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We evaluated the role of major tributary streams for endangered fish recovery using a matrix approach based on quantitative information. However, the need for ranking tributaries for direct and indirect contributions (i.e., assignment of high, medium or low importance) required a more subjective approach. Some streams differed in actual and potential importance because barriers deny fish access to suitable habitat. We have not assigned relative importance to the different types of contributions; to a large extent that may involve policy issues better addressed by the Recovery Program.