Friday, May 27, 2011

WDFW Seeking Comments on Snider Hatchery


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is soliciting a second round of public comments on the Snider Creek broodstock program. The program has for 25 years taken early returning wild steelhead from the Sol Duc River into a broodstock hatchery run by the Forks Guide Association. The contract with the Guide Association for Snider Creek is due to expire in 2011. On average the program takes about 50 wild steelhead annually from the fragile early returning wild run. Throughout its history the program has been plagued by low returns, inconsistent smolt quality, and a high degree of residualization raising concern about its potential impact on the naturally occurring population of early timed winter steelhead in the Sol Duc. WDFW has conducted an analysis of the Snider program showing that on average over its 25 year history only 129 Snider Creek fish have been caught each year. The analysis provides a thorough review of all the state's data on the Snider program as well as a list of potential options.

The four options for the Sol Duc are as follows:

1. Eliminate the Snider Program and discontinue all other hatchery plants designating the Sol Duc as a wild stock gene bank.

2. Relocate Snider Program to the Calawah and designate the Sol Duc a wild stock gene bank.

3. Renew Snider as is

4. Renew Snider with additional requirements

In our view option one holds the most promise for the long term health of steelhead populations in the Quilleyute. Given the growing body of scientific literature documenting the rapid decline in reproductive fitness in wild broodstock fish they do not offer a viable alternative to segregated hatcheries. Furthermore, high levels of residualization and the competition it creates between hatchery residuals and wild parr may dramatically reduce the capacity of the system. The Sol Duc is home to one of the largest populations of wild steelhead in the state making it an ideal location for designation as a wild steelhead gene bank which would protect the genetic integrity and productivity of its wild fish in perpetuity.

While we are encouraged by WDFW's willingness to consider desire to designate the Sol Duc as a wild fish only system, moving the Snider Program to the Calