The Columbia Basin once supported a diversity of native fishes and large runs of anadromous salmonids that sustained substantial fisheries and cultural values. Extensive land conversion, watershed disruptions, and subsequent fishery declines have led to one of the most ambitious restoration programs in the world. Progress has been made, but restoration is expensive (exceeding US$300M/year), and it remains unclear whether habitat actions, in particular, can be successful. A comprehensive approach is needed to guide cost-effective habitat restoration. Four elements that must be addressed simultaneously are (1) a scientific foundation from landscape ecology and the concept of resilience, (2) broad public support, (3) governance for collaboration and integration, and (4) a capacity for learning and adaptation. Realizing these in the Columbia Basin will require actions to rebalance restoration goals to include diversity, strengthen linkages between science and management, increase public engagement, work across traditional ecological and social boundaries, and learn from experience.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science
- Nature and Landscape Conservation