Our salmon don’t have to disappear
Jii-la! (Greetings, friends!)
I’m Brenda Meade, chairman of the Coquille Indian Tribe. Coquille River salmon have nourished my people for countless generations. Our ancestors have relished and revered these amazing fish since time began.
But a tragedy has struck in the past few years. Fall Chinook salmon have nearly disappeared from the Coquille River.
Barely a decade ago, in 2010, more than 30,000 fall run Chinook returned to spawn in the river. In recent years, that number has shrunk to just a few hundred. These wonderful fish are on the edge of extinction.
What’s killing our salmon?
Several issues have come together to cause this tragedy:
- Invasive bass species devour juvenile salmon on their way to the ocean.
- Year after year, ODFW’s brood stock collection falls short of its goals, while seals feast on adult salmon returning to spawn in the river.
- Pollution, sediment and warmer water impede the salmon life cycle.
- Old, deteriorated fish hatcheries produce too few smolts.
- Rigid state policies prevent effective management.
- The Coquille River is a low priority in the state budget.
We’re stepping up
Despite these challenges, we believe the Coquille River’s fall Chinook salmon still can be saved. In the summer of 2021, the Coquille Tribe proposed to partner with the State of Oregon on this issue.
We are developing a new kind of cooperative relationship with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – to address the salmon crisis, and ultimately to co-manage the Coquille watershed. We will collaborate with state and local officials, landowners and sportsmen to clean up the river, thwart the predators, revitalize the hatcheries and restore habitat.
Please join us in this urgent mission.
Ways you can help
- Write Gov. Kate Brown – Ask her to make the Coquille River’s salmon a priority.
- Volunteer to help – We’ll need help with the hatchery, habitat projects and more. Or just let us list you as a Community Partner.
- Catch some bass – Stripers and smallmouth bass are bad for salmon, but they’re good for dinner, and the Coquille River has no limit on them. Until Oct. 31, you can even spear smallmouth.
- Share your story – Tell us your memories of salmon fishing on the Coquille River.
Port of Bandon
“Urgent action is essential, or this once-abundant resource soon will disappear forever.” Full text
Bandon Chamber of Commerce
“When the shocking news came this spring from ODF&W that the Coquille River would be completely closed to salmon fishing in 2021, it spelled more disaster for the community.” Full text
Coos County Commissioners
“Cooperative management offers our best possible hope for success in saving the fall-run Chinook salmon and improving the health of the watershed.” Full text
Coquille Watershed Association
“We believe that partnering with the Coquille Tribe, ODFW, and others on strategic engagement efforts will result in impactful outcomes that bring us closer to salmon recovery goals.” Full text