. 1900 Log drives started on the Minam and John Day rivers. Splash dams were built on the John Day R between Spray and the Columbia River. Log drives and splash dams lasted until 1936.
. 1901 The first hatchery coho salmon fry released in Oregon.
. 1901 Oregon established the Master Fish Warden position to enforce regulations.
. 1902 H.D. Langille, Federal Surveyor of timber lands, said, “All sections contiguous to the Grande Ronde R. have been logged over and left in hopelessly denuded condition.
. 1902 The McKenzie R Hatchery began taking spring chinook eggs and the highest egg collection was in 1935 with 25.1 million eggs from 4,780 adults or 40% of the entire run above Willamette Falls. See 1946, 1948,1950, 1958, 1966,1968, (Willamette L Col R TRT 2005)
. 1903 Log drives on the McKenzie River started and lasted through 1915. This period was the heyday of log drives on the upper Willamette River.
1903 The abundance of spring chinook in the Molalla River had already decreased dramatically (ODF 1903).
1903 By this time the prime spring chinook decline was evident and to compensate, more of the harvest shifted to the fall chinook run, a fish the canners considered inferior.
1903 The Boise River enters the Snake River 379 miles above the mouth. This stream use to support large runs of chinook salmon and steelhead, but irrigation development exterminated the runs.
. 1903 Washington established a game code and county commissioners appointed game wardens.
. 1904 W.H.B. Kent reported that the foot hills are entirely cut, burned, and denuded by sheep grazing and all the lower elevation ponderosa pine were cut on in the Grande Ronde basin.
. 1905 Lewis and Clark Rod and Gun Club placed an order for carp (called European Wonder Fish) through Outdoor Life Magazine and released these fish in the Snake River near Lewiston, Idaho. (Keith Stonebreaker personal communication 5-05)
1907 The U.S. Forest Service in eastern Oregon recommended fencing creeks to keep cattle out of riparian areas for recovery. The remedies recommended in 1940 were the same and in 1991 the Malheur National Forest supervisor stated the same solutions to over grazing. The problem is that riparian areas along salmon spawning and rearing streams are still over grazed. Burning willows in along creeks is still practiced by ranchers to benefit cattle.
1907 Swan Falls Dam on the Snake River built by Idaho Power Company, reduces all salmon and steelhead runs above the dam. The fish ladder did not work well. In 1940 the fishway was rebuilt and fish can pass upstream.
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1909 Sport anglers required to buy a license to fish in Oregon
1909 Oregon constructed Central Hatchery (later named Bonneville Hatchery) on Tanner Creek. This hatchery had the capacity to handle 60 million eggs and served as a central clearing house and incubation station for eggs collected throughout the region. Eyed eggs and fry from Central Hatchery were distributed throughout the Columbia Basin and beyond. For example, chinook eggs from the McKenzie River were stocked in the Alsea River on the Oregon coast.
1909 Willamette River Hatchery started and took 11,389,000 spring chinook eggs in 1918 (Wallis 1962) corresponding to 3,559 females. See 1948, 1950, 1953, 1965.
1909 Oregon and Washington establish for the first time consistent fishery seasons. The upper deadline for the fishery is at the mouth of Oregon’s Deschutes River.
1910 — Clackamas River dams put in service
1910-1920 – Columbia River salmon canneries reach peak production.
1911 Oregon’s Fish and Game Boards are combined to form the Board of Fish and Game Commissioners made up of three members appointed by the governor.
. 1911 Egg take for spring chinook in the N Santiam River was 1.5 million. It was the policy to capture as much brood stock as possible. See 1934, 1947, and 1950. (Willamette, Lower Col TRT 2005)
. 1912 Ocean commercial trolling for salmon begins off mouth of Columbia
. 1912 Bull Run and Marmot Dams (Sandy River) put in service
. 1913 The position of Washington Chief Game Warden is created to enforce fishery rules.
1915 The legislatures of Oregon and Washington create the Columbia River Fish Compact for joint regulations of Columbia River commercial fisheries.
1915 Washington commercial and game fish regulations are combined under the authority of the State Game Warden.
1915 Oregon abolishes the Board of Fish and Game Commissioners and replaces it with the Fish and Game Commission with the governor serving as the chair of the three member commission.
. 1917 Purse seines are prohibited in the Columbia
. 1918 The Willamette River is closed to commercial salmon fishing.
1918 The U.S. Congress ratifies the Columbia River Fish Compact created in 1915 by the states of Oregon and Washington to provide cooperative regulation of the Columbia River commercial fishery.
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1919 Warm Springs Dam is constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation on the Middle Fork Malheur River with no fish passage. This dam ends spring chinook and summer steelhead runs in the river.
1919 The Washington State Fish Commissioner said “The most important reason for artificial propagation is the fact that the natural method is extremely wasteful, which is not true of the artificial method.”
. 1919 The first school of fisheries was launched at the University of Washington
. 1920 Oregon once again changes the fish and game board, replacing it with a commission.
