• Projects
  • Habitat Restoration and Monitoring Program in the Klamath Basin for the Southern Oregon–Northern California Coast Coho Salmon Evolutionary Significant Unit


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Fish Ecology FE - Watershed


Southern Oregon–Northern California Coast Coho Salmon Recovery
Habitat Restoration and Monitoring Program in the Klamath Basin for the Southern Oregon–Northern California Coast Coho Salmon Evolutionary Significant Unit
This project monitors the response of ESA-listed coho salmon and steelhead trout and physical changes resulting from experimental habitat restoration projects designed primarily to benefit coho salmon. We monitor changes in growth, abundance and survival of coho salmon relative to both unrestored and conventionally restored habitat. The project is guided by NOAA’s SONCC Salmon Recovery Plan and is in collaboration with the NOAA West Coast Regional Office and the NOAA Restoration Center. This program is essential for determining cost-effective restoration actions that ameliorate poor habitat conditions and habitat access issues that are limiting production of ESA-listed coho salmon and other anadromous fishes in the Klamath basin. The program is based on process-based restoration strategies (e.g. beaver restoration, floodplain reconnection, hyporheic restoration, flow enhancement) and habitat monitoring methods developed in part by the Watershed Program at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Key end-users of project products include the NOAA Restoration Center, the NOAA WRO, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, tribal, state and private land and natural resource managers in Oregon and California, federal, state and habitat restoration funding organizations (e.g. OR Watershed Enhancement Board, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, CA Water Board, Bureau of Reclamation), state and federal permitting agencies.

Research Themes

Habitats to support sustainable fisheries and recovered populations
Healthy oceans, coastal waters, and riverine habitats provide the foundation for aquatic resources used by a diversity of species and society. Protecting marine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems that support these species relies on science to link habitat condition/processes and the biological effects of restoration actions. The NWFSC provides the habitat science behind many management actions taken by NOAA Fisheries and other natural resource agencies to protect and recover aquatic ecosystems and living marine resources. The NWFSC also maintains a longstanding focus on toxic chemical contaminants, as a foundation for regional and national research on pollution threats to fisheries and protected resources.

Research Foci

Develop effective and efficient habitat restoration and conservation techniques
Maintaining and re-establishing viability and sustainability of living marine resources requires conservation and rehabilitation or restoration of habitats upon which species depend. Common habitat restoration approaches and tech-niques often presume that habitats are static features of the environment, and that creation of stable habitats is a desirable restoration strategy. However, riverine, nearshore, and marine habitats are created and sustained by dynamic landscape, climatic, and oceanographic processes and biota are adapted to changing habitats that are within the range of natural variability. Hence, current restoration strategies often have limited success, in part because they fail to recognize larger scale processes that drive habitat change, and in part because they fail to recognize intrinsic habitat potential of individual restoration sites. The main goals of this research focus are to: improve understanding of how large-scale processes create diverse and dynamic habitats that support marine and anadromous species, better understand how human activities alter habitat-forming processes and habitats, develop new restoration techniques that are compatible with sustainable habitat-forming processes, and understand the variety of actions needed to adequately conserve intact critical habitats. In addition, NWFSC’s research will improve understanding of how new and existing habitat restoration and protection techniques affect fish and habitat at multiple scales (i.e., reach, watershed, Evolutionarily Significant Unit).


None designated


PIT Tag Database for Klamath River
PIT tag database of growth and movement of juvenile salmonids in the Klamath River basin-updated regularly on ongoing basis


Species Oncorhynchus kisutch
Coho salmon, silver salmon
Species Oncorhynchus mykiss
rainbow trout, steelhead trout, syeelhead trout
Species Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Chinook salmon, king salmon, spring salmon


George Pess
Michael Pollock
Principal Investigator