The Umatilla River subbasin has diverse populations of fish and wildlife that are of economic and ecological significance to the people of the State of Oregon, the Northwest and of special cultural significance to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and other treaty tribes. The general goal is to restore the health and function of the Umatilla River ecosystem to ensure continued viability of these important populations. Specific goals for fish and wildlife are outlined below.
Protect, enhance and restore wild and natural populations of summer steelhead, bull trout, shellfish and other indigenous fish in the Umatilla Basin.
Reestablish runs of extirpated spring chinook, fall chinook, coho salmon and Pacific lamprey into the Umatilla River Basin.
Provide sustainable ceremonial, subsistence, and recreational fisheries and non-consumptive fish benefits such as cultural and ecological values.
Maintain genetic and other biological characteristics of indigenous populations and genetic viability of reintroduced populations.
With the exception of adding Pacific lamprey, shellfish, and non-consumptive fish benefits, the above Umatilla Basin fish goals basically are taken from previous planning documents (Boyce, 1986. A Comprehensive Plan for Rehabilitation of Anadromous Fish Stocks in the Umatilla River Basin ; NWPPC, 1990. Columbia Basin System Planning – Umatilla River Subbasin Plan ; CTUIR & ODFW, 1990. Umatilla Hatchery Master Plan ; CBFWA, 1999. FY 2000 Draft Annual Implementation Work Plan).
Reestablish and maintain an average run of 8,000 spring chinook to the Umatilla River mouth by the year 2010 (see Table 55).
Reestablish and maintain an average run of 12,000 fall chinook to the Umatilla River mouth by the year 2020 (see Table 55).
Reestablish and maintain an average run of 6,000 coho to the Umatilla River mouth by the year 2010 (see Table 55).
Achieve and maintain an average run of 5,500 summer steelhead to the Umatilla River mouth by the year 2010 (see Table 55).
Achieve and maintain self-sustaining populations and fisheries of Pacific lamprey, bull trout and other indigenous fishes in the subbasin by the year 2010.
Table 55. Umatilla River Production Objectives and Fish Disposition.
Returned to Umatilla Mouth
Disposition of Returns
To be determined
1 Broodstock level for interim program, see discussion below programs and plans have created a reduction in broodstock needs from 1,200 to 1,000.
The above fish natural production, broodstock, and harvest objectives came from the listed planning documents. Initial numbers were developed based on the best available (but limited) fish production information during previous planning efforts. Since that time, information on adult fish return success, habitat utilization and harvest has allowed fish managers to better identify more reasonable or accurate expectations in meeting numeric targets. General rationale for adjustments in Umatilla adult return and disposition targets by species follow.
For spring chinook, the overall return target was reduced from 11,000 to 8,000 to reflect more reasonable and attainable smolt-to-adult return rates. The natural production levels observed in some years prompted an increase from 1,000 to 2,000. Observation of actual harvest levels led to an adjustment in the harvest from 10,000 to 4,000. Modifications in artificial production programs and plans have created a reduction in broodstock needs from 1,200 to 1,000.
Smolt-to-adult returns for the fall chinook have been the least successful for Umatilla Basin hatchery programs. For this reason, smolt release levels and adult return targets have been reduced (from 21,000 to 12,000). More knowledge on utilization of spawning habitats has led to a natural production adjustment from 12,000 to 6,000. Actual harvest levels observed have prompted a harvest target reduction from about 7,000 to 5,000. Major reductions in smolt production have created reduced broodstock needs (1,000 is the current interim need pending success of ongoing production actions).
Coho return and utilization targets have remained unchanged since previous planning efforts. Evaluation and monitoring is ongoing to better define coho habitat utilization and harvest potential.
Steelhead production was reduced from the Umatilla Master Plan level in the early 1990’s due to density related poor smolt condition. This reduction and observed SARs and harvest levels has led managers to reduce the overall adult return target from 9,670 to 5,500.
Strategies (not in order of priority)
Protect, enhance and restore indigenous fish including federal and state threatened and sensitive fish species in the subbasin.
Action 1.1 Provide protection for federal and state threatened and sensitive fish species in all resource management plans.
