It's a fascinating story in Idaho's effort to save and restore salmon, but in this case, the Nez Perce tribe pulled it off.
"I give the tribe huge credit for being persistent and picking up this coho program and making it successful," Idaho Fish and Game director Virgil Moore said.
Dams built in the early 1900s blocked fish passage into the Clearwater River Basin, and the coho runs in the Snake River dwindled as more dams were added. Between 1984 and 1990, just 12 adult coho crossed Lower Granite Dam about 25 miles downstream from Lewiston, according to fish count records at the dam.
From 1991 to 1996, none returned, and the run was considered extinct.
NEZ PERCE TRIBE GOES TO WORK
Taking coho eggs from hatcheries in the lower Columbia River - and against the wishes of Idaho state officials - the tribe started a hatchery program for coho on the Clearwater River.