop recovery plans, the Federal Government does not have the local knowledge and ability to commit implementation of the actions (projects, programs and policies) needed to achieve recovery.
Snake River Salmon Recovery Board Meeting: March 27th 4:00 p.m.
Clarkston @ Walla Walla Community College Campus
1470 Bridge St, Clarkston, WA 99403
Phone: (509) 382-4115 or
Office Location: 410-B E Main St, Dayton, WA
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