If we are to enjoy wild salmon and free-flowing rivers in the future, we must take steps today to protect this region's remaining healthy wild salmon runs.
North America Program
North America is undergoing an unprecedented growth in our human population, while climate change threatens to further reduce the quality and quantity of water that supports salmon. It is important to protect the most resilient strongholds in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Canada before they begin a precipitous decline. It is less expensive to protect these populations now than it will be to allow them to decline and then attempt to restore them. Moreover, if we do not protect these remaining wild systems now, we will lose the seed sources to repopulate other areas where salmon are declining.
The range of Pacific salmon crosses national boundaries and countless watersheds. Each salmon river has a different mix of government agencies, businesses, landowners, native peoples and nonprofit groups that have a vested interest in its management. The key to navigating this complex political and geographic landscape is to build partnerships around a shared vision for wild salmon. Through partnerships we can accelerate the protection and restoration of our healthiest rivers and core centers of wild salmon abundance and genetic diversity.
The Salmon Stronghold Initiative
In addition to our place based work, WSC is also leading a broader effort to conserve strongholds from Alaska to California through our Salmon Stronghold Initiative.¬† The Initiative is intended to complement ongoing salmon recovery efforts by scientifically identifying and formally recognizing a portfolio of watersheds that support "wild, diverse, and abundant" populations that make the greatest contribution towards regional conservation targets.¬† As strongholds are identified, the Initiative seeks to increase the resources available for their conservation by integrating "the stronghold approach" into new and existing state and federal programs.¬† Key elements in this effort include our development of state-based stronghold partnerships, support for the Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act and management of the North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership.
WSC Focus Areas
From Cape Flattery to the mouth of the Columbia River, WSC is partnering with community leaders and regional partners to build conservation capacity, advance wild salmon policies, and protect vital habitats in salmon strongholds across four million acres of Washington's coast.
With the largest expanse of unprotected, contiguous rainforest in the lower 48 states - the Oregon North Coast is an important opportunity to preserve healthy salmon habitat.
Alaska's 60,000 miles of coastline and hundreds of salmon streams support thriving aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and represent North America's most abundant and productive wild salmon fisheries. The Bristol Bay basin alone produces more than half of the world's wild sockeye salmon. But these extraordinary wild salmon populations are at risk. A comprehensive report by Wild Salmon Center and Trout Unlimited describes the dangers of the Pebble Mine project--a proposed copper/gold/molybdenum mine--to Bristol Bay’s wild salmon runs and the communities and economies they support.