Province Summary


Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin Summary

The Columbia River travels through about 123 miles of the subbasin. Major tributaries draining into this subbasin include the Walla Walla in Washington and the Umatilla, John Day, and Deschutes in Oregon. Smaller tributaries flowing into the Columbia River include Glade, Six Prong, Pine, and Rock creeks in Washington, and Willow, Spanish Hollow, and Fulton Canyon creeks in Oregon. Numerous other perennial secondary streams and many intermittent and ephemeral streams provide water to the Columbia River.

Within the Subbasin, three mainstem dams impound this lower, middle section of the Columbia River: McNary Dam, John Day Dam, and The Dalles Dam. The dams separate the river into three impoundments. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) operates McNary, John Day, and The Dalles dams and reservoirs for hydropower production, recreation, navigation, irrigation, anadromous fish passage, and limited flood control. John Day Reservoir is somewhat unique in that it has substantial flood control capabilities. Mainstem reservoirs in the Columbia Plateau Province have relatively little storage capacity, and discharges through dams are run-of-the-river.

Today over 90% of land base is privately owned. Public lands in the Lower Mid-Columbia Mainstem Subbasin make up a small but significant portion of the remaining natural and semi-natural habitats in the subbasin. Most of these lands are held by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with smaller areas managed by the State of Oregon, State of Washington, and U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Land use and ownership in the subbasin have changed dramatically since the arrival of European settlers. Most lands in the Lower Mid-Columbia Mainstem Subbasin are privately owned. About half of the land is used for agriculture. Agriculture and related enterprises are the most important economic activities in the subbasin. High-technology pivot and other irrigation methods are utilized in the subbasin, particularly in Washington and in the northern Oregon portions of the subbasin. In southern Benton County, wheat, grapes, and corn are important crops, and beef and dairy cattle are make an economic contribution. Only 4% of the agricultural land in Rock Creek, which is in Klickitat County, is currently used as cropland. Non-forested rangeland is found in the canyons and other areas unsuitable for agriculture. The rangeland is used for livestock grazing. Wheat, barley, alfalfa, oats, potatoes, poplars, cattle and sheep production, dairies, and food processing (especially potatoes) are important agricultural businesses in this region of Oregon.

Source: Lower Middle Columbia Subbasin Plan

Status and Trends of Focal Species in Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin
 
Species ESU MPG Population Biological Objective (s) Biological Status Federal Status Data / Charts
Fall Chinook Multiple upriver ESUs  Multiple upriver MPGs  Multiple upriver populations  Recovery Plan Criteria :
Not applicable
 
Adult Counts (Dam)
2017: The Dalles Dam - 217,021 adults 60
2017: John Day Dam - 165,526 adults60
2017: McNary Dam - 156,927 adults60
Threatened Status & Trends
Coho     Multiple upriver populations   Recovery Plan Criteria :
Not applicable
 
Adult Counts (Dam)
2017: The Dalles Dam - 33,772 adults60
2017: John Day Dam - 29,080 adults60
2017: McNary Dam - 21,996 adults60
Not Listed Status & Trends
Summer Steelhead Multiple upriver ESUs  Multiple upriver ESUs  Multiple upriver populations  Recovery Plan Criteria :
Not applicable
 
Adult Counts (Dam)
2017: The Dalles Dam - 29,017 adults (wild)60
2017: John Day Dam - 24,918 adults (wild)60
2017: McNary Dam - 23,243 adults (wild)60
Threatened Status & Trends
    
View abundance data for Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin
 
Hatcheries located in Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin
**Hatchery data will be updated in 2016**

Hatchery / Acclimation Pond Hatchery Info Releases / Returns Program Reviews(APRE / HSRG / HGMP / USFWS) Map
Meseberg Hatchery View View    
Priest Rapids Hatchery View View View View
Ringold Springs Hatchery View View View View
Umatilla Hatchery View View View View
 
Hatchery Releases and Returns to Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin360
**Hatchery data will be updated in 2016**

Some releases into subbasins may be from hatcheries located in other provinces and subbasins. Hatchery releases of anadromous fish, within the geographic range of an ESU/DPS, are listed accordingly.
 
Hatchery / Acclimation Pond Species ESU/DPS Released in 2009 Returns to Collection Facility in 2009 Data as of
Goldendale Trout Hatchery Rainbow Trout 36,693 8 / 30 / 2010
Lyons Ferry Hatchery Rainbow Trout 17,608 8 / 30 / 2010
Meseberg Hatchery Rainbow Trout 313,492 8 / 30 / 2010
Walleye 709,600 8 / 30 / 2010
Priest Rapids Hatchery Fall Chinook 6,788,314 18,497 8 / 30 / 2010
Ringold Springs Hatchery Fall Chinook 3,503,075 8 / 30 / 2010
Spring Chinook 235 8 / 30 / 2010
Summer Steelhead Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS 140,047 266 8 / 30 / 2010
Trout Lodge Commercial Rainbow Trout 737 8 / 30 / 2010
Tucannon Hatchery Rainbow Trout 10,300 8 / 30 / 2010
Recovery Status for ESA-Listed Salmon and Steelhead in the Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin

    No recovery status for Columbia Lower Middle subbasin.
Limiting Factors in the Columbia Lower Middle Subbasin

COHO
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Fishery Management Harvest Adults Coho are subject to both ocean and freshwater harvest.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass three or four mainstem dams during migration.
Instantaneous Mortality Predation -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management; Species Management Predators: Fish; Predators: Avian Juveniles Juvenile salmonids are being harvested by birds and fish predators at rates higher than prior to hydro-development.
Toxic Contaminants Water; Biota -- Pollution and Contamination Pollution: Biological Wastes, Fertilizer, & Pharmaceuticals Juveniles Contaminant inputs from upstream land-use activities are often trapped in the reservoirs behind the dams.
Water Quality Temperature -- Water Management Water: Temperature and Gas alteration Juveniles High temperatures during upstream migration of salmonids limit productivity.
Water Quantity Altered Flow Timing -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal, Channelization, Management Juveniles, adults Peak flows and frequent water level fluctuations have a deleterious and sometimes fatal effect on juvenile salmoinds. Fluctuations in flows can delay adult salmonid migrations.
FALL CHINOOK
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Fishery Management Harvest Adults Fall Chinook are subject to both ocean and freshwater harvest.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass three or four mainstem dams during migration.
Instantaneous Mortality Predation -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management; Species Management Predators: Fish; Predators: Avian Juveniles Juvenile salmonids are being harvested by birds and fish predators at rates higher than prior to hydro-development.
Toxic Contaminants Water; Biota -- Pollution and Contamination Pollution: Biological Wastes, Fertilizer, & Pharmaceuticals Juveniles Contaminant inputs from upstream land-use activities are often trapped in the reservoirs behind the dams.
Water Quality Temperature -- Water Management Water: Temperature and Gas alteration Juveniles High temperatures during upstream migration of salmonids limit productivity.
Water Quantity Altered Flow Timing -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal, Channelization, Management Juveniles, adults Peak flows and frequent water level fluctuations have a deleterious and sometimes fatal effect on juvenile salmoinds. Fluctuations in flows can delay adult salmonid migrations.
SUMMER STEELHEAD
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Morphological Changes Freshwater-Floodplain Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density); Riparian Degradation Juveniles Rock Creek Road and other structures in the Rock Creek watershed have altered the floodplain and confined the creek and tributaries.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Diking; Filling; Wood/Structure Removal Juveniles Lack of habitat diversity (pools with cover) and lack of large woody debris in Rock Creek and its tributaries limit productivity.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass three or four mainstem dams during migration.
Instantaneous Mortality Predation -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management; Species Management Predators: Fish; Predators: Avian Juveniles Juvenile salmonids are being harvested by birds and fish predators at rates higher than prior to hydro-development.
Toxic Contaminants Water; Biota -- Pollution and Contamination Pollution: Biological Wastes, Fertilizer, & Pharmaceuticals Juveniles Contaminant inputs from upstream land-use activities are often trapped in the reservoirs behind the dams. Fluctuations in toxics have reduced native aquatic vegetation and fauna in lower sections of Rock Creek.
Water Quality Temperature -- Water Management Water: Temperature and Gas alteration Juveniles High temperatures during upstream migration of salmonids limit productivity. In Rock Creek, greater summer maxima and winter minima temperatures affect fish life histories. Fluctuations in water quality parameters (i.e., temperature, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients) have reduced native aquatic vegetation and fauna in lower sections of Rock Creek.
Water Quantity Altered Flow Timing -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal, Channelization, Management Juveniles, adults Peak flows and frequent water level fluctuations have a deleterious and sometimes fatal effect on juvenile salmoinds. Fluctuations in flows can delay adult salmonid migrations.
WHITE STURGEON
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability Freshwater-Instream Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Adults White sturgeon are unable to use existing fish ladders
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal Adult spawners Mainstem spawning habitat has been lost due to inundation by mainstem dams.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Fishery Management Harvest Adults Sport and commercial harvest limit adult white sturgeon abundance.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Adults Operation of the hydro-facilities has disrupted the historical migration patterns of white sturgeon and resulted in fragmentation of habitat and populations.
Toxic Contaminants Water; Biota -- Pollution and Contamination Pollution: Biological Wastes, Fertilizer, & Pharmaceuticals Eggs, adults Sedimentation/contaminants may reduce adhesiveness of eggs. Contaminants also may affect survival, growth, and reproductive potential of white sturgeon adults.
Water Quality Temperature -- Water Management Water: Temperature and Gas alteration Eggs Elevated water temperature affects white sturgeon eggs.
Water Quantity Altered Flow Timing -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal, Channelization, Management Juveniles Lack of multi-day uniformality in flow, turbulence, and turbidity result in white sturgeon year-class failures.