Conservation Corner – ICYMI

Jim’s Summer Steelhead on the Deschutes

The Semi-Good News and the Definitely Bad News

If you subscribe to The Conservation Angler’s Newsletter, you may have seen a smattering of good news on the legislative front. Slow progress is occurring with streamflow and hatchery reform. Columbia River steelhead returns improved in 2023 but the overall picture looks volatile according to TCA Executive Director and FCO member, David Moskowitz. Check out his detailed comments to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission here.

Avid steelheader on the North Umpqua (several years ago), photo by Karl Konecny

The Sad and Horribly Bad on the North Umpqua

The fish and lamprey of the North Umpqua just can’t get a break. After the Archie Creek fire scorched huge swathes of the river’s corridor, you would hope that humans would do everything to help the river and its creatures heal. But another disaster hit this summer when renovations to Winchester Dam decimated tens of thousands of Pacific lamprey and blocked anadromous fish migration for a critical month. The Steamboaters and Native Fish Society are among the groups pressing state agencies to hold Winchester Water Control District and ODFW accountable for this tragedy. The summer steelhead returns for the past three years have been the lowest since records have been collected. According to ODFW projections, this year’s returns will be just 50% of the critical abundance level. It is simply heartbreaking to watch the iconic summer run potentially slide past the point of no return.

Conservation News Needed

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