National Marine Fisheries Service Publishes Five-Year Review Reports on ESA-Listed Salmon and Steelhead
Posted in Listing

On August 15, 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a Federal Register notice (pdf) announcing the five-year review reports for six species of salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS completed reviews for five Pacific salmon species evolutionary significant units (ESUs), and one steelhead distinct population segment (DPS) in California. Specifically, reviews were completed for the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon (pdf), the Central Valley spring-run Chinook (pdf), the Central Valley steelhead (pdf), the Central California Coast coho salmon (pdf), the Southern Oregon/Northern California coho salmon (pdf), and the California Coastal Chinook salmon (pdf).

NMFS completed the reviews pursuant to section 4 of the ESA, which requires federal agencies to conduct reviews of listed species at least once every five years. Based on these reviews, NMFS determines whether a species should be delisted, or reclassified from endangered to threatened (or threatened to endangered).

In the reports, NMFS concluded that each of the species is to retain its current ESA listing classification. NMFS found that, although many salmon and steelhead populations within the ESUs and DPSs have experienced declines in abundance over the last five years, their overall status indicates that their risk of extinction has not changed since 2005. The current listings are as follows:

• Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon (Endangered)
• Central Valley spring-run Chinook (Threatened)
• Central Valley steelhead (Threatened)
• Central California Coast coho salmon (Endangered)
• Southern Oregon/Northern California coho salmon (Threatened)
• California Coastal Chinook salmon (Threatened)

According to NMFS, the declines in salmon and steelhead populations are most likely due to poor ocean conditions and drought. Factors that continue to pose a threat to their survival and recovery include a wide range of activities, including overfishing, predation, loss of habitat, hydropower development, hatchery practices, changes in ocean conditions and productivity, drought, and the effects of global climate change.

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Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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