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Salmon Recovery Planning
Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon, ODFW photo
The Department of State Lands (DSL) is a cooperating agency under the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. The plan's mission is to restore fish populations and their habitat to sustainable levels, providing environmental, cultural and economic benefits. A primary goal of the Oregon Plan is to implement existing laws and environmental regulations to support recovery efforts.
 
DSL has been an active participant in recovery planning efforts for the Coastal Coho, Lower Columbia, Upper Willamette and Mid Columbia salmon and steelhead recovery plans. The plans – which are guidance, not regulatory, documents – describe a process to restore listed species and ecosystems to a point where the species' future is safeguarded and the protections of the Endangered Species Act are no longer necessary.
 
Habitat and land-use changes have been identified as significant threats to salmon recovery in Oregon. Some of the limiting factors for achieving recovery include access to spawning or rearing habitat and the quality of available habitat, such as loss of floodplain connectivity and channel complexity.
 
DSL has worked closely with recovery planning teams and stakeholders to develop specific management actions necessary to recover listed salmon and steelhead. The recovery plans identify key management actions such as maintaining high quality habitat, encouraging land-use practices that won’t further degrade habitat conditions (i.e., maintaining forestlands, developing outside of floodplains to maintain hydrologic connectivity) and acting quickly on all priority actions identified in the plans.
 
To support these actions, DSL and other natural resource agencies have been coordinating efforts to streamline the permitting process for fish habitat and wetland restoration projects. In addition, DSL is requiring appropriate avoidance and minimization of impacts to wetlands and waterways in areas that have been identified for protection.
 
Oregon's recovery planning is in different phases of development and review. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has a 2010 completion date for the Lower Columbia and Upper Willamette Recovery Plans. The Mid-Columbia Recovery Plan was recently adopted by NOAA Fisheries in September 2009, and is scheduled to be adopted by the ODFW commission this winter.
 
The State Land Board endorsed DSL's Mid-Columbia management actions at their February 9, 2010 meeting. These actions include tributary habitat strategies such as protecting high quality habitats, maintaining existing unimpaired habitat and ecosystem functions, and encouraging restoration projects.
 
The protection, conservation and best use of Oregon's water resources are important to Oregonians. The Department of State Lands is committed to developing and supporting appropriate management strategies and actions that facilitate salmon recovery, encourage habitat restoration, and provide for increased outreach and education on watershed health.
 
More information on the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds:
 
http://www.oregon.gov/OPSW
 
More information on current recovery efforts, including recovery plans' status:
 
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CRP/conservation_plans.asp and
 
http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Salmon-Recovery-Planning/Recovery-Domains
 
For more information on DSL involvement with the salmon recovery efforts, contact Lori Warner-Dickason; 503-986-5271.