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3. Non-native and invasive species →

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2. Strongholds


Acknowledge and encourage efforts to designate and conserve stronghold habitats and their populations of native, wild, and natural-origin fish, as well as areas managed for wild fish.


Protecting stronghold areas and associated fish populations may require the least amount of risk and investment to provide the greatest benefits to the program and for sustainable, wild, and natural-origin populations of fish. Based on current understanding, establishing reserves may be critically important to protect the remaining viable wild or natural-origin fish populations and to restore habitat with the potential to re-establish core populations at strategic locations in the basin.


Stronghold areas should have the following characteristics;

  • Be designated by the states and tribes, in accordance with state law  in the state in which they are located
  • Provide the ability to manage for wild or natural-origin fish while minimizing impacts of hatchery fish, except where state and federal fish and wildlife agencies and tribes have determined that populations would decline to the point where supplementation efforts are appropriate to avoid extinction and stabilize native wild or natural-origin stocks
  • Contain relatively intact habitat
  • Provide the opportunity to create genetic strongholds with adequate buffers to shield them from non-native, invasive species
  • Provide a reasonable chance of eradicating non-native, invasive species
  • Be characterized by healthy and abundant fish populations or populations that readily could become healthy and abundant, few invasive species, low risk of habitat degradation, and relatively good ecosystem function
  • Provide the ability to monitor and evaluate the effect on wild native fish and to provide and map non-hatchery reference watersheds for hatchery-wild stream comparisons, and
  • Encompass areas large enough to withstand human disturbances

General measures

The Council will:

  • Request states to identify stronghold areas
  • Consider for stronghold recognition areas designated by states and tribes in accordance with state law
  • Work with fish and wildlife agencies and tribes and others to keep up-to-date maps available for strongholds and other areas in the basin that are managed for wild fish stocks
  • Inventory existing actions that have occurred and are occurring within identified stronghold areas as identified by the respective states of the Council
  • Support fish habitat improvement actions implemented within strongholds
  • Support actions intended to eradicate non-native and invasive species from, or prevent their introduction into, stronghold areas

Link to subbasin plans

See the Council’s subbasin plans for subbasin-level information pertaining to subbasin protections and plans.

Link to other relevant program guidance and sections

Strongholds for native fish populations relate closely to our wild fish, resident fish, fish propagation, and non-native and invasive species strategies.

← 1. Habitat

3. Non-native and invasive species →

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