. 1920 The U.S. Forest Service planners knew they were authorizing logging that would ensure that harvest levels would collapse by the 1990s in eastern Oregon watersheds.
. 1921 Oregon established separate fish (3 members) and game (five members) commissions with members appointed by the legislature and then later they were appointed by the governor. Oregon establishes a tax on commercial fishery landings.
1921 Washington abolished the State Fish Commission and replaced it with the Departments of Fisheries and Game.
1923 Whip seines are prohibited in the Columbia
. 1926 The Columbia River fishery had expanded to 1,790 gill nets, 506 traps, 94 seines, 48 fish wheels, 291 dip nets and 342 trollers.
. 1927 Fish wheels are banned on the Columbia in Oregon followed by Washington in 1935.
. 1928 The peak chum salmon harvest of 8.4 million pounds or 700,000 fish takes place.
1928 There are 15 hatcheries operating in the Columbia Basin and a total of 2 billion fry are released into the river.
1930s In eastern Oregon and Washington watersheds there was a prolonged drought with less than one third of the normal rain fall during the summers. Rain fall averaged only 0.l6 and 0.25 inch of rain fall in July and August during the 1930s. This compared to the period 1911 to 1922 when rain fall averaged 0.45 inch. In the interior Columbia River Basin the 1930s drought was probably matched only once for length in the last 250 years; although the drought of the 1840s was probably more server in terms of sustained low flows. The 1930s drought should not be regarded as an anomalous event, but is likely a typical fluctuation of the Columbia River system. (Gedalof et al. 2004)
1930 John Cobb, University of Washington concluded that artificial propagation could become a threat to the Pacific salmon fishery. Fish managers had to put aside their optimism and stop relying on hatcheries alone to increase or maintain the fishery.
1930 On May 21st, the Preservation of Fishery Resources Act (Mitchell Act) is passed to provide for the conservation of the fishery resources of the Columbia River.
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1934 193 4
Merwin Dam is completed on the N.F. Lewis River in Washington, blocking this large tributary to the lower Columbia River to salmon and steelhead. It is later followed by Yale Dam, 1953, and Swift Dam in 1958.
The Washington Legislature separated food and game fish management and created the Department of Fisheries under an appointed director and the Department of Game under a six member commission.
Powder River is a large tributary to the Snake River in Oregon. It was a magnificent salmon and steelhead stream. Thief Valley Dam was constructed in this year by the Bureau of Reclamation. No fish passage was provided and the salmon runs were eliminated. People at the dam reported that large numbers of coho salmon and steelhead blocked by the dam showed up for several years and then disappeared.
Rock Island Dam is constructed on the upper Columbia and has fish passage problems.
Owyhee Dam is constructed on the Owyhee River terminating salmon and steelhead in that river and the only salmon run in the state of Nevada. This dam was built to serve irrigation interests by the Bureau of Reclamation. No fish passage was provided.
The commercial sale of steelhead in Washington is prohibited.
The Columbia River Investigations program begins at the Montlake Laboratory and is closely associated with the water use development program for the Columbia River basin. An early and major part of the program is a comprehensive survey of all accessible salmon streams in the Columbia system.
The largest egg collection for spring chinook in the North Santiam River happened this year with 13.2 million eggs from 4,125 females. (Willamette L Col R TRT 2005)
Fish wheels, haul seines, traps and set nets are prohibited in Washington.
Beulah Dam is constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation on the North Fork Malheur River without fish passage. This dam ends the chinook and steelhead runs in this river. The Malheur watershed is 4,750 square miles supporting large runs chinook and steelhead. Irrigation development and dam construction terminated these unique runs of wild salmon and steelhead.
Oregon and Washington fisheries officials permitted to change fishing seasons. Prior to this the state legislatures were the only body to change seasons.
Bonneville Dam is constructed on the Columbia 140 miles above the mouth. This dam was originally designed without fishways by the Army Corps of Engineers. Commercial fishing was prohibited five miles below and 15 miles above the dam.
The peak steelhead harvest is 2.6 million pounds or 293,000 fish.
The fish management agencies consider a 50% harvest rate excessive to the maintenance of the runs, yet 80% of the spring chinook and 65% of the fall chinook are taken in the commercial fishery.
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1938 Willis Rich developed the Home Stream Theory of salmon management based on salmon tagging studies. He determined that salmon home to the streams where they were hatched. He held that proper conservation of salmon required protection of the salmon in each stream and the habitats that supported them. Rich’s work confirms what Canada’s Anderson determined in 1880, and runs counter to the U.S. concept of random spawning advocated by Livingston Stone and David Starr Jordan in 1883. But did Rich’s home stream theory transform U.S. salmon management?
1938 Congress passes the Mitchell Act and authorizes $500,000 to correct the impacts of mainstem dams and other human activities in the basin. This money was used primarily to count salmon populations and inventory habitat conditions in the Columbia River tributaries, but morphed into hatchery development from Bonneville Dam down river.
. 1938 The Payette River was first surveyed for salmon production in this year. This river supported a large run of sockeye salmon, chinook and steelhead. It is a large Idaho tributary to the Snake River Dam construction ( Black Canyon, 1923; and numerous smaller dams without fish passage) and irrigated agriculture destroyed the river for salmon and steelhead.
