Our History


Ocean and Puget Sound marine coho and chinook fishing restrictions are underway to address coho population declines coast-wide.

Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups are created by the Legislature.



 Federal government lists Snake River sockeye salmon as endangered.



Federal government lists Snake River summer and fall chinook salmon as threatened.



Wild Stock Restoration Initiative and Wild Salmonid Policy adopted by Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Columbia River hydropower biological opinion (BiOp) is issued by federal agencies.



The federal government adopts the Northwest Forest Plan.

A federal court rejects the 1993 BiOp.



The federal government initiates overhaul of the way the federal power system is to be operated on the Columbia River.



Department of Natural Resources adopts a Habitat Conservation Plan for 1.4 million acres of state-owned forestland.


Governor Locke brings together the state agencies that most affect salmon management in a forum called the Joint Natural Resources Cabinet.

The federal government lists Snake River steelhead as threatened and Upper Columbia steelhead as endangered.


Governor Locke and Canadian Fisheries and Ocean Minister Anderson reach agreement to reduce fisheries.

The Legislature establishes the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

The Independent Science Panel is appointed by the Governor from recommendations by the American Fisheries Society.

Watershed Planning Units are created by the Legislature.

Lead Entities are also established by the Legislature.

The Forests and Fish Agreement is signed.

Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board is established by the Legislature in Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties.

Federal government lists Lower Columbia River steelhead, and Upper Columbia, Northeast Washington, Lower Columbia, and Snake River bull trout as threatened.


Locke/Anderson re-negotiate the landmark Pacific Salmon Treaty, providing a federal fund from which salmon restoration activities are to be paid.

The Forests and Fish Agreement becomes state law.

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board is established by the Legislature.

The Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon: Extinction is Not an Option is completed.

Washington, Oregon, four Columbia River Treaty Tribes, and the federal government sign the Columbia River Accord.

Federal government lists Puget Sound Chinook, Hood Canal summer chum, Washington Coastal Lake Ozette sockeye, Lower Columbia River Chinook, Lower Columbia River chum, and Middle Columbia River steelhead as threatened. In addition, Upper Columbia spring Chinook is listed as endangered.

ESA listings of Chinook, coho, chum, and steelhead stocks in Washington now cover over 75% of the state.


Congress creates a federal hatchery reform initiative and establishes an independent Hatchery Scientific Review Group.

National Marine Fisheries Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service re-issue Biological Opinions for Federal Columbia River Power System operations.

The first State Agency Action Plan, a biennial implementation plan for the Statewide Strategy, is published.

The state’s performance management system—Salmon Recovery Scorecard—is published.

The first State of Salmon Report is published.


The Legislature mandates development of a Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy and action plan for watershed health with a focus on salmon recovery.

2002 Recovery Plan Model is published.


State of Salmon Report, the 2001-2003 State Agency Action Plan, and the 1999-2001 Action Plan Accomplishments are released.

The Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy is developed for consideration by the Governor and Legislature.


Regional Salmon Recovery Organizations receive funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to develop salmon recovery plans for listed salmon. These groups, working closely with local citizens, are the only organizations developing recovery plans for the purposes of the Endangered Species Act.

A federal judge hands back the 2000 Biological Opinion on operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System for salmon and steelhead to NOAA Fisheries. The federal agency was told to resolve several deficiencies, including reliance on federal mitigation actions that have not undergone section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act, and reliance on range-wide off-site non-federal mitigation actions that are not reasonably certain to occur.

The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office produces the 2003-2005 State Agency Action Plan, the third biennial implementation plan for the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon.


The Governor signs Executive Order 04-03, creating the Governor’s Forum on Monitoring. This Order establishes a coordinating body for monitoring salmon recovery and watershed health.

All Washington sub-basins submit their draft Fish and Wildlife Sub-basin Plans to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council on time. Collectively, the plans represent the largest compilation of data on fish, wildlife and environmental conditions ever in the Columbia River Basin.

The federal government issues a Draft Hatchery Policy, indicating how hatchery fish will be considered in salmon recovery, and revises its Status Reviews for listed fish in Washington. They propose to down list Upper Columbia steelhead from endangered to threatened, and list Lower Columbia coho for the first time as threatened. All other listings in Washington are proposed to remain as previously listed.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves a 50-year Mid-Columbia Habitat Conservation Plan as part of the relicensing process for three mid-Columbia dams.

The Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board completes the first regional salmon recovery plan in Washington.

The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office publishes the 2004 State of Salmon in Watersheds Report.


Draft recovery plans are completed and delivered to NOAA-Fisheries for Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Middle Columbia, Upper Columbia, and Snake River Regions.

NOAA-Fisheries lists Lower Columbia coho as a threatened species, and down-lists Upper Columbia steelhead from endangered to threatened.


NOAA-Fisheries adopts the Lower Columbia recovery plan, stating they were “...committing to implement the actions in the Interim Plan and supplement...work cooperatively on implementation...and encourage other Federal agencies to implement actions...”

NOAA-Fisheries places notices in the federal register of intent to adopt interim recovery plans from all Washington salmon recovery regional organizations.

A Habitat Conservation Plan for 1.6 million acres of forested state trust lands —mostly in Western Washington—in the range of the northern spotted owl is adopted by the federal government. This 70-year management plan is an agreement between DNR and federal agencies under the Endangered Species Act to guarantee that habitat commitments are met, while not penalizing the occasional incidental “take” of a federally listed animal or its habitat.


NOAA-Fisheries lists Puget Sound Steelhead as threatened. Highly dependent on the quality of their habitat, this is just another indication that actions are needed to improve the freshwater and estuarine habitat in the Sound.

Governor Gregoire signs into law a measure she requested that will protect and restore Puget Sound. The bill creates the Puget Sound Partnership to oversee clean up and restoration by 2020.

NOAA-Fisheries adopts the final Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Plan for Chinook and steelhead.


New Pacific Coast-wide agreement on fishing arrangements under thePacific Salmon Treaty will result in increased returns of Chinook salmon to Washington waters. The 10-year agreement guides fishery management plans for Chinook, coho, chum, and some pink and sockeye populations from 2009-2018 in Canada, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.

NOAA-Fisheries issues a biological opinion for operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System. Although subject to legal challenge, the opinion includes significant commitments to increase survival at the federal dams and to improve tributary and estuary habitats.

Washington Coast Sustainable Salmon Partnership is formed to help address salmon recovery and preservation in the Washington Coast Region.

A proposed recovery plan for Middle Columbia River steelhead is released by NOAA-Fisheries. This plan incorporates the recovery plan—with significant updates—already adopted by the federal agency and the state of Washington for steelhead within Washington.