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Our Program

We monitor Bull Trout, Pacific Lamprey, steelhead, and salmon to evaluate the status of populations and assist with conservation efforts.
Dive surveysNative Fish staff survey for Bull Trout on the upper Entiat River. Photo Credit: Becky Christopherson.

The mission of the Native Fish Conservation Program is working with others to collect, evaluate, coordinate, and disseminate fisheries information to help conserve native fish species and provide science-based management of aquatic resources within the mid-Columbia River region.


We assist with the development and implementation of native fish conservation and restoration plans. Our fish biologists and technicians use several methods to monitor and evaluate population status, trends, survival, productivity, distribution, and life history characteristics of native fish with an emphasis on Bull Trout, Pacific Lamprey, wild Chinook Salmon, and steelhead.

    We monitor the distribution and status of local bull trout populations. The Service uses this information to assess and effectively manage threats and aid recovery of this threatened species.
  • Learn more about our bull trout program...
  • Read about a bull trout project...

    We evaluate the distribution and migratory behavior of Pacific Lamprey to better understand the life history of this declining species and help identify threats to its persistence.
  • Regional Pacific Lamprey page...

    We are one of several partners monitoring salmon and steelhead under the Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) Program in the Entiat River. This program tests the effectiveness of different techniques for monitoring fish populations relative to habitat improvement and stream restoration projects.
  • Learn more about the Interagency IMW Program...

    We provide technical assistance to National Wildlife Refuges in the Mid-Columbia region. Currently we have projects investigating the presence of steelhead at Toppenish NWR and monitoring climate change at Little Pend Oreille NWR.
  • Toppenish NWR...
  • Little Pend Oreille NWR...






Fish Fun Fact

Juvenile lamprey are like underwater earthworms in our streams.
Juvenile Pacific lamprey (called ammocoetes) live in freshwater streams and rivers and streams for up to seven years. During this time, the ammocoetes live burrowed in the soft silt and sand at the bottom of the river where they filter feed on items that drift past (leaves, insects, algae, microbes). Ammocoetes are important to stream health because they cycle nutrients in the water and bioturbate (mix up) and sediments in the river bottoms, much like earthworms do in gardens and fields. Ammocoetes are also a source of food for other fish and birds. So the next time you are walking in the river, wiggle your toes around in the mud, and see if you can find some juvenile lamprey!
Last Updated: December 21, 2017
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