Climate Change and Fish Habitat Restoration on Columbia River Tribal Lands
Climate change presents an existential challenge to salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River Basin, which are already imperiled from loss of habitat and other limiting factors. Warmer water temperatures, lower summer stream flows, and other impacts are all predicted to become increasingly severe during this century. Freshwater habitat protection and restoration offers an opportunity to mitigate these impacts and increase the resilience of these fish, offering them time while larger scale solutions to the climate crisis are enacted. Ongoing habitat restoration and protection activities have successfully enacted a large number and variety of actions across the watersheds of the Columbia Basin, and are an integral part of tribal salmon recovery plans. Future habitat actions should consider the impacts of climate change including their varying effect across different watersheds in order to ensure long term effectiveness. We analyze past tribal habitat actions in the context of these projections and summarize recommendations for future habitat actions from current research on this topic.
Graves, D. 2021. Climate change and fish habitat restoration on Columbia River tribal lands. Climate Change Project Whitepaper. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, July 2021. Online at https://critfc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ClimateChangeandFishHabitatonColRiverTribalLands.pdf.