"Protecting and Conserving Our Way of Life"
Over 150 years ago, the Nez Perce Tribe signed a treaty with the United States government. In the Treaty of 1855, the Nez Perce retained total fishing rights on all streams and rivers within the boundaries of the original 13.4 million acre reservation that extended outward to “all usual and accustomed places” including the mainstem Columbia River. Tribal ancestors maintained these rights because the once abundant salmon runs were vital to their way of life and future generations. Since then, salmon and steelhead runs have declined to crisis proportions due largely to hydroelectric power developments, habitat degradation, water quality impacts, and over-harvesting.
Today, maintaining a healthy 13-plus million acre watershed and improving survival of salmon and steelhead under the auspices of the 1855 Treaty, rests with the Tribe’s Department of Fisheries Resources Management program. Our vision is to recover and restore all species and populations of anadromous and resident fish within the traditional lands of the Nez Perce Tribe.
The Fisheries program works throughout the ceded lands and has offices in Powell, Red River, Grangeville, Orofino, McCall, Sweetwater, Lapwai and Joseph, OR. We coordinate and interact with State, Federal and Tribal agencies and committees and private entities in assessing and implementing fish recovery and restoration plans. We monitor fish populations and provide recommendations and overview on Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues. We also provide recommendations for restoration and protection of critical habitat for fish populations and protect fish and wildlife resources through conservation actions.