WASHINGTON – NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service announced the start of its five-year status reviews for 28 Pacific salmon and steelhead runs, including all 13 listed stocks from the Snake and Columbia rivers, to determine whether they should be delisted, reclassified from endangered to threatened, or reclassified from threatened to endangered.

“The reviews, conducted under the Endangered Species Act, are following a timeline that aims to be completed by 2021,” said NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein.

Species under review

The Columbia Basin runs under review include upper Columbia River spring-run Chinook; Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook; lower Columbia River Chinook; upper Willamette River Chinook; Snake River fall-run Chinook; Columbia River chum; lower Columbia River coho; Snake River sockeye; upper Columbia River steelhead; middle Columbia River steelhead; Snake River basin steelhead; lower Columbia River steelhead; and upper Willamette River steelhead.

Under the ESA, the status of listed species must be reviewed at least once every five years. Of the 13 Columbia Basin runs, only the upper Columbia River spring-run Chinook and Snake River sockeye are currently listed as endangered, while the rest are threatened.

Collecting new information

The agency is seeking new and relevant information on these stocks that has become available since the last status reviews in 2016.

Areas of new information can include population abundance, population productivity, changes in distribution or structure, genetics, changes in habitat or limiting factors and threats, conservation measures or data that demonstrates effectiveness of addressing limiting factors or threats, data about the status and trends of limiting factors or threats, information that may affect the species being identified as an evolutionarily significant unit or distinct population segment, or information on harvest and bycatch.

New information is being sought from the public, government agencies, Native American tribes, scientists, industry, environmental groups or others. NOAA’s Northwest and Southwest fisheries science centers will help gather and analyze the information.

Information must be received by March 27, 2020. Details on how to submit comments are available in a Federal Register notice.