Participants engage in a discussion during the South Fork Eel River SHaRP process. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

New Strategy Applies Local Knowledge and Science to Salmon and Steelhead Recovery in Northern California

Jun 1, 2021 at 8:00am


Salmon and steelhead in Northern California have been in trouble for more than 100 years, primarily because of habitat damage and loss resulting from human activities. Climate change has only worsened these habitat problems. For the last 50 years, communities have worked to restore this habitat in hopes of reversing the fortunes of these fish. Scientists and local restoration communities are seeking new ways to maximize the benefits of habitat restoration so that rivers and streams can support healthy fish populations again.

One new approach to maximize these benefits is the Salmonid Habitat Restoration Priorities (SHaRP) process. The process creates a strategy to rebuild salmon and steelhead within a watershed by focusing on restoring its healthier, less impaired areas. Scientists expect that improved fish survival and reproduction in these restored areas will enable faster recolonization of the more degraded areas.

“The SHaRP process builds upon existing recovery plans and identifies very specific actions to create real wins for declining species. This approach to conservation offers the restoration community a seat at the table to design a near-term recovery strategy to maximize restoration impacts for their watershed,” said Barry Thom, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Regional Administrator.

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