A Report on the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement ESSB 5421
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A Report on the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement ESSB 5421

Category: Licensing and Permits

Date Published: December 01, 2014

Number of Pages: 9

Author(s): John Walter (Editor)


The Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement began with a grassroots effort by a handful of individuals in the Upper Columbia Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group to establish a means by which dedicated funding would be used to maintain and to the extent possible increase recreational fishing opportunity in the upper Columbia. The Endorsement Stamp proposal was subsequently expanded by the legislature to include the entire Columbia River and select tributaries. Specifically, the fee is intended to support fishery management activities, including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting, and enforcement. The annual endorsement was one of several license fee changes approved by the Legislature in 2009 that helped offset a portion of the $30 million cutback in the 2009-2011 budget for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Without the financial support this citizen proposed endorsement has generated, WDFW would not have been able to maintain many of the fishery opportunities recreational anglers have available to them in the Columbia River Basin.


The Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE) program was established by the Legislature in 2009 with the fee effective April 1, 2010 for the 2010-2011 license year. The legislation requires all anglers 15 years of age and older who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and select tributaries to purchase an endorsement (currently $7.10 for age 15, 70+, and disabled veterans, and $8.75 for all others). Funds generated from this fee are intended to “facilitate continued and, to the maximum extent possible, improved recreational salmon and steelhead selective fishing opportunities on the Columbia river and its tributaries by supplementing the resources available to the department to carry out the scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting, enforcement, and other activities necessary to provide such opportunities.” (ESSB 5421, sec 2). The CRSSE is administered by the WDFW; however, the legislation also created the Columbia Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Anglers Board (CRSSRAB) which advises and makes recommendations to the WDFW regarding program activities and expenditures. CRSSRAB is a citizen based recreational fishing panel made up of 6-10 individuals (presently nine are serving) appointed by the director of WDFW. The CRSSRAB currently meets twice a year to review and discuss funding proposals, review expenditures, and to ensure expected revenue can meet funding requests.

As of June 2014, more than 933,843 endorsements have been sold since 2010, generating over $7,003,825 in revenue with a conservative estimated maintained or increased angler opportunity of 1,060,344 angler days. The economic benefit to the State and local economies is estimated at $61,500,000 (approximately $87,000,000 if adjusted for inflation).