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The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 required NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to develop a recovery plan for Klamath River coho salmon in 2007 and submit annual reports to Congress beginning in 2009. This document is the third annual Klamath River Basin Report to Congress. The report updates information presented in the 2010 annual report and includes: 1) the actions taken under the recovery plan and other laws relating to recovery of Klamath River coho salmon, and how those actions are specifically contributing to its recovery; 2) the progress made on the restoration of salmon spawning habitat, including water conditions as they relate to salmon health and recovery, with emphasis on the Klamath River and its tributaries below Iron Gate Dam; 3) the status of other Klamath River anadromous fish populations, particularly Chinook salmon; and 4) the actions taken by the Secretary of Commerce to address the calendar year 2003 National Research Council recommendations regarding monitoring and research on Klamath River Basin salmon stocks.
The Klamath River Basin supports Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead populations, among other anadromous species. Historically, anadromous fish populations supported important commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries. However, many anadromous fish populations have declined substantially in abundance and the restoration of these populations will require strong partnerships and collaboration between agencies and stakeholders throughout the basin. One of the target stocks of the ocean mixed-stock recreational and commercial salmon fisheries is the Klamath River fall-run Chinook salmon stock. Since the early 1990s, this stock has restricted the ocean mixed-stock salmon fisheries off California and Oregon due to low returns. However, based on recent increases in naturally spawning adults, the Secretary declared Klamath River fall Chinook salmon rebuilt in 2011.
Of anadromous fish occurring within the Klamath River Basin, only coho salmon are protected under the federal and California Endangered Species Act (ESA). Updated abundance data for Klamath River coho salmon stocks suggest that populations are not viable and some populations are at a high risk of extinction. Although limited data are available on steelhead and spring Chinook salmon abundance in the Klamath River Basin, abundance data for these species suggest wild populations continue to be at low levels.
Several noteworthy restoration and recovery actions were implemented in 2010. Two projects included construction and monitoring of off-channel ponds to address limited winter rearing habitat for ESA-listed coho salmon. The Lower Klamath tributary restoration project was completed by the Yurok Tribe using 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding and included tree planting in McGarvey and Terwer Creeks; expansion of the Yurok Tribe’s native plant nursery; and instream structure installation, bank stabilization, and off-channel pond construction in Terwer Creek. Off-channel ponds were also constructed by the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council and Karuk Tribe with funding received in 2010 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and PacifiCorp. Monitoring efforts following construction showed more than 250 juvenile coho salmon moving into the new ponds in Terwer Creek, illustrating the importance of this habitat for overwintering coho salmon. In 2010, NOAA’s Open Rivers Initiative provided funding to the Shasta River Fish Passage Project for removal of the Grenada Irrigation District diversion dam. This project will be implemented in summer/fall of 2011, and will provide year-round access for salmon and steelhead to over 23 miles of the Shasta River, Big Springs complex, and Parks Creek. Restoration efforts by The Nature Conservancy continue on the Shasta River Big Springs Creek to restore more than 11 miles of salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat, and the USFWS funded 2.8 miles of riparian fencing on the adjacent Shasta Springs Ranch.
Also, in early 2010 a major milestone was reached toward the potential removal of four PacifiCorp dams on the upper Klamath River, and comprehensive restoration of the Klamath River Basin with signature of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. Teams are currently working on studies and environmental review in support of a Secretarial Determination to occur by March 2012 regarding whether dam removal will advance restoration of the salmonid fisheries of the Klamath River Basin and is in the public interest. NMFS has been making substantial progress in response to the 2003 National Research Council’s recommendations to increase research and monitoring of Klamath River Basin salmon stocks, particularly with regard to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement. These recommendations will be addressed in more detail in subsequent reports, as progress continues in these efforts.
Scientists from NMFS are engaged in a wide range of research projects, including providing technical support for the Secretarial Determination on Klamath River dam removal, ocean mixed-stock salmon fisheries management, and the recovery of Klamath River Basin salmon and steelhead stocks.
Page Updated: Tuesday October 25, 2011 01:40 AM Pacific
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