Action 1.2 Enforce existing Federal, Tribal, State and local land and water use regulations designed to protect fish habitats.
Action 1.3 Increase enforcement of laws and fishing regulations pertaining to illegal take of fish (all life stages).
Protect, enhance or restore water quality to improve the survival, abundance and distribution of indigenous resident and anadromous fish.
Action 2.1 Reduce stream temperatures by restoring or enhancing riparian vegetation, floodplain function and increasing hyporehic and instream flows.
Action 2.2 Increase water quality monitoring and enforcement of existing regulations to maintain or enhance water quality. Use U.S. Clean Water Act, Section 401, Oregon Forest Practices Act to protect and restore water quality and fish habitat.
Action 2.3 Implement and enforce provisions of the Umatilla River Agricultural Water Quality Management Plan.
Action 2.4 Implement provisions of the Umatilla River Basin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Water Quality Management Plan.
Action 2.5 Support timely updates and resource inventories related to local land use plans to prevent further development and degradation of floodplains, wetlands, riparian and other sensitive areas.
Action 2.6 Properly maintain, relocate or eliminate forest, public and private roads in riparian or other sensitive areas.
Action 2.7 Implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and other pertinent State, Tribal and local programs along riparian zones and in other sensitive areas.
Action 2.8 Use existing cooperative or regulatory programs to reduce sediment delivery to stream channels from roads, agriculture, logging, and other land use activities.
Action 2.9 Monitor and evaluate efforts to improve water quality and utilize data to assist in management decisions.
Protect, enhance or restore instream and riparian habitat to improve the survival, abundance and distribution of indigenous resident and anadromous fish.
Action 3.1 Enforce Federal, Tribal, State and local land use regulations designed to protect fish habitats.
Action 3.2 In the short term, plant native vegetation, construct pools and place large woody debris in streams to provide adequate pools and cover for fish. Maintain operation and maintenance of projects already in place.
Action 3.3 Over the long term, implement improvements to stream geomorphic features (sinuosity, width/depth ratio, pool frequency, depth and dimension, entrenchment, etc.) that will result in benefits to fish habitat quantity and quality.
Action 3.4 Over the long term, restore riparian vegetation and adjacent valley bottom and upland vegetation to result in the natural long term recruitment of large woody debris into streams.
Action 3.5 Implement provisions of the Umatilla River Basin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Water Quality Management Plan.
Action 3.6 Reduce sediment deposition in area streams by reducing erosion and sediment delivery to waterways.
Action 3.7 Improve watershed conditions to reduce human-induced increases of flood peak flows and duration to reduce instream substrate scour, deposition or movement.
Action 3.8 Improve floodplain function to improve stream channel stability, hyporehic flows and instream habitat diversity.
Action 3.9 Improve or eliminate stream fords and other substrate disturbances.
Action 3.10 Protect critical habitat to improve production and survival of indigenous fish. Continue to refine delineation of stronghold areas.
Action 3.11 Monitor and evaluate efforts to protect, enhance and restore instream and riparian habitats.
Protect, enhance and restore instream flows to improve passage conditions and increase rearing potential for anadromous and resident fishes in the Umatilla River Basin.
Action 4.1 Continue operations and maintenance of the Umatilla Basin Water Exchange Project for instream flow enhancement.
Action 4.2 Continue and build upon instream flow enhancement measures in the mainstem Umatilla River to improve passage for upstream and downstream migrant resident and anadromous salmonids and lamprey in the subbasin.
Action 4.3 Increase monitoring of water use and instream flows. Use collaborative efforts or enforcement of existing regulations and water rights to maintain or enhance available instream water.
Action 4.4 Increase instream flows by lease and/or purchase of water rights.
Action 4.5 Increase instream flows by improving the efficiency of irrigation systems and use of conserved water for instream use.
Action 4.6 Modify state water law to allow water users to more easily transfer water for instream use and to provide adequate protection (i.e. junior water rights, critical reaches)
Action 4.7 Continue trap and haul and salvage operations when necessary during low flow periods.
Action 4.8 Continue to refine knowledge of flow limited stream reaches and results of enhancement efforts to address remaining needs.
Improve fish passage conditions at all human-made passage impediments for resident and anadromous upstream and downstream migrants.
