CTUIR Fish Habitat Restoration Efforts in the Walla Walla River Basin

The Walla Walla River flows from the northern Blue Mountains into the Columbia River near Wallula, Washington. The river originates at an elevation of nearly 6,500 feet and the Walla Walla watershed covers an area of 1,758 square miles. The majority of the basin (~75%) is located in southeastern Washington with the remainder located in northeastern Oregon.

Historically, the Walla Walla basin supported healthy populations of steelhead, Bull Trout, Chinook Salmon, freshwater mussels, and lamprey. Currently, two fish species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act are present in the basin: Middle Columbia River steelhead (anadromous Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Bull Trout (Salvenlinus confluentus). The last significant run of spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the basin occurred in 1925 and declined until extirpated in the 1950’s.

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Measurable Results

The restoration efforts in the Walla Walla River Basin are substantial. Here are some of our measurable accomplishments:



568 Miles of Stream Flow Improved


21,660 Acre-Feet of Water Protected


Acre-Feet of Water Conserved

11 Miles of Improved Complexity


226 Pool Habitats Created


1,805 In-Stream Structures Installed

349 Floodplain Acres Restored


443 Miles of Fish Habitat Accessed


29 Barriers Removed & Improved

747 Riparian Acres Improved


53 Riparian Miles Improved


80 Riparian Acres Protected

Project Goal

To protect, enhance and restore functional, healthy and sustainable floodplain, channel and watershed process for the purpose of protecting and restoring fisheries and aquatic species in the Walla Walla Basin.

Project Objective

1) identify priority actions; 2) improve watershed function and fish habitat; 3) improve project success through maintenance; 4) measure effectiveness through monitoring and apply learned concepts; and 5) develop partnerships with key agencies and stakeholders.

Project Funders

Funder Funding Amount
Bonneville Power Administration$6,097,604
Snake River Salmon Recovery Board$1,372,695
Floodplains by Design$706,207
Tri State Steelheaders$476,224
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board$213,250
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality$159,900
Department of Ecology$150,000
US Fish & Wildlife Service$117,000
Milton-Freewater Water Control District$92,632
Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council$26,603
US Forest Service$20,219
Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund$10,000
Blue Mountain Land Trust$8,000

Project Partners