Past & Present
The Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan (SRSRP) was submitted to NOAA in December 2005. In December 2006, NOAA published the plan in the Federal Register along with a supplement that summarizes and identifies the plan’s strengths and weaknesses. The Snake River Salmon Recovery Board (SRSRB) will work with NOAA to implement the plan. The Plan defines the Region’s desired implementation structure including roles, functions and relationship to the lead entity and watershed planning units. In the SRSRP, the SRSRB has identified the metric it intends to use as a “surrogate” for SRSRP validation. This metric is the number of juvenile offspring produced per adult that leave the Region on an annual basis. As the SRSRP is implemented, the SRSRB expects this number to increase. The SRSRB has recently began developing a pilot monitoring plan identified as the Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW). The IMW strategy is designed to both strengthen smolt monitoring as well as identify habitat practices which provide the most fish benefit. The SRSRB has focused on habitat restoration actions identified in the plan including, removing imminent threats, conducting active restoration, and habitat protection. The board has prioritized these actions in a manner consistent with the priority areas and actins specified in the plan. In 2008, the board focused on the following actions for guiding projects: Remove imminent threats, conduct projects which increase and maintain instream flows, conduct projects that maintain and increase stream channel complexity in priority restoration and protection reaches, conduct projects that protect and restore riparian habitat and floodplain function, or reduce fine sediment entering priority reaches.
Salmon recovery plans have been implemented in order to sustain and reverse the decline of endangered salmon species, preserving them for future generations. These species include Chinook salmon, steelhead trout and bull trout. Salmon populations have been declining for a long period of time. Discerning the factors that contributed to this decline has been and is a lengthy process. Local, state, tribal and federal governments have been studying the processes that have contributed to dwindling salmon populations for over a decade and are currently implementing strategies for protecting and recovering salmon.
Early on the primary contributors to salmon decline were designated as the “4 H’s.” These are salmon habitat, harvest levels, hatchery operations and hydropower facilities. Planning processes to address contributing factors have been implemented within the state of Washington; these include:
- Bonneville Power Administrations (BPA) Sub-basin planning process
- Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) Watershed planning process
- NOAA Fisheries/Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) salmon recovery planning process
- Additionally, planning processes are grouped into one of three ares, sub-basin planning, watershed planning and salmon recovery planning.