Staff from the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board hosted a tour of the Methow Valley for members of the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board last Wednesday (Sept. 17). Representatives from National Marine Fisheries Service out of Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., also attended, according to a recovery board press release.
The tour included visits to habitat restoration sites previously or currently funded by the funding board, as well as a tour of previous habitat investments that were recently burned in the Carlton Complex Fire on upper Beaver Creek.
Chris Johnson, president of the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation, said that “this fire represents an excellent opportunity to build on the foundation in the Upper Columbia of finding solutions that work for locals.” Johnson said his group had been facilitating crews cleaning up material from the floods in the Methow River below Twisp, and have removed more than 15,000 pounds of debris so far.
Derek Van Marter — executive director of the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board and a resident of the Methow Valley who recently lost his home in the Rising Eagle Road Fire — said that seven years into a 30-year plan, the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board estimates habitat has been improved 4 – 6 percent, towards a goal of around 15 percent habitat improvement.
The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board is reporting progress across four management sectors affecting salmon recovery: habitat, hatcheries, hydropower and harvest. The reports will be used by major decision-makers to facilitate conversations on what more can be done to improve the status of the three listed species in the region: spring Chinook, steelhead and bull trout.