John Day River Watershed Restoration Strategy

The John Day River is one of the most critical watersheds for fisheries in the entire Columbia River Basin. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Tribes) and their partners have been successfully completing projects to improve passage, flow, and habitat throughout the basin for several decades. With limited funding and current available resources, the Tribes identified the need to clearly select and prioritize projects based on habitat limiting factors, fish use, and targeted restoration actions through a transparent process.

This Strategy is written for John Day Basin landowners, Tribal partners, and potential funders to proactively identify and fund projects that protect, manage, and restore fish habitat. The John Day Basin is within the Tribes’ ceded lands and supporting restoration efforts to improve fish habitat is an important part of maintaining cultural foods and fish populations, ensuring harvest opportunities for Tribal membership.  The Strategy is being implemented by the John Day Watershed Restoration Program.

The Tribes have outlined several key objectives for this Strategy:

  • Clearly describe fish habitat restoration goals.
  • Use a “protect, manage, and restore” approach for project investment to prioritize ecosystem processes, ongoing land management, and long-term recovery of habitats and fish.
  • Prioritize projects that support and protect the rights retained by the Tribes in the Treaty of Middle Oregon, 1855.
  • Incorporate stakeholder priorities to ensure benefits for landowners and fish habitat.
  • Communicate the mutual “common ground” benefits of restoration work.
  • Utilize a scoring matrix to rank and prioritize project proposals.
  • Monitor project effectiveness, where appropriate, and share outcomes to improve future projects.
  • Update and revisit the Strategy to ensure it reflects the most accurate and up to date knowledge.

We’ve determined that this Strategy, along with our project scoring matrix and proposal process, clearly articulates the Tribes’ goals for fish habitat improvement projects throughout the Basin. If you have any questions on Strategy priorities or project components, please contact our staff at any time.