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Salmon and Other Fish

Native Fish and Salmon Species

The Willamette is Oregon's largest and most important river, with more than half of the state's residents living near its shores. The impacts of all these people, and their industries, have significantly impacted the basin's fish. The Willamette Basin contains about 31 known native fish species and 29 exotic or introduced species. Native fish species richness (number of native species) reflects the overall biodiversity of the aquatic ecosystem. Human disturbances may introduce toxic contaminants or non-native (invasive) fish species, increase temperatures, siltate stream beds, or produce other changes in stream habitats. These frequently result in the loss of one or more native fish species.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries program is currently working on developing a recovery plan for the upper Willamette Basin salmon, which have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Efforts to conserve the Oregon chub, an endangered fish endemic to the Willamette Basin, is also a major focus of conservation activities in the basin.