Project Description





PC: Tom Lange

By restoring populations of beaver—which create and engineer excellent salmon habitat—we are aiding coho and other North Coast wild fish.

Oregon record chum salmon caught on Kilchis in 1990.

The rivers of Oregon’s North Coast provide some of the best remaining wild fish runs in the Lower 48.  One of them is fabled to be the epic steelhead river from David James Duncan’s classic The River Why.

Oregon’s Coastal Refuges

Between Portland and the Pacific Ocean are six extraordinary coastal salmon and steelhead streams that flow fast and steep out of the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. The Trask, Wilson, Kilchis, Miami, Nehalem, and Salmonberry. They host some of best remaining runs of wild fish in the Lower 48—wild fall Chinook and winter steelhead, as well as spring Chinook, coho, and chum, and rainbow and sea-run cutthroat trout.

The narrow-forested canyons of Oregon’s Coast Range are consistently racked by rainstorms from the ocean, a phenomenon that is expected to continue despite climate change. This reliable pattern of precipitation gives North Coast rivers and their wild fish long term viability, if their habitat can be protected.

While a small but vocal alliance of timber interests, county commissioners and state officials consistently push to clearcut nearly all of the North Coast state forests, for over a decade the Wild Salmon Center has worked with local partners to spearhead efforts to designate conservation areas in the Tillamook and Clatsop forests, with 140,000 acres protected to date.

The Stronghold Fund will support targeted coalition efforts to balance conservation with timber harvest on the North Coast and will help local partners restore cut-over lands for threatened coho salmon, a project that will benefit all wild fish populations in the region.

Nature tends to fill niches. While North Coast Chinook require big water, often low in a watershed, coho are drawn to smaller tributaries.

Coastal coho

“Protecting some of the Lower 48’s last great wild salmon and steelhead runs — and the public forests that surround them — means healthier North Coast communities and economies.”


Bob Rees, veteran fishing guide and Oregon Forest Conservation Coalition member


PC: Leon Werdinger