Columbia River Mainstem Fish Tissue and Water Quality Monitoring 2020

Salmonid Restoration Planning and Assessments

Restoration Planning And Coordination
Project ID20-Yaka-03
Recovery DomainsUpper Columbia River
Start Date04/01/2021
End Date06/30/2025
Last Edited05/08/2024
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In December 2019, Yakama Nation Fisheries submitted an application to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Columbia River Basin Restoration Funding Assistance Program (CRBRP) seeking funding to begin the first phase of a multi-phased, multi-year project to develop a Monitoring Program along the approximately 600-mile length of the Middle and Upper Columbia River mainstem to assess and track status and trends of contaminants in fish, water, sediments and invertebrates from the Canadian Border to Bonneville Dam. Yakama Nation was successful in securing the EPA CRBRP funding which will support Phase I efforts of program development including engaging stakeholders, developing a Monitoring Framework to inform development of the overall Monitoring Program, and developing and conducting community engagement and outreach. The first phase of the project began on October 1, 2020. Yakama Nation is partnering with the Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission (CRITFC), Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

There are three phases of this effort, that if fully funded, would result in the development and implementation of the Columbia River Mainstem Fish Tissue and Water Quality Monitoring Program (Monitoring Program):

i. Phase 1 (Year 1 and 2): Engage Stakeholders and develop a Monitoring Framework including a Community Engagement and Outreach Plan.

ii. Phase 2 (Year 3 and 4): Implement Monitoring Framework and Long-term Funding and Administration Planning

iii. Phase 3 (Year 5 and beyond): Implement Monitoring Program and Adaptive Management

Additional funding from PCSRF will leverage the EPA funded Phase I project by supporting Phase 2 of the Monitoring Program. PCSRF funding will be used to develop a monitoring work plan and summary report to guide all elements of Phase 2. In general, a work plan will be developed to plan and guide the implementation of Phase 2 which includes production of long-term monitoring Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) for fish, water, sediment and invertebrates; refining the budget and administration planning; and identifying long-term funding for the Monitoring Program. Additionally, in Phase 2, monitoring will be implemented on a subsection of the 600-mile long study area with the final scope dependent upon projected costs for each media, available budget, and priorities of the larger work group. Phase 2 also involves combining the necessary geo-spatial and bathymetric work to fully implement the design plan, inform selection of appropriate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and collaborate with State and Federal partners. This information will inform both the subsection monitoring effort and the overall Monitoring Program. Finally, Phase 2 will identify a data management system and hosts of the Monitoring Program. The Phase 2 budget includes significant collaboration components that involve staff and consultant time/cost. In addition, during Phase 2 we will need to continue our planning for Phase 3 by engaging in strategic planning, pursuing funding, obtaining permits, conducting site reconnaissance, finding an organization to permanently house the program, developing tiered budget estimates for equipment, staff, field/lab work, etc. Professional services are budgeted for multiple organizations (minor legal consultation component, technical consultant to assist Yakama Nation with grant oversight, and pass-through funds to USGS personnel who we anticipate continuing to serve as technical lead). Dr. Ed Kolodziej, UW, is not part of the budgeted professional service contracts at this point.

PCSRF funding will be used to ensure that the approach, needs, objectives, outcomes, timelines, and budget requirements for Phase 2 are fully considered and outlined in a detailed work plan and summary report.

Project Benefit    

The goal is simple: protect and restore the Columbia River and its tributaries. The Columbia River Mainstem Fish Tissue and Water Quality Monitoring Program has the potential to benefit every salmonid stock in the Columbia River by building on the foundational work conducted in the CRRR project and other Yakama Nation efforts in the Columbia River.

Through this funding, Yakama Nation will develop a detailed work plan and summary report to guide all elements of Phase 2 which will be used to implement the long-term Monitoring Program to track status and trends of fish tissue and water quality in the mainstem Columbia River. To develop the Monitoring Program, Yakama Nation and its partners will review and summarize past studies on toxics in the mainstem Columbia River. Existing data will be combined and evaluated for potential use in estimating historic trends and toxic concentrations in fish tissue and other media. This initial review and summary of toxics will include an evaluation of core analytes, including (but not limited to): mercury, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites (DDD and DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDES), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

This is an important step forward in contaminant reduction and will help address toxics as a limiting factor for some ESA listed stocks; reach goals for toxic reduction as laid out in the revised Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit and the Northwest Power Conservation Council Fish and Wildlife Program; and address the widespread contamination as identified in the 2009 EPA “Columbia River Basin: State of the River Report for Toxics” that describes the known issues with mercury, DDT, PCBs, and PBDE while outlining the lack of toxics reduction action on the river.

The future Monitoring Program will obtain estimates of changes in persistent toxic substances in fish over time and among locations. Along the US portion of the Columbia River, effects of pollution have contributed to:

o Declines in fish runs

o Fish consumption advisories on 75% of the Columbia River

o Multiple CWA 303(d) listings throughout basin

The future Monitoring Program will provide estimates of risks to consumers of fish from the Columbia River.

The future Monitoring Program will help Yakama Nation get us to our vision of clean, healthy fish that is safe to eat.


Metric Completed Originally

Funding Details

Report Total:$731,878

Project Map


Middle and Upper Columbia River Mainstem from Bonneville Dam to Canadian Border    

  • Worksite Identifier: Middle and Upper Columbia River Mainstem from Bonneville Dam to Canadian Border
  • Start Date: 03/22/2021
  • End Date: 09/21/2025
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Upper Columbia (170200)
  • Subbasin: Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (17020016)
  • Watershed: Hanson Creek-Columbia River (1702001601)
  • Subwatershed: McCoy Canyon-Columbia River (170200160106)
  • State: Washington
  • Recovery Domain: Upper Columbia River
  • Latitude: 46.627032667
  • Longitude: -119.906616211


  • Mid-Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Upper Columbia River Summer- and Fall-run Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Upper Columbia River Steelhead DPS
  • Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS
  • Upper Columbia River Spring-run Chinook Salmon ESU




  • B.0 Salmonid Restoration Planning and AssessmentsY (Y/N)
    •      . . B.0.a Planning And Assessment Funding .00
    •      . . B.0.b.1 Area Encompassed
    •      . . B.0.b.2 Stream Miles Affected
    •      . . B.1 Restoration Planning And CoordinationY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . B.1.a Planning and Coordination funding
      •      . . . . B.1.b.7 Developing monitoring plans or sampling protocolsY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . B.1.b.7.a
          Name of plan developed
        •      . . . . . . B.1.b.7.b
          Description and scope of the plan developed