Action 5.1 Implement screening of all diversions (pump and gravity) to meet state and NMFS criteria.
Action 5.2 Modify or remove culverts, bridges, grade controls and water diversion structures as necessary to improve fish passage.
Action 5.3 Operate and maintain all fish passage facilities to ensure proper mechanical function.
Action 5.4 Monitor river conditions and operation of passage facilities to ensure that adequate passage exists and implement adjustments as necessary to ensure efficient passage.
Action 5.5 Where feasible, consolidate diversions to reduce the number of artificial passage situations leading to fish mortality.
Action 5.6 Continue trap and haul and salvage operations when necessary during low flow periods.
Action 5.7 Implement screening of all diversions (pump and gravity) to meet state and NMFS criteria. Achieve compliance with state screening and passage laws.
Action 5.8 Enforce state and federal fish passage regulations and requirements
Continue to supplement the recently reintroduced spring chinook population with a hatchery program consisting of Carson stock to provide natural production and harvest.
Action 6.1 Continue releasing 710,000 spring chinook smolts from acclimation facilities into historic spring chinook habitat in the upper Umatilla River Basin to achieve a portion of spring chinook objectives.
Action 6.2 Release an additional 515,000 spring chinook smolts from acclimation facilities into historic spring chinook habitat in the upper Umatilla River Basin to achieve the remainder of the spring chinook objectives.
Continue to supplement the recently reintroduced fall chinook population with a hatchery program consisting of upriver bright stock obtained from returns to the Umatilla River and/or returns to Priest Rapids Hatchery.
Action 7.1 Continue the interim program of releasing 480,000 age 1+ and 600,000 age 0+ fall chinook smolts from acclimation facilities into historic fall chinook habitat in the mid Umatilla River Basin.
Action 7.2 Assess monitoring and evaluation results to determine appropriate program changes to achieve objectives.
Continue to supplement the recently reintroduced coho salmon population with a hatchery program consisting of early run stock obtained from returns to the Umatilla River and/or returns to the Bonneville Hatchery.
Action 8.1 Continue releasing 1.5 million coho smolts from acclimation facilities into historic coho salmon habitat in the mid Umatilla River Basin.
Supplement the indigenous summer steelhead population with a hatchery program consisting of local broodstock to enhance natural production and provide harvest opportunities.
Action 9.1 Continue releasing 150,000 steelhead smolts from acclimation facilities into historic steelhead habitat in the mid-to-upper Umatilla River Basin.
Action 9.2 Design and implement a comprehensive study to assess whether supplementation activities in the subbasin have been effective in rebuilding natural steelhead while maintaining their genetic structure and long-term viability.
Develop and implement a Pacific lamprey restoration plan for the Umatilla Basin
Action 10.1 Continue outplanting of adults as detailed in the Umatilla River Basin Pacific Lamprey Restoration Plan (CTUIR 1999).
Action 10.2 Determine reproductive success of adult outplants.
Action 10.3 Monitor for increases in larval abundance, juvenile outmigration and adult returns.
Action 10.4 Assess artificial propagation techniques for potential application in the Umatilla and/or other subbasins.
Action 10.5 Continue genetic assessment of lamprey populations among and within the Umatilla and selected Columbia River subbasins.
Monitor genetic characteristics of salmonid populations.
Action 11.1 Continue baseline genetic monitoring and evaluation of indigenous populations in the subbasin.
Action 11.2 Initiate baseline genetic monitoring and evaluation of reintroduced populations in the subbasin.
Implement artificial propagation practices to maintain genetic and biological integrity of supplemented stocks.
Action 12.1 Utilize IHOT genetics guidelines for broodstock selection, mating and rearing.
Action 12.2 When fish health and disease issues are identified, take appropriate remedial actions to maximize survival of affected fish and prevent spread to other natural and hatchery fish.
Monitor and evaluate Umatilla hatchery programs to ensure they are successful and minimize adverse effects on listed or other indigenous species.
Action 13.1 Complete evaluation of fall and spring chinook salmon performance reared in Michigan (MI) and Oregon (OR) raceways.
