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Regulating harvest, protection, and enhancement of fish populations

logoThe Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP)

Recognizing that volunteers could play an important role in the restoration of native stocks of salmon and trout, the Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program in 1981.

Since that time thousands of volunteers have assisted Oregon’s fisheries through their involvement in STEP. They have donated money, materials, equipment, and countless hours of time and labor. STEP volunteers have completed stream habitat restoration work, conducted surveys, helped with education projects, and hatched and reared several million salmon and trout eggs—all because they care about fish and fish habitat.

STEP’s goals include:

  • Rehabilitate and improve natural habitat and native fish stocks.
  • Insure that harvest does not exceed fish population’s reproductive capability.
  • Provide for citizen volunteer participation in achieving the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish management objectives.
  • Support public education programs.

The Salmon and Trout Advisory Committee (STAC) made up of 13 Oregon citizens are appointed by the governor to provide recommendations concerning the implementation of salmon and trout enhancement projects. STAC members are appointed to represent the various districts throughout Oregon.

In addition to the advisory committee, 11 Oregon Department of Fish and wildlife STEP Biologists work closely with the numerous STEP affiliated Oregon fishing organizations, providing technical expertise as well as organizing and overseeing the efforts of these dedicated volunteers.

What can a STEP volunteer do?

STEP is a growing program and Oregonians are eager to contribute time, muscle, money, and perseverance. The combined effort of all volunteers has made an important and measurable impact toward conservation of Oregon's valuable fish resources. Volunteers come away with a better understanding of fish and the systems upon which they depend. They achieve a strong sense of personal accomplishment through their hard work.

Interested citizens can help out in a variety of ways, from data collection and management to habitat restoration or education. Volunteer projects and opportunities are defined by the diversity of fish resource management needs found throughout Oregon.

Each of Oregon’s watersheds has its own fish management priorities. Local biologists determine what must be done and are always on the lookout for ways volunteers can help.

Many fish projects simply could not happen without volunteers. Volunteers provide the extra effort needed to get the job done.

STEP Districts

North Coast STEP - The North Coast STEP district includes all of the coastal basins extending from Neskowin Creek (Cascade Head) north to the Columbia River, and the lower Columbia River tributaries from the mouth up to Plympton Creek (Westport). Major stream basins include the Klaskanine, Youngs, Lewis and Clark, Necanicum, Nehalem, Kilchis, Wilson, Trask, Tillamook and Nestucca Rivers.

Mid-Coast STEP - The Mid-Coast STEP district includes all of the central Oregon Coast basins from Salmon River south to Siltcoos and Tahkenitch Lakes near Reedsport. Major stream basins include the Salmon, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea and Siuslaw Rivers.

Umpqua STEP - The Umpqua STEP district covers the entire Umpqua Basin and extends from Diamond Lake in the Cascades west to the coast at Reedsport. Major stream basins include Cow and Calapooya Creek, and the North Fork, South Fork and mainstem Umpqua River.

Tenmile, Coos and Coquille STEP - The Tenmile, Coos and Coquille STEP district covers the Oregon Coast basins from the Eel/Tenmile Lake area south to Bandon. Major stream basins include the Tenmile Lake area, and the Millicoma, Coos and Coquille Rivers.

Lower Rogue STEP - The Lower Rogue STEP district covers the southern Oregon Coast from Four Mile Creek near Bandon south to the California boarder. Major stream basins include the Sixes, Elk, Pistol and Chetco Rivers, the lower Illinois River and the lower mainstem of the Rogue River from the mouth upstream to Mule Creek.

Upper Rogue STEP - The Upper Rogue STEP district covers all waters n the Rogue Basin upstream of the mainstem tributary of Mule Creek to the headwaters near Crater Lake. Major stream basins include the upper Illinois, Applegate and Rogue Rivers.

Lower Willamette STEP - The Lower Willamette STEP district covers the lower Willamette basin including the Portland Metropolitan area. Major stream basins include the Clatskanie, Tualatin, Yamhill, Molalla/Pudding, Clackamas, Sandy and lower Willamette Rivers.

Mid-Willamette STEP - The Mid-Willamette STEP district covers the mid Willamette basin from Eugene north to Salem. Major stream basins include Rickreall Creek, and the North Santiam, South Santiam, Calapooia, Luckiamute, Marys, Long Tom and mainstem Willamette Rivers.

Upper Willamette STEP - The Upper Willamette STEP district covers the headwaters of the Willamette River including the McKenzie, Middle Fork Willamette and Coast Fork Willamette Rivers.

Eastern Oregon STEP - The Eastern Oregon STEP district covers the entire state east of the Cascades and includes 18 counties with nearly 67,000 square miles. Major stream basins include the Deschutes, Klamath, Chewaucan, Silvies, Donner and Blitzen, Malheur, Owyhee, John Day, Umatilla, Grande Ronde and Powder Rivers

Annual Progress Reports (pdfs)

2010 2011 2012 2013            
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
1980s 1981
STEP started
1982 1983
not available
not available
not available
1986 1987 1988 1989

Monitoring Resources

This program receives federal financial assistance in Sport Fish Restoration and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, or disability. If you believe that you have been discriminated against as described above in any program, activity, or facility, or if you desire further information, please contact ADA Coordinator, Oregon Fish and Wildlife, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, Salem, OR 97302, 503-947-6200, or write Office for Human Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240. This material will be furnished in alternate format for people with disabilities if needed. Please call 503-947-6000 to request such materials.


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