In Washington, thousands of people and many organizations are working to recover salmon. The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office is responsible for developing the state’s strategy to guide those efforts and tracking progress.

Statewide Salmon Recovery Strategy

The first Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon: Extinction is not an option and its executive summary were written in 1999, and did much to bring people together to try to save this iconic species. The plan was updated in 2006, Statewide Strategy to Recovery Salmon: The Washington Way, and again in 2021.

The updated salmon strategy calls for the following actions:

  • Protect and restore vital salmon habitat.
  • Invest in clean water infrastructure for salmon and people.
  • Correct fish passage barriers and restore salmon access to historical habitat.
  • Build climate resiliency.
  • Align harvest, hatcheries, and hydropower with salmon recovery.
  • Address predation and food web issues for salmon.
  • Enhance commitments and coordination across agencies and programs.
  • Strengthen science, monitoring, and accountability.

Tracking Progress

The Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office contracts with seven regional organizations and twenty-five watershed-based organizations called lead entities to help implement the salmon recovery strategy.

Every two years, the office produces a report to the Legislature that summaries the work and the status of salmon populations.

Salmon Recovery Data

These additional resources provide more information on the state’s progress on salmon recovery.

  • Salmon Recovery Portal (website and database of planned and future salmon recovery projects)
  • Salmon Conservation Reporting Engine (database on the status of salmon)
  • StreamNet (fish data in the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on the Columbia River basin)
  • SalmonScape (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s interactive mapping application that merges fish and habitat data collected by state, federal, tribal, and local biologists and presents it in an integrated system The data sources include stream specific fish and habitat data, and information about stock status and recovery evaluations. The site also offers an environmental education tool for middle school and high school students.

About the Office

Established by the Legislature, through the Salmon Recovery Planning Act, the office has a small staff, managed by RCO. In addition to developing the state strategy and tracking its implementation, the office does the following:

  • Helps develop and implement regional recovery plans.
  • Secures funding for local, regional, and state recovery efforts.
  • Prepares the biennial State of Salmon in Watersheds report and website to the Legislature.
  • Advises the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.