National Wildlife Week: Salmon Free in the Heart of Portland

Oregon’s two largest spring Chinook salmon runs, located in the Columbia and Willamette rivers, connect in the city of Portland.Chinook salmon, a keystone species, are a source of great economic, ecological, and recreational value to Portlanders.

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders (ANWS), the Oregon affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, works to conserve and protect Portland’s salmon populations and other wildlife through community education and outreach as well as policy action. Chinook salmon are currently threatened by development, over-fishing, and habitat loss.

Fishing in Portland
Fishing in Portland. Photo courtesy of Skylen Freet
“To have the opportunity to catch and keep salmon that swim right through the heart of Portland is something Oregonians have worked very hard to accomplish,” says Northwest Steelheaders executive director Bob Rees. “After decades of work, we have the water quality and habitat requirements that allow for this unique opportunity that we hope future generations will also get to enjoy.”

Through programs such as Eggs to Fry, where students gain a hands-on learning experience raising salmon or trout in the classroom, Northwest Steelheaders teach about the importance of maintaining healthy waters, sustainable hatcheries and habitat for salmon and other key fish in Portland.

Related: How to Get Kids Hooked on Fishing and Create Future Conservationists

In addition to engaging local communities in programs to connect with their local aquatic wildlife, habitat issues such as coal export terminals are critical issues tackled by ANWS, who successfully saw a recent coal terminal proposal rejected in 2014.

Portland was recently named one of the Top 10 Cities for Wildlife as part of the National Wildlife Week 2015 celebration. Did your city make the grade?