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Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds

Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds logo
This page is an abbreviated resource for the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds (OPSW). Those interested in a more in-depth look at the history of the Plan are encouraged to search the digital files of the Oregon State Library.


Restoring our native fish populations and the aquatic systems that support them to productive and sustainable levels that will provide substantial environmental, cultural, and economic benefits.


Salmon have great cultural, economic, and recreational importance to Oregonians and are important indicators of watershed health. In response to listings of various salmon species under the federal Endangered Species Act, and with broad support and participation from all sectors and regions of the state, the Oregon Legislature and Governor Kitzhaber established the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds in 1997. OPSW quickly developed into an unprecedented statewide program to preserve and benefit from Oregon's natural legacy.

The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds organized specific actions, or measures, around the factors that contributed to the decline in fish populations and watershed health. Most of these actions focused on improvement of water quality and quantity and habitat restoration. Landowners and other private citizens, community organizations, interest groups, and all levels of government came together to organize, fund, and implement these measures. Watershed councils and soil and water conservation districts have led efforts in many watersheds.

The four elements of the Plan:

  • Voluntary restoration actions by private landowners
  • Coordinated state and federal agency and tribal actions
  • Monitoring watershed health, water quality, and salmon recovery
  • Strong scientific oversight by the Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team (IMST)

Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team (IMST)

The IMST was established by the Oregon Legislature and Governor John Kitzhaber on March 25, 1997. Through Executive Order 99-01, Governor Kitzhaber expanded the scope of the Oregon Plan and specified the continued role of IMST in the recovery of wild salmonids in Oregon. The Team developed a conceptual scientific framework for the recovery of depressed stocks of wild salmonids in Oregon, first in relation to Oregon's forest practices and then covering all land uses and fish management. During the 2001 Oregon Legislative Assembly, additional direction was given to the Oregon Plan and IMST. The Team was not funded for the 2015-2017 biennium and was abolished with the passage of Senate Bill 202 on January 1, 2017. To view IMST documents, please search the Oregon State Library.

Monitoring for the Oregon Plan

After the creation of the Oregon Plan, OWEB and other state natural resource agencies coordinated development of a statewide monitoring program for the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds.

Salmon Plate

When you buy a salmon license plate, a portion of the fees are invested by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board in activities that protect or restore native salmon habitat, and by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to support fish habitat restoration in state parks. To purchase a salmon plate, visit the Oregon DMV.

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