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    Author(s): John Kirkland; Rebecca Flitcroft
    Date: 2020
    Source: Science Findings 224. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.
    Publication Series: Science Findings
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.0 MB)


    For decades, federal, state, and nonprofit organizations have been working to restore freshwater habitat for Oregon coastal coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), a species listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Much of the restoration, however, has been done without directly considering the availability and connectivity of seasonally important freshwater habitats.

    Research by Rebecca Flitcroft, a research fish biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, and colleagues reveals that connectivity among different types of freshwater habitat is important for coastal coho salmon. In fact, salmon occupancy in rivers or streams over time is best explained by the level of connectivity among habitat used for spawning, summer rearing, and winter refuge. Juvenile fish benefit when they can move easily among these habitat types.

    Restoration projects that focus on only individual habitat segments may not result in watershed-scale improvements. Targeted restoration that fills habitat gaps may be more effective when diversity, location, and proximity of seasonally important habitats already present in a watershed are considered.

    Resource managers are using these findings to reevaluate how they think about coho salmon habitat, as well as habitat for other species such as trout and beaver.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Kirkland, John; Flitcroft, Rebecca. 2020. Location, location, location: For coho salmon, it’s all about the neighborhood. Science Findings 224. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.


    Coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, habitat, restoration, Oregon, Coast Range, ownership, land use.

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