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Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon. Photo by Barrie Kovich.

This year’s total counts of chinook, sockeye, steelhead and coho at Bonneville Dam set a new record since the dam was built in 1938. New record returns also occurred in the Snake River Basin since Lower Granite Dam was built (fall chinook, coho and sockeye) with significant returns elsewhere in the Columbia River Basin. There is no doubt that the total count of nearly 2.4 million adult salmon and steelhead at Bonneville Dam was very substantial. However, this level of return still pales in comparison to the kinds of returns when the tribes signed the treaties in 1855, with annual returns to the Columbia River Basin estimated to be as high as 34 million salmon. Let’s celebrate this year’s milestone, but remember that the work of salmon recovery continues.

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