Coho salmon are important indicators of the overall health of the Deschutes River, and an important cultural and economic asset of Thurston County.
What are we measuring?
Number of Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) smolts and adults.
There are 3 distinct Coho salmon runs in the Deschutes river. This is based on the 3-year life cycle of Coho salmon. 2 of the 3 runs are almost extinct. Reasons for this include: landslides destroying critical spawning habitat during winter storms, low adult returns, and high summer stream temperatures combined with low summer stream flows. Factors that contribute to higher than average Coho salmon smolt production include: high summer streamflows and mild winter streamflows.
Water quality concerns identified in the Deschutes Total Maximum Daily Load study that affect Coho salmon production include: high temperature, high pH, low dissolved oxygen, sediment, and fecal coliform.
Steps that could be taken to increase salmon production include:
Restoring key habitat to increase shading and lower stream temperatures
Addressing nutrient and fecal coliform concerns from septic systems
Increasing outreach and education for general watershed stewardship concerns
Reducing growth in sensitive areas of the watershed
Reducing clearing in areas with steep slopes that are susceptible to landslides