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Protecting Oregon Coast Spring Chinook

Published April 9th, 2021 in Conservation, News, Restoration

NFS and Partners Crank Up The Heat To Protect Oregon Coast Spring Chinook

Native Fish Society, along with our co-petitioners at the Center for Biological Diversity and Umpqua Watersheds, have filed a notice of our intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service to force the agency to decide whether Oregon coast Spring-run Chinook Salmon warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Our initial petition request was filed in September of 2019, and the agency has failed to make a determination within the one-year timeline required under the Endangered Species Act. The decision has been overdue since last September, and a timely determination is increasingly urgent as remaining runs continue to face the many factors that have contributed to sustained declines.

Spring-run Chinook, also known as Springers, are genetically distinct from and have much smaller population sizes than fall-run Chinook. To date, spring- and fall-run Chinook are managed as one population, and the much higher number of fall-run Chinook has masked the decline of spring-run fish.

Spring-run Chinook are prized by indigenous people and anglers for their higher fat content and unique run timing. Meanwhile, the fact that the Springers enter rivers much earlier and spawn higher in watersheds than fall-run Chinook populations make them more resilient to climate change. But poor management has led to the decline of these iconic fish. In order to save what remains of Oregon Coast Spring-run Chinook, we need to manage them for their distinct life-history needs. This is why Native Fish Society and our partners are advocating to list these fish as soon as possible so that they have the protection they need under the Endangered Species Act.

Read our Press Release below to learn more about these efforts.

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