Stronghold status is first step towards increased salmon protection.
In California, WSC and our partners California Trout and Trout Unlimited completed a two year project to map California’s wild salmon strongholds and identify the greatest threats to their long-term health. The assessment scored over 500 distinct wild salmon populations according to three criteria: population abundance/productivity, life history diversity, and percent natural origin (a measure of hatchery influence). The team used this information to identify one stronghold within each of the state’s six eco-regions. This eco-regional approach ensures that strongholds reflect not only areas of great abundance but also core centers of genetic diversity. This diversity is essential to buffer against climate change and other long-range threats.
The California stronghold analysis was presented to the North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership, which formally recognized the state’s stronghold map. Following a similar review by the California Fish and Game Commission in February, WSC reconvened our partners to initiate the development of the California Salmon Stronghold Portfolio. The Stronghold Portfolio will identify the highest priority strategies necessary to secure the health of California’s strongholds and describe approaches to better integrate the protection of strong salmon populations within existing institutions and programs.