Wednesday August 2, 2023


Over the last four decades, federal, state and local governments have doled out roughly $9 billion to help imperiled salmon species in the Columbia River Basin. Hundreds of projects — from habitat restoration to bounty programs on other fish that prey on salmon — have taken place. 

But a new study from Oregon State University has found that all of that cash and effort has produced few discernible results. 

“For a long time, there have been questions about the effectiveness of a wide range of activities taken to try to restore salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin,” said Bill Jaeger, co-author of the study and applied economics professor at the university. “We do not find evidence of an increase in wild fish.” 

For his research, which was recently published in the academic journal PLOS One, Jaeger looked at 50 years of salmon return data from the Bonneville Dam, the lowest dam on the Columbia River.  

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