SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has released its plan for the conservation and recovery of Oregon's native salmon and steelhead populations in the Lower Columbia River and is seeking public comment.
The Lower Columbia River Conservation and Recovery Plan for Oregon Populations of Salmon and Steelhead (Plan) outlines steps to rebuild natural populations of salmon and steelhead in the Lower Columbia that have experienced drastic declines over the last 100 years. The Plan’s goal is to help salmon and steelhead populations grow to levels where they no longer need protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
ODFW will present the plan and gather comments at four public workshops scheduled in April and May in Hood River, Portland, St. Helens and Astoria.
According to Kevin Goodson, ODFW Conservation Planning Coordinator, the Plan serves as a roadmap for conservation and recovery of listed salmon and steelhead populations in Youngs Bay, Big Creek, Clatskanie, Scappoose, Clackamas, Sandy, Lower Gorge, Upper Gorge, and Hood River subbasins. The Plan identifies goals for ESA delisting as well as an outline for rebuilding population levels well above delisting to provide significant ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits.
“An important element of this plan is an implementation structure that ensures our actions to rebuild salmon and steelhead populations are efficient and strategic,” Goodson said.
Key elements of the Plan include identifying the current population status, major limiting factors and threats, management actions to address all threats, an implementation plan and a monitoring program to assess success and make adaptive changes. The Plan will help guide the actions of state, federal, and tribal agencies, as well as watershed councils, local governments, non-governmental organizations and landowners.
The Plan has been under development for a number of years with input and guidance from numerous public and private stakeholders, Goodson said.
Much of this input was provided by the Lower Columbia Stakeholder Team, whose members represent a diverse set of constituents who will play a critical role in implementing the plan, he added.
“Implementation has often been a weak link in some recovery planning efforts,” Goodson said. “But unlike some earlier planning efforts that offered a laundry list of possible actions, this plan builds on a lot of work that’s already underway and prioritizes recovery activities to try to get the biggest bang for the buck.”
The Plan is being released for public comment at this time as a state conservation plan that will be presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for its review and eventual approval. The Plan will then be submitted to NOAA Fisheries Service for inclusion in its bi-state, federal plan for recovery of lower Columbia River salmon and steelhead, which will include similar plans for populations in Washington. NOAA will also conduct a subsequent federal public review process for the bi-state plan.
A draft of the proposed Lower Columbia River Conservation and Recovery Plan for Oregon Populations of Salmon and Steelhead is available on the ODFW website.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be considering the Plan at its June 3-4, 2010 meeting in Salem. Public comment may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting. Public comment will also be taken at the meeting. In addition, there will be four public workshops at which public comment will be taken, a Plan overview will be presented, and questions can be answered. The location and schedule for these workshops are:
- Hood River, April 27, 6:00 – 8:30 pm, Hood River Middle School Library, 1602 May Street
- Portland, April 29, 6:00 – 8:30 pm, City of Portland Water Pollution Control Lab, 6543 N Burlington Avenue
- St. Helens, May 6, 6:00 – 8:30 pm, OSU Columbia County Extension, 505 N Columbia River Highway
- Astoria, May 11, 6:00 – 8:30 pm, Judge Guy Boyington Building, 857 Commercial Street