John Day River Basin
Home to Wild Waters
Framed by the Ochoco Mountains to its west and the Blue Mountains to its east, the ruggedly beautiful John Day River Basin holds the key to the recovery of several important native fish species.
The John Day River flows freely—absent of dams for 281 miles from the Strawberry Mountains to the Columbia River. It is the second longest free-flowing river in the continental United States and the longest undammed tributary of the Columbia.
The John Day River provides unparalleled habitat for wild steelhead (under endangered species protection), Chinook salmon (proposed for endangered species listing), bull trout ( endangered species listed), westslope cutthroat, and interior redband. For this reason, ONDA works to permanently protect public lands vital to the success of these native fish populations throughout the John Day Basin.
Getting work done! ONDA has worked for decades to restore and protect this area because of the critical habitat it provides fish and wildlife, as well as the captivating experience it offers visitors. These efforts paid off in 2009 with the designation of Spring Basin Wilderness Area, and in 2008 to today with important court rulings protecting fish habitat from ongoing degradation. We continue to work with partners to find new ways to protect this important ecosystem.
Today, ONDA is working to obtain wilderness designations for nearly 100,000 acres of river corridor and upland fish and wildlife habitat. These areas are known as Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven, and Sutton Mountain.
ONDA’s approach to conservation in the John Day is four fold.
- Permanently protect important lands through wilderness designation.
- Work with landowners to facilitate land exchanges between them and federal land management agencies to enable restoration, public access, and improved management practices.
- Address domestic livestock impacts on public lands via voluntary retirement of federal grazing permits and riparian restoration.
- Use strategic legal action to enforce conservation laws.
John Day Wild Salmon Project: Through its John Day Wild Salmon Project, ONDA is working closely with county officials, community leaders and local landowners to protect sensitive public lands in the John Day basin. This effort is focused on providing long-term protection and promoting improved land management practices to support the recovery of native fish and enhance watershed health. The conservation of key public lands will accomplish several strategies of the Mid-Columbia Steelhead Recovery Plan, provide habitat protection and promote riparian restoration. These advances will set the stage for the recovery of native salmon and steelhead trout.
Take Action today to protect and restore the John Day River by giving, becoming an advocate or volunteering. For more information about ONDA's John Day campaigns, contact Ben Gordon, email@example.com, 541-728-3812.