The work of Wild Fish Conservancy stands on a foundation of scientific research and objective reporting to support the conservation and recovery of the Northwest’s wild-fish ecosystems. A guiding principle of our scientific programs is that first-hand information about where fish live and how they use their habitat can, within the framework of existing resource management laws, lead to significant improvements in aquatic ecosystem protection. We use primary data from our field studies throughout the region as a platform for advocacy and public education, and to improve basic understanding of the natural and anthropogenic processes influencing the health of wild fish populations.
We conduct research and monitoring projects in rivers, on lakes, and in near-shore marine habitats, at sites heavily impacted by human activity and in pristine areas untouched by development. We document the abundance and diversity of targeted species, their behavioral patterns, and geographic distribution. We study salmon spawning activity, fish passage at road crossings, water diversions, and agricultural pump facilities, and interactions between wild and hatchery fish. Underwater videography is an integral component of many of our research and monitoring projects.
Ecological Process Restoration
A major focus of the region's wild-fish recovery effort has been habitat
restoration. However, habitat restoration is a broad term, and approaches to it have varied widely. In fact, many habitat restoration initiatives throughout the region have been of questionable value. Wild Fish Conservancy develops and implements ecological process restoration initiatives, intended to recover important ecosystem functions, to recreate dynamic and self-maintaining habitat systems, and to serve as models for similar efforts throughout the region. Wild Fish Conservancy has developed projects involving stream channel naturalizations, riparian plantings, passage-barrier removals, Engineered Log Jam installations, and levee set-backs and removals, designed to benefit wild fish and affected landowners.
Read more about our past, ongoing, and pending ecological process restoration projects.
A critical goal of our science programs is ecosystem protection. While it is important to develop effective restoration strategies to reclaim degraded habitat processes, wild-fish conservation and recovery is most effectively and efficiently achieved by preventing existing habitats from being damaged in the first place. Wild Fish Conservancy's most important tool for achieving this goal is water typing, the mapping of fish presence and habitat characteristics to correct the misclassification of fish-bearing stream reaches and thereby protect potentially important fish habitats from unwarranted development
Read reports and view interactive maps from Wild Fish Conservancy water-typing projects.