Action 13.2 Evaluate performance of yearling spring chinook salmon reared at various stations and released in the Umatilla River.
Action 13.3 Complete evaluation of fall chinook salmon performance reared at three densities in MI raceways.
Action 13.4 Evaluate juvenile migration performance of fall chinook salmon released in varying locations in the Umatilla River.
Action 13.5 Evaluate performance of yearling and subyearling fall chinook releases in the Umatilla River.
Action 13.6 Determine and compare straying of fall chinook salmon into the Snake and upper Columbia rivers for all groups released in the Umatilla River.
Action 13.7 Monitor performance of summer steelhead reared in MI raceways.
Action 13.8 Monitor recreational and tribal fisheries in the Umatilla River.
Action 13.9 Monitor and evaluate the health and disease status of adults and juveniles for all Umatilla hatchery programs.
Monitor and evaluate the productivity, abundance, distribution, life history and biological characteristics of anadromous and resident fish and relationship with instream and riparian habitat conditions within the Umatilla River Basin to assess the success of management strategies.
Action 14.1 Continue monitoring adult returns of all fish species at the Three Mile Dam passage/trapping facility.
Action 14.2 Conduct redd and carcass surveys to monitor adult salmonid spawning escapement.
Action 14.3 Evaluate juvenile anadromous smolt production, survival and migration timing by operating smolt collection facilities as necessary.
Action 14.4 Evaluate natural reproductive success of hatchery supplemented steelhead
Action 14.5 Continue to investigate the migratory behavior of bull trout using radio telemetry.
Action 14.6 Conduct biological surveys to monitor and evaluate anadromous and resident fish distribution, abundance, condition, habitat use, life history, etc.
Action 14.7 Monitor the interaction of hatchery fish with wild fish on the spawning grounds.
Action 14.8 Measure the quantity and quality of fish habitat in the basin.
Action 14.9 If above monitoring indicates resident fish populations are being altered or impacted, develop enhancement plans or approaches as necessary.
Conduct initial investigations and develop a restoration plan for freshwater shellfish in the Umatilla River Basin (CTUIR).
Action 15.1 Conduct qualitative and quantitative surveys to assess shellfish
Action 15.2 Survey genetic variation within and among Umatilla and selected Columbia River subbasins.
Action 15.3 Determine macrohabitat and physiochemical factors controlling distribution and abundance of shellfish.
Action 15.4 Determine the role of fish communities controlling distribution and abundance of shellfish.
Action 15.5 Develop recovery plan for shellfish in the Umatilla Basin.
Improve out-of-basin survival of migratory fish to increase juvenile and adult returns to the Umatilla Basin (specific details in mainstem summaries).
Action 16.1 Implement or support projects to reduce mortality related to Columbia River fish passage, water quality, predation and estuary conditions.
Action 16.2 Enforce state and federal fish passage requirements and water quality standards in the mainstem Columbia River.
Action 16.3 Conduct monitoring of migratory fish to determine survival rates, timing and distribution outside the basin.
Achieve and sustain levels of species productivity to mitigate for wildlife and wildlife habitat losses caused by the development and operation of the hydropower system (NWPPC 1995).
Maintain wildlife diversity by protecting and enhancing populations and habitats of native wildlife at self-sustaining levels throughout natural geographic ranges (Puchy and Marshal 1993).
Restore and maintain self-sustaining populations of species extirpated from the state or regions within the state, consistent with habitat availability, public acceptance, and other uses of the lands and waters of the state (Puchy and Marshal 1993).
Monitor the status of wildlife populations as needed for appraising the need for management actions, the results of actions, and for evaluating habitat and other environmental changes (Puchy and Marshal 1993).
Provide recreational, educational, aesthetic, scientific, economic and cultural benefits derived from Oregon’s diversity of wildlife (Puchy and Marshal 1993).
Ensure long-term maintenance of healthy populations of native landbirds (Altman and Holmes 2000a, 2000b)
Identify, establish standards, and implement management measures required for restoring threatened and endangered species, preventing sensitive species from having to be listed as threatened or endangered, and maintaining or enhancing other species requiring special attention (Puchy and Marshal 1993).
