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Extirpation and Tribal Reintroduction of Coho Salmon to the Interior Columbia River Basin

Feb 26, 2014


Harvest of anadromous salmonids in the Columbia River basin has been fundamental to the nutrition, economy, and cultural and religious beliefs of the regional Native American tribes. Agricultural development, dam construction, urbanization, and overharvest following colonization by European-origin settlers, however, resulted in dramatic reductions in salmon runs and negative impacts to the well-being of tribal peoples. Federal and state fishery agencies attempted to mitigate for the loss and to rebuild some salmonid populationsbut deemed Coho Salmon of lesser importance for upriver fisheriesand allowed them to go functionally extinct. In the mid-1990s, fishery agencies of the Columbia River Treaty tribes spearheaded efforts to reestablish the extirpated Coho Salmon, beginning in the Yakima, Wenatchee, Methow, and Clearwater rivers. The programs were initiated with juveniles from composite lower Columbia River hatchery stocks, acclimated or direct released near potential spawning habitat, then were transitioned to producing juveniles with broodstock collected in-basin. Increasing numbers of fish are now returning to these rivers, a portion of which is the product of natural spawning. Results suggest that the Coho Salmon are adapting to their new environments and founding local naturalized populations.


Peter Galbreath, Michael Bisbee, Jr., Douglas Dompier, Cory Kamphaus, and Todd Newsome


Galbreath, P.F., M.A. Bisbee Jr., W. Douglas, W. Dompier, C.M. Kamphaus, and T.H. Newsome. 2014. Extirpation and tribal reintroduction of Coho Salmon to the interior Columbia River Basin. Fisheries 39(2):77-87. Online at



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Media Type

Journal Article