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Native fish

This page contains information on fish species native to Oregon's desert waterways, such as steelhead, chinook salmon, redband and bull trout.

Bull trout
Bull trout.
Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Oregon's desert waterways are home to many diverse and ancient fish populations.  Species such as Lahontan cutthroat trout are uniquely adapted to life in the desert, and are found only in the Great Basin region of Nevada and Oregon. Native fish species are important economically and culturally to the communities of Eastern Oregon, but face threats from habitat degradation, high water temperatures, and competition from introduced fish.

Oregon's John Day River is home to one of the largest populations of all-wild summer steelhead in the United States. Bull trout ply cold, clear waters throughout eastern Oregon.  Both species are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. ONDA works to help protect habitat for steelhead, Chinook salmon and bull trout by organizing riparian restoration projects and protecting important fish habitat through wilderness or wild and scenic river designation.
Summer Steelhead
Summer Steelhead.
Photo: Greg Burke

In 1997, ONDA and several other fish conservation organizations filed a petition with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list Great Basin redband trout as threatened or endangered. In 2000, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided that the species did not currently need federal ESA protection, citing an increase in numbers over recent years.

However, redband trout still face problems of habitat degradation by livestock grazing, irrigation withdrawls, stream channelization, and timber harvest. ONDA continues its dedicated efforts to ensure this and other important fish species persist in our high desert waterways through our work to protect, defend and restore Oregon's native deserts.

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Oregon Natural Desert Association
50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
Bend, OR 97702
Tel: (541) 330-2638

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