Wind River Watershed Project Web Page Ready to View

Wind River Watershed Project Web Page Ready to View

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Wind River website open to the public

Four partner agencies have worked for years to track wild steelhead trout in the Wind River, to measure the population’s ups and downs, and restore the habitat that fish need to spawn and grow.  Details of that work have been made public at occasional meetings and in scientific publications, but these were not readily available to area residents.  Now, they are.The partners are announcing a new web page that is open to the public. The page is hosted right here on  the UCD website –  CLICK HERE to view it directly.

The four partner agencies are Underwood Conservation District (UCD), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), US Geological Survey (USGS) and US Forest Service (USFS).  The partners’ “Wind River Watershed Project” is funded primarily by the Bonneville Power Administration’s fish and wildlife enhancement funds.

The project includes a variety of activities whose ultimate goal is to increase the number of wild Lower Columbia River steelhead trout in the Wind River watershed. USFS and UCD work to restore the quality and quantity of stream habitats available to fish, focusing on instream barrier removal, improving stream function, increasing diversity of stream habitats, and re-establishing healthy riparian forests and water quality. . WDFW and USGS conduct steelhead research and monitoring, which includes: documenting  abundance and population trends, fish response to restoration actions, fish behavior, and  factors that may limit  fish  recovery.

The new web page includes descriptions and links further describing each partner’s work in the Wind River watershed.  “The idea with the website is to be transparent and share with community members and others who are interested what we’re doing to help this important fishery resource,” says UCD District Manager, Tova Tillinghast. “The more we can show our work to the public, the better we can all mutually understand issues affecting the watershed and Wind River steelhead.  Then we can work more effectively together toward recovery.”

The partners’ focus over the past 20 years is on the restoration of wild steelhead trout in the Wind River and its tributaries. Steelhead are ocean-going rainbow trout, which like salmon, return from the ocean as adults to spawn new generations of fish in our streams. Steelhead population numbers have fallen to a small fraction of their historical abundance throughout their original distribution, which includes portions of Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and British Columbia. In 1998, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed the steelhead of the lower Columbia River as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

The watershed – all the streams that flow into the Wind River and the surrounding land that drains to these streams – includes approximately 250 square miles, and the Wind River itself extends 31 miles to the Columbia River near the town of Carson, Washington.