Coos Bay, OR
The Coos is one of the most diverse watersheds on the Oregon coast—comprised of 390,000 acres of estuary, uplands and urban areas. It is unique for its high proportion of privately-owned land, at greater than 75%. The watershed also supports one of the strongest populations of mid-south coast coho salmon. The Coos Watershed Association was created in 1994 by a group of local stakeholders concerned that, without a proactive intervention, coho salmon would soon be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
In an effort to better understand what was limiting salmon production in the watershed, Association staff conducted scientific investigations of the fish and their habitat and then used this information to direct restoration work where needs were the greatest. After a number of years of completing restoration projects across the watershed, the Association sought to better understand the overall impact and effectiveness of their work.
In 2007, the Coos Watershed Association began a partnership with BEF to build and carry out a long-term program to measure and assess how restoration efforts were affecting river habitat and native fish populations.
BEF assisted the Association in developing a 10-year Model Watershed Program plan. The plan outlines objectives around the general themes of assessment and monitoring, watershed restoration, and community engagement. Through the implementation of this plan the Association hopes to: gain an understanding of the cumulative effects of restoration projects; restore sustainable, fishable populations of coho and other native species by improving freshwater and estuarine rearing conditions; and engage the community to restore the Coos Bay watershed.
The Association is an exemplary Model Watershed Program partner. They bring a commitment to engage local community members and adapt restoration strategies based on measured results. Importantly, they demonstrate a willingness to use innovative approaches to maximize the effectiveness of their ongoing restoration investments.
—Jon Souder, Executive Director of the Coos Watershed Association