Local extirpations of Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. and steelhead O. mykiss, often due to dams and other stream barriers, are common throughout the western United States. Reestablishing salmonid populations in areas they historically occupied has substantial potential to assist conservation efforts, but best practices for reintroduction are not well established. In this paper, we present a framework for planning reintroductions designed to promote the recovery of salmonids listed under the Endangered Species Act. Before implementing a plan, managers should first describe the benefits, risks, and constraints of a proposed reintroduction.We define benefits as specific biological improvements towards recovery objectives. Risks are the potential negative outcomes of reintroductions that could worsen conservation status rather than improve it. Constraints are biological factors that will determine whether the reintroduction successfully establishes a self-sustaining population.We provide guidance for selecting a recolonization strategy (natural colonization, transplanting, or hatchery releases), a source population, and a method for providing passage that will maximize the probability of conservation benefit while minimizing risks. Monitoring is necessary to determine whether the reintroduction successfully achieved the benefits and to evaluate the impacts on nontarget species or populations. Many of the benefits, especially diversity and the evolution of locally adapted population
segments, are likely to accrue over decadal time scales. Thus, we view reintroduction as a long-term approach to enhancing viability. Finally, our review of published salmonid reintroduction case studies suggests that large uncertainties remain in the success of reintroduction in establishing self-sustaining populations, particularly for programs employing active methods.