© Eiko Jones

New Coho Plans for Elk, Siuslaw

New Coho Plans for Elk, Siuslaw

Wild Salmon Center and partners publish coho habitat restoration plans for two Oregon Coast rivers.

Wild Salmon Center is leading the Coast Coho Partnership,  a team of state and federal partners working to recover Oregon’s threatened coast coho. The partnership assists local watershed groups with a science-based approach to effectively restore watershed health for coast coho.

Our effort reached a major milestone this month as WSC and our partners published the first two plans, for the Elk and Siuslaw River watersheds. These plans represent the first in a series that, once complete, will ensure that communities up and down the coast have a science-driven game plan for how to restore their local watersheds for high priority coho populations. Wild Salmon Center is currently facilitating the development of restoration plans in the Nehalem, Siletz, Coos Bay, and Upper Rogue River watersheds.

After a century of poor land use practices, coast coho were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. The health of coho, which use a range of habitats, is a vital indicator of the health of our coastal watersheds — the loss of their habitat could also imperil coastal Chinook, chum, cutthroat, and steelhead as well. As a result, when we focus on habitat restoration for coho, we see cascading benefits for other wild salmon species.

Now partners in the Siuslaw and Elk River watersheds have consensus around a scientifically-driven, community-supported suite of priority habitat restoration actions. These range from short term projects – like installing large wood in tributaries and recruiting beaver colonies – to long term  efforts across the watershed to protect old growth timber and reconnect long lost off-channel, estuary, and floodplain habitats.

This strategy is gaining traction. Our state, federal, and philanthropic partners have already committed over $5 million to implementing the projects identified in these plans.

On behalf of partners in the Elk and the Siuslaw, we would like to thank the agencies, foundations, and individuals who have supported this effort, especially the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the NOAA Restoration Center, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and the Oregon Community Foundation. Together, we can recover coast coho – for the benefit and enjoyment of many generations to come.

The Elk Coho Partnership includes:

  • Curry Watersheds Partnership
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • US Forest Service
  • Wild Rivers Coast Alliance
  • Wild Rivers Land Trust

The Siuslaw Coho Partnership includes:

  • Siuslaw Watershed Council
  • Siuslaw Soil and Water Conservation District
  • US Forest Service – Siuslaw National Forest
  • Bureau of Land Management-Eugene District
  • Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration  Fisheries / National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
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