State and federal entities are hosting a series of four public meetings on the soon-to-be released plan to restore spring chinook and winter steelhead populations in the upper Willamette River Basin.
The meetings are sponsored by the State of Oregon’s Governors Natural Resources Office, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Service.
The Upper Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead Conservation and Recovery Plan is a roadmap to help rebuild spring chinook salmon and steelhead populations in the Willamette River basin.
At the four public meetings scheduled for October and November, ODFW will present a broad overview of the plan and describe how the public can participate in the review process. Venues are:
-- Albany, Oct. 20, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Ciddici’s Pizza, 133 5th Ave. SE
-- Canby, Nov.1, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Hope Village, 1535 S Ivy St.
-- Eugene, Nov. 8, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Eugene Water and Electric Board, 500 E 4th Ave.
-- Salem, Nov. 9, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St. SE
In 1999, several populations of spring chinook and winter steelhead in the Upper Willamette River were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
According to Dave Jepsen, ODFW recovery planning specialist, many factors have contributed to the decline of chinook salmon and steelhead populations in the Willamette basin, including loss of habitat, the effects of dams on fish passage and other flood control/hydropower operations, and hatchery fish and their management.
The first goal in the recovery of these populations is to remove or delist them from the list of threatened and endangered species under the ESA. The longer-term goal of the plan is to restore each chinook and steelhead population to the point where they are safe from extinction and can contribute to the economic vitality of the basin.
The plan lists actions to help restore key habitat and to mitigate other factors that continue to affect salmon and steelhead populations. The actions proposed in the Conservation and Recovery Plan build on years of conservation work that already has been done by local watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts, local governments, and state and federal agencies.
While the plan won’t be officially released until Oct. 20, a draft of the proposed Upper Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead Conservation and Recovery Plan is available for public review on the ODFW website at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider the plan at an upcoming meeting. Written comments on the plan may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Public comment will also be solicited through a federal process being developed by the NOAA Marine Fisheries Service through the Federal Register Notice. The federal site will be available in late October.