The Squaxin Island Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish teamed up this past June to release thousands of coho fry into Spurgeon Creek a tributary of the Deschutes River.
The Deschutes River system used to have a robust run of naturally spawning coho. This ended in the late 1980’s due to habitat degradation in coho spawning areas and decreases in marine survival along the entire west coast. Coho salmon generally spend 1.5 years in freshwater and 1.5 years in the ocean. This makes them especially vulnerable to changes in stream habitat and ocean conditions.
Coho salmon return to the stream they were born after three years. This means that a run of coho is made up of three different year classes or cohorts. In the late 1980’s one of these cohorts was considered essentially extinct because it was not producing enough fish to maintain the population. Starting in the mid 1990’s a second cohort also became functionally extinct.
Yearly plantings of juvenile coho will likely continue while in-river restoration and conservation projects are implemented and studies on the impacts of ocean conditions such as the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project continue.
Return of adult coho to the Deschutes River 1980-2014: