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Officials Laud Record-Setting Columbia River Salmon Run

Officials who monitor salmon counts thought this would be a big year for endangered fish. But they didn’t think it would be this big.

It turns out that 2014 is the best year for Columbia River salmon in 75 years.

On a single day this September, more than 67,000 salmon swam up the Columbia River. That’s four times as many as passed on any day in the 1990s.

Leaders from several tribes and federal agencies gathered at Bonneville Dam Tuesday to celebrate the annual salmon catch.

The fish ladder at Bonneville Dam on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. 

The fish ladder at Bonneville Dam on Tuesday, September 30, 2014. 

Alan Sylvestre/OPB

“These impressive runs give us hope that our collaborative efforts to improve salmon habitat and build up salmon runs will, in fact, be successful, in the long run,” said Bill Bradbury, chair of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Bradbury said salmon runs are affected by ocean conditions, and cyclical. That means that this year’s high run is no guarantee that next year will be as good.

But there have been more small Chinook — called “jack” — this year. That suggests that next year will be another strong season.