Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hatchery Programs Come Front and Center in Debate Over Wild Salmon

The Native Fish Society and the Pacific Rivers Council announced last week that they will sue the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over hatcheries on the Sandy River which they believe are in violation of the ESA. The Sandy is home to ESA listed populations of Winter Steelhead, Coho and Chinook and federal biologists identified hatchery supplementation as one of the most important factors in limiting the productivity of wild salmonids in the basin. Annually ODFW releases nearly 1.5 million hatchery chinook, coho and steelhead into the Sandy to support sport fisheries, however since 1980 wild winter steelhead have declined from approximately 4000 fish to fewer than 1000.

Despite its proximity to the Portland Metro area the Sandy remains one of the most intact large river systems in Oregon and over the last decade the removal of Marmot Dam as well as millions of dollars invested in habitat restoration have set the stage for recovery of wild salmon in the basin. More information in and article from the Oregonian:

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