Cooperatove Conservation Project

Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program

Counties Take Joint Action to Conserve Endangered Salmon

Location: Far West Region: California

Project Summary: This program is an innovative local collaboration aimed at the long-term recovery of salmon and steelhead in Northern California.
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For the first time in 50 years, adult salmon can migrate and spawn in tributaries above the fish passage improvement projects. (PHOTO BY ROSS TAYLOR)
Resource Challenge

In 1997, five Northern California counties agreed to collaborate on a proactive response to the listing of salmon under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), forming the Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program (5C). The goal was to contribute to the long-term recovery of salmon and steelhead in Northern California by: 1) looking at options for improving county plans, policies, and practices for providing or enhancing . sh habitat, 2) identifying areas where counties might be vulnerable to challenges under the ESA, and 3) upgrading training programs, monitoring, and reporting procedures.

Examples of Key Partners

Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou, and Trinity Counties; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries; California Departments of Fish and Game, Transportation, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Coastal Conservancy; environmental and non-profit organizations; private consultants.

Results and Accomplishments

The "5C" has effectively capitalized on the technical skills of its participants and leveraged . nancial support from numerous funding sources. The program has become a model for local California governments that need to develop programs to meet ESA regulatory requirements. It has tallied an impressive list of accomplishments in less than 10 years:

  • Completed 39 fish migration barrier removal projects, restoring more than 100 miles of habitat. An additional 9 projects, opening 17 miles of habitat, will be constructed in the summer of 2005, with 9 more projects, opening 19 miles of habitat, being designed or already scheduled for development in 2006. 
  • Completed six pilot sediment reduction projects and scheduled one for 2005.
  • Secured and presently administering more than $3,580,000 in funding.
  • Developing methods to streamline permitting procedures (ESA, Clean Water Act, and California Fish and Game Code).
  • Drafted A Water Quality and Stream Habitat Protection Manual for County Road Maintenance in Northwestern California Watersheds.
  • Kept an estimated 95,200 cubic feet of sediment out of streams via restoration projects.
  • Developed watershed-friendly road designs and training.

Collaboration among the counties has reduced maintenance costs, avoided potential fines, and facilitated resource sharing. Future work will include incorporating land use incentives into county general plans, designing and building storm water retention basins in county facilities, and restoring and enhancing urban streams.


A collaborative, proactive local government approach to endangered species protection and recovery.

Project Contact
Mark Lancaster
5C Program Director
Trinity County Planning Department

530-623-1351 x 5


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