Despite over a century of natural resource exploitation in Oregon and Washington, the Pacific Northwest still offers some of the world’s best river corridors for wild salmon. In Oregon, WSC is conserving a remarkable network of stronghold rivers by balancing conservation and logging interests, identifying key restoration opportunities, and ensuring salmon management plans make wild fish a priority. In coastal Washington State, WSC recently collaborated with tribes, state agencies, local governments, and conservation partners to create the first unified plan to conserve wild salmon populations in the region. We’re also working to remove defunct river culverts and reconnect fish with over 150 miles of cold water spawning grounds—vital to salmon survival as river temperatures continue to rise.
Since 2010, WSC has been collaborating with partners in California to identify and implement proactive, science-based efforts to conserve the state's last remaining strongholds for wild salmon and steelhead – including the Smith, Salmon, Klamath, Mattole, Eel, middle Sacramento, Big Sur, and Santa Clara rivers. Given California's longstanding issues around freshwater scarcity, WSC is working to drive more public resources to the conservation of key strongholds to ensure these river systems can continue to sustain wild fish over time.
Known as “America’s fish basket,” Alaska is one of the most important wild salmon strongholds left on the planet. Its 60,000 miles of coastline and tens of thousands of rivers, streams, and lakes sustain Alaska’s world-class salmon runs. The Bristol Bay region – including the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers – supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and over 14,000 jobs. WSC is working to safeguard Alaska’s extraordinary wild salmon fisheries from ill-planned development projects, including the proposed Pebble Mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
British Columbia boasts some of the wildest and most productive watersheds in North America. In particular the undammed Skeena River — one of the world’s most prolific wild salmon and steelhead corridors — supports a thriving fishery and local First Nations communities. WSC is working with its partners to secure long-term protections for the greater Skeena watershed, and in particular the vital juvenile salmon and steelhead habitat found in the Skeena estuary. WSC recently expanded its efforts in British Columbia by forming the Babine Partnership, a joint initiative with the Babine River Foundation to safeguard this stronghold river's wild salmon and steelhead, and also launched a new organization called the Coastal Rivers Conservancy focused on long-term protections for wild fish on the inner BC coast — including the iconic Dean River.
The Russian Far East’s extraordinary watersheds produce nearly 40% of the world’s Pacific salmon, support a number of native communities, and sustain populations of endangered species like Siberian tigers and Steller’s sea eagles. Here, WSC’s goals include the designation of Protected Areas in key watersheds, building public education and awareness around salmon conservation, and the development of sustainable, ecotourism-focused fishing practices.