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Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Are we there yet? Track salmon recovery online


A new website launched by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Ecotrust on Friday is supposed to make it easier for the public to track salmon recovery efforts online.

It seems like this kind of tool would be helpful, as we’re constantly hearing about pricey new restoration projects, rising and falling fish counts and legal wrangling over Endangered Species Act protection requirements. Are we there yet? Where are we on this rocky road to recovery?

So far, the site is a compilation of all the relevant data ODFW has on coastal coho populations in Oregon - the acreage of habitat restored in coastal watersheds, the number of spawning adults, the species’ distribution and diversity. Over time, the database is supposed to expand to include steelhead, chinook and chum salmon.

Julie Firman, ODFW research analyst, said the tracking website will help managers, scientists, policymakers and the general public see trends and track progress toward salmon and steelhead recovery. It’s the state’s first stab at bringing data from a variety of sources under one roof.

After a quick look over the site, I’d say it would take a pretty highly educated salmon tracker to decode just how close we are to recovering these listed fish. Maybe we have some of you in our midst?

In the meantime, I’ll be following up with Firman to find out what recovery trends might be visible already.

The idea behind the database reminds me of an ongoing project on the Columbia River that’s trying to track the cumulative effects of salmon habitat restoration. It’s a trickier task than documenting how effective a single restoration project has been at bringing salmon back to a wetland or tributary. I wonder if this new site will give us a better idea of the bigger picture statewide.

Endangered species Salmon

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