. 1939 Unity Dam is completed on Burnt River, a tributary of the Snake River, 326 miles above the mouth. This dam was completed without fish passage. Its purpose is to provide irrigation water. A watershed of 1200 square miles and is removed form salmon and steelhead production.
. 1939 Walterville Dam on McKenzie River put in service
. 1940 Abiqua Cr., a tributary of the Pudding River had 250 spring chinook adults (Parkhurst
1950). Is this run extinct?
. 1941 Grand Coulee Dam is completed, eliminating 1,100 miles of salmon habitat in the upper Columbia for chinook, sockeye and steelhead. It is estimated that 90% of the sockeye runs in the Columbia were exterminated by this dam. The Spokane River salmon runs were terminated. This was one of the rivers that Livingston Stone identified in 1894 for a hatchery sight due to its strong salmon runs. A massive salmon transplanting effort moved upper Columbia River salmon to tributaries below the dam, believing that this would somehow rescue the runs.
. 1942 Eastern Oregon and Idaho salmon and steelhead streams are surveyed. This U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report published in 1950 evaluates the environmental conditions of rivers for salmon production. This is the first extensive inventory of these watersheds. The early settlement of this area and irrigated agriculture has degraded most watersheds, ruining their value for salmon production. In addition, turn of the century irrigation dam construction by the Bureau of Reclamation eliminated salmon and steelhead runs from most watersheds. These dams were build without fish passage and there was no mitigation for any fish losses. However, some streams still had native runs of summer steelhead and spring chinook. An example is Eagle Creek, a tributary of the lower Powder River in Oregon.
1942 Weiser River, Idaho, still had a few chinook and summer steelhead using it. The biologists recommended that this watershed be saved by screening irrigation diversions and providing fish passage around irrigation dams. The headwaters of this river has a large amount of good spawning gravel.
1939 Fisheries biologist Rich predicts rapid “extermination of a large part of the remaining
runs of Chinooks and bluebacks. (Bottom, 2005)
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. 1944 In September the Hanford Plant begins operation to produce plutonium
. 1945 A study on the population dynamics of salmon spawning in the tributaries of the Columbia River begins with funding by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
. 1946 The Mitchell Act is amended by Congress to permit the Secretary of Interior to enter into agreements with the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho to use their hatcheries to enhance Pacific salmon runs. The Lower Columbia River Fishery Development Program was established which authorized the construction of 31 hatcheries in the Columbia Basin, but only 21 were built.
. 1946 Craig and Townsend observed that spring chinook juveniles moved downstream from February throughout the year. This 0-age juvenile migration was noted in other Willamette R tributaries. It was believed these fish were rearing in the lower Willamette and Columbia rivers. Scale analysis showed that 13.5% (8 out of 59) fish entered the ocean as subyearlings. See 2005 (Willamette, L Col R. TRT 2005)
. 1947 Molalla River run size estimated to be 500 spring chinook (Mattson 1948) In 1903 ODF surveys indicated the Molalla spring chinook run was already dramatically decreased and surveys in 1940 and 1941 recorded 882 and 993 spring chinook respectively, he estimated that the basin could support 5,000 adult spring chinook. (Parkhurst 1950)
. 1947 Mattson (1948) the spring chinook run size in the North Santiam River is estimated to be 2,830 fish. (Willamette, L Col TRT 2005)
. 1948 The McKenzie R historic spring chinook spawning areas included the mainstem McKenzie R, Smith R, Lost Cr., Horse Cr., South Fork, Blue R., and Gate Cr. (Mattson
1948). “Currently the McKenzie River is the only basin above Willamette Falls to sustain any level of natural production” (Willamette, L Col R TRT 2005).
1948 The Middle Fork of the Willamette spring chinook had declined to 60 fish (Mattson 1948).
. 1948 The USFWS (1948) reported that suitable spawning gravel existed in the lower Row River (Willamette R) and Mosby Cr, but spring chinook were exterminated by flash dams constructed during logging operations.
. 1949 Drag seines, traps and set nets are prohibited in Oregon effective Sept. 14, 1950. The salmon wars between gill netters and other harvesters are being won by the gill net fishermen.
. 1949 Lewiston Dam on the Clearwater River in Idaho is built. It is a partial block to steelhead and spring chinook salmon. This dam was taken out in 1972.
. 1950 Parkhurst estimated that there was sufficient habitat in the North Santiam to accommodate at least 30,000 adults.
1950 Parkhurst estimated the Calapooia had habitat for 9,000 spring chinook, but the 1941 run was only 200 adults and Mattson (1948) estimated the run to be 30 fish in 1947. See 1995. (Willamette, L Col TRT 2005)
1950 Parkhurst (1950) estimated the McKenzie R had suitable habitat for 80,000 spring chinook.
1950 Parkhurst estimated that Fall Cr tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette R could support several thousand spring chinook. (Willamette, L Col R. TRT 2005)