Founded by Tom Pero and Pete Soverel in 1992 as a non-profit, the Wild Salmon Center (WSC) has progressed from being a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers for five years to an international conservation organization that works with governments, businesses, and communities as well as other non-profit entities in several countries. From its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, the WSC maintains a strong conservation presence in several areas including Japan, Russia, British Columbia, Alaska, California, and Oregon.
In 1998, Guido Rahr was hired as Executive Director – and thus WSC became an even stronger presence in wildlife conservation. Rahr introduced the stronghold strategy, which he developed during his stint at Oregon Trout, also a conservation organization.
The WSC rapidly expanded when its budget increased from $631,000 in 1999 to $8 million in 2010. Today, the non-profit international environmental organization is dedicated to the protection and conservation of wild salmon, trout, and char as well as the ecosystems where these fishes depend on for their survival.
The Conservation Angler was established as an organization within the WSC in 2003 with its main job being to implement the ecotourism programs. The WSC was then able to focus exclusively on conservation including the science involved in it, such as the State of the Salmon program.
The said science-based program, which was created in collaboration with Ecotrust in 2003, uses data collected from the wild in tracking the health, trends and movement of wild salmon populations. The data will then be used as information in salmon conservation and management across the Pacific Rim area.
The WSC adopted the stronghold strategy in 1999 when Rahr entered its fold. Basically, this is a regional and international approach wherein salmon strongholds are identified so that effective, efficient, and proactive conservation solutions can be applied.
The organization has racked up several achievements since its creation. These include the implementation of projects in habitat protection, scientific research, and fisheries improvement in dozens of rivers across its coverage areas; the distribution of more than $50 million in grants; and the creation of eight conservation organizations as well as the protection of over 8 million acres of fish habitats, among others.