Reintroduce species or populations where they have been extirpated (Puchy and Marshal 1993)
Restore and maintain late seral ponderosa pine habitat
Increase heterogeneity in species composition and structural stage
Increase snag and down wood density
Restore fire as an ecological process
Design vegetative management strategies consistent with historical succession and disturbance regimes
Increase the abundance of shade-intolerant species such as western larch
Shrub Steppe Habitat
Acquire high quality privately owned shrub steppe habitats and move them to protected status (Kagan et al. 2000)
Protect and enhance remaining shrub steppe habitats
Initiate actions to enhance size and connectivity of existing quality shrub steppe patches (i.e., reduce fragmentation)
Institutionalize a policy of “no net loss” of shrub-steppe habitat (i.e., discourage loss and conversion of habitat, but when unavoidable, mitigate with equal or greater restoration efforts)
Minimize further degradation of shrub steppe habitat (e.g., reduce, eliminate or improve livestock grazing practices)
Maintain cryptogamic crusts where they occur, and seek ecologically appropriate sites for restoration to ensure proper functioning native plant communities
Maintain sites dominated by native vegetation and initiate actions to prevent infestations of exotic vegetation
Improve habitat for grassland-associated wildlife species by managing non-native grasslands (e.g. agricultural lands, inactive grasslands such as CRP and fallow fields) as suitable habitat where biologically appropriate (i.e., where viable landbird populations can be maintained).
Expand shrub steppe focal species distribution and abundance by establishing Shrub Steppe Bird Conservation Areas (SSBCAs) (Altman and Holmes 2000a, 2000b)
Implement land use practices consistent with growth of native plants and forbs
Riparian and Wetland Habitat
Protect and enhance riparian and wetland habitat
Institutionalize a policy of “no net loss” of riparian and wetland habitat (i.e., discourage loss and conversion of habitat, but when unavoidable, mitigate with equal or greater restoration efforts)
Initiate actions to increase high quality riparian and wetland habitat through restoration of degraded riparian habitat
Maintain all tracts of contiguous cottonwood gallery forest >50 acres, regardless of understory composition
Maintain multiple vegetation layers and all age classes (e.g., seedlings, saplings, mature, and decadent plants) in riparian woodlands
Initiate actions to increase size (width and length) and connectivity of existing riparian patches (i.e., reduce fragmentation) through restoration and acquisition efforts
Expand riparian focal species distribution and abundance throughout the Columbia Plateau by establishing Riparian Bird Conservation Areas (RBCAs) (Altman and Holmes 2000a, 2000b)
Leave upland buffer zones of uncultivated and unharvested areas adjacent to riparian habitats to protect the stream and increase habitat for area-sensitive bird species
Limit grazing intensity to maintain the integrity of native species composition and health
Protect and enhance remaining aspen clones
Protect and enhance remaining juniper woodlands
Maintain all snags and initiate active snag creation (e.g., fungal inoculation, topping) where snags are limiting and restoration leading to recruitment of saplings is underway
Eliminate or modify grazing to ensure succession and recruitment of young aspen
Where starling competition for nest cavities is significant, enact starling control measures
Fence aspen clones to protect regenerating aspen
Identify, retain and protect mature and old-growth juniper trees in steppe habitats
Reestablish viable populations of sharp-tailed grouse to suitable habitats in the subbasin
Move sharp-tailed grouse leking, brooding, and wintering habitats into protected status
Increase suitable sharp-tailed grouse habitats.
Reintroduce sharp-tailed grouse to suitable protected habitats in the subbasin (Crawford and Coggins 2000)
Improve habitat quality of CRP lands to make suitable for sharp-tailed grouse including incorporating abundant legumes within CRP
Use artificial leks to establish breeding sites
Reintroduce and maintain healthy bighorn sheep populations
Work with land management agencies and private individuals to minimize contact between established bighorn sheep herds and domestic or exotic sheep
Maintain geographical separation of California and Rocky Mountain subspecies
Prohibit release of bighorn sheep of questionable health status in Oregon
Maintain sufficient herd observations so as to ensure timely detection of disease and parasite problems
Monitor range condition and use along with population characteristics
Consider land purchase in order to put such land into public ownership
Determine black bear population characteristics
Determine black bear harvest levels
Maintain black bear populations at socially sustainable levels
Implement or cooperate in research to learn more about black bear ecology in Oregon, develop accurate populations estimates and provide a measurement of population trend.
