Salmon at
The Nature Conservancy

The Salmon Program

The Nature Conservany's (TNC) Salmon Program aims to restore California Coho salmon and wild Chinook salmon and steelhead trout populations to sustainable and fishable abundance by incentivizing public and private investment in salmon habitat protection and restoration where there is the greatest potential to incears numbers of wild fish.

A Significant Environmental & Monitoring Challenge

In the absence of comprehensive monitoring of coastal California salmon and steelhead populations, their extent is relatively unkown to Californias.  Available coastal population data shows that despite having been the focus of restoration and recovery efforts over the past 30 years, wild salmon and trout  populations remain a fraction of their historical numbers. Furthermore, we lack the information needed to assess the impacts of restoration activities on fish numbers and ability to lean and improve future management and restoration efforts.  

Solutions for Restoration & Recovery

In California, the future of salmon conservation largely rests with timber companies, ranchers, and other private landowners. The majority of land abutting wild salmon streams is privately owned: even with government and non-profit allies, salmon will not be recovered without private partners. By both demonstrating innovative restoration strategies, and actively removing barriers to private inv, the Conservancy’s California Salmon Program is developing promising avenues for widespread restoration that have broad implications for recovery in the state and beyond.

Visit The Nature Conservancy website to learn more about our recent innovations and successes in California salmon recovery.

Coho HELP Act

The Nature Conservancy identifies policy opportunities that can remove landowner dis-incentives in order to make it easier for private landowners or other conservation organizations to replicate the type of restoration we have piloted on the ground. An example of this is Assembly Bill 1961 (Huffman – Coho HELP Bill). Working in partnership with Trout Unlimited and California Trout, we worked with Assembly Member Jared Huffman to streamline the permitting process for small habitat restoration projects for private landowners like timber companies. AB 1961 passed the legislature in August 2012, with broad bi-partisan support. It was signed by Governor Brown into law on September 25, 2012. Now that it's signed, The Conservancy and its partners are working with timber companies and other private landowners to expedite projects on the ground, like the wood project at the Garcia River Forest, to move restoration actions forward expeditiously and effectively to recover salmon in California.

Visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Coho HELP Act webpage to learn more.


The Nature Conservancy is developing innovative planning tools to direct prioritized public and private investment in salmon recovery. The Nature Conservancy’s science team analyzed current Chinook, coho salmon, and steelhead trout population and habitat data across California to identify a portfolio of places we call the SalmonScape. View SalmonScape report.

SalmonScape identifies areas in California with the greatest potential for habitat restoration and protection, and where wild salmon also have the best chance of survival. Focusing resources in these priority watersheds will help maximize return on restoration and habitat protection investments. View SalmonScape map.