Wednesday December 1, 2021

East Oregonian

A record shattering number of coho salmon have made the long journey from their home streams to the Pacific Ocean and back.

Nearly 24,000 coho salmon have passed through Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River — the last dam between the ocean and the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers.

The prior record, set in 2014, saw 18,098 coho make their way past the Lower Granite Dam. In recent years, those numbers have fluctuated between 1,449 and 8,178, with 2020 seeing just 7,797 coho return to the Lower Granite Dam. The run this year marks more than a 300% increase from the previous year.

Part of that return could be attributed to the Nez Perce tribe’s monumental work to reintroduce coho to the Lostine River and the Clearwater Basin. In 2017, the tribe began the work to return the salmon to the Lostine River after it was bereft of the silvery fish for over 40 years.

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