Salmon and steelhead that migrate to the ocean from the Columbia River Basin use the estuary for varying amounts of time during all months of the year. The estuary’s diverse habitats provide food and refuge for juvenile salmon as they make their critical transition from fresh water to salt water. Adult salmon returning to the Columbia River also must pass through the estuary to reach spawning grounds in the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
To help salmon and steelhead in the estuary, the agencies are working to protect the remaining high-quality, off-channel habitats and wetlands by reducing invasive plants and restoring riparian and wetland areas. Breaching and lowering existing dikes and levees or installing fish passage can open up juvenile fish access to estuary habitat.
A floodplain reconnection project in the Columbia River estuary adds important new habitat for salmon on their way to the ocean.
Photo by Tony Grover, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
In 2009, the FCRPS Action Agencies entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the state of Washington and expanded funding to implement for estuary projects.