Portland, Ore. – Record returns of coho salmon to the middle and upper Columbia River this year signal the comeback of fish that 20 years ago were virtually extinct in upriver tributaries.
Reintroduction programs led by the Yakama Nation and funded in part by the Bonneville Power Administration combined with restored habitat, improved dam passage and positive ocean conditions to bring unrivaled numbers of coho back to the rivers and streams, according to recently concluded annual counts.
Ten years ago, 12 adult coho returned past Rock Island Dam near Wenatchee, Wash. This year, 19,805 passed the dam. Returns past McNary Dam near Hermiston, Ore., climbed from 4,736 coho a decade ago to 33,385 this year – by far the most since counting began at the dam in 1954.