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Concurrent Sessions C: Prioritization - Oregon Fish Passage Priority List - A Statewide Barrier Prioritization Effort

Fish passage is a key component to many facets of fisheries resource management. Connectivity between aquatic habitats is an important part of garnering successful and healthy fish populations. Without habitat connectivity, resident or fluvial fish species such as native trout and suckers become isolated, leading to reduced levels of genetic diversity and fitness. For anadromous populations, fish passage can allow access to new habitats or fertile spawning grounds that are pivotal for success of the species. In addition to providing access to vital spawning habitats for adults, fish passage also provides access to essential rearing habitats for juvenile life histories. Population isolation due to fish passage barriers also heightens migratory fish exposure to disturbances, thus increasing the potential magnitude of the disturbance at a population level. Fish passage barriers are prevalent throughout the Oregon landscape. Over time, despite fish passage rules and regulations, access to native fish habitats has been blocked or impaired by the construction of impassable culverts, dams, tide gates, dikes, bridges, and other anthropogenic infrastructure. Providing passage at these artificial obstructions is vital to recovering Oregon’s native migratory fish populations. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) latest inventory shows over 27,800 artificial obstructions to fish passage in the State of Oregon. Of those, only 17% are documented as providing adequate fish passage for native migratory fish. With so many barriers spread across the landscape, and funding becoming scarce, it is paramount that we thoroughly prioritize fish passage, with inclusion of multiple parameters. This will allow for a focused effort to improving passage conditions and meeting a critical need of Oregon’s native migratory fish. This presentation will focus on the development and methodology used to prioritize fish passage barriers across the State of Oregon.