Obtain improved harvest information through use of combination report card/tooth envelope.
Monitor black bear harvest and implement harvest restrictions if necessary.
Develop an educational program to alert black bear hunters of the need for improved black bear population information.
If necessary, initiate mandatory check of harvested black bear.
Continue to work with other agencies and private landowners in solving black bear depredation problems.
Explore the possibility of using sport hunters for damage control.
Continue to study cougar population characteristics as well as the impact of hunting on cougar populations
Document and attempt to eliminate potential future human-cougar conflicts
Manage cougar populations through controlled hunting seasons
Manage deer and elk populations to maintain the primary prey source for cougar
Continue to update and apply population modeling to track the overall cougar population status
Continue mandatory check of all hunter-harvested cougars and evaluate the information collected on population characteristics for use in setting harvest seasons
Continue development of a tooth aging (cementum annuli) technique
Provide information to the public about cougar distribution, management needs, behavior, etc.
Consider additional hunting seasons or increased hunter numbers in areas where human-cougar conflicts develop
Manage for lower cougar population densities in areas of high human occupancy
Continue to allow private and public landowners to take damage-causing cougar without a permit
Encourage improved livestock husbandry practices as a means of reducing cougar damage on domestic livestock
Maintain healthy populations of mule deer in the subbasin
Maintain hunter opportunity and regulate harvest
Set management objectives for buck ratio, population and fawn:doe ratio benchmark for each hunt unit and adjust as necessary
Antlerless harvest will be used to reduce populations that exceed management objectives over a two or three year period.
Harvest tag numbers are adjusted to meet or exceed objectives within 2-3 bucks/100 does.
Population trends will be measured with trend counts, number of deer damage incidents, and harvest data.
Move heavily used critical winter range to protected status, managed for optimum big game winter habitat
Maintain healthy Rocky Mountain elk populations
Maintain, enhance, and restore elk habitat
Minimize conflicts between wintering wild ungulates and commercial agricultural activities.
Enhance consumptive and non-consumptive recreational uses of Oregon’s elk resource
Protect Oregon’s wild elk from diseases, genetic degradation, and increased poaching which could result from transport and uncontrolled introduction of cervid species
Maintain populations of wild ungulates at management objectives (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1990, 1992b))
Ensure both adequate quantity and quality of forage to achieve elk population management objectives in each management unit
Ensure habitat conditions necessary to meet population management objectives on critical elk ranges
Maintain public rangeland in a condition that will allow elk populations to meet and sustain management objectives in each unit
Move heavily used critical winter range to protected status, managed for optimum big game winter habitat.
Increase forage quality and quantity in big game winter range.(ODFW Green Forage Program Guidelines)
Increase bull age structure and reduce illegal kill of bulls while maintaining recreational management objectives
Establish population models for aiding in herd or unit management decisions
Adequately inventory elk populations in all units with significant number of elk
Maintain healthy game bird populations
Provide recreational, aesthetic, educational, and cultural benefits from migratory game birds, other associated wildlife species, and their habitats
Establish an Oregon Migratory Game Bird Committee to provide management recommendations on all facets of the migratory game bird program
Use population and management objectives identified in Pacific Flyway Management Plans and Programs
Develop a statewide migratory game bird habitat acquisition, development, and enhancement plan based on flyway management plans, ODFW Regional recommendations, and other state, federal, and local agency programs
Implement a statewide migratory game bird biological monitoring program, including banding, breeding, production, migration, and wintering area surveys based on population information needs of the flyway and state
Develop a statewide program for the collection of harvest statistics
Prepare a priority plan for research needs based on flyway management programs
Annually prepare and review work plans for wildlife areas that are consistent with policies and strategies of this plan
Regulate harvest and other uses of migratory game birds at levels compatible with maintaining prescribed population levels
Eliminate impacts to endangered, threatened, or sensitive species
Provide a variety of recreational opportunities and access, including harvest and viewing opportunities
Provide assistance in resolving migratory game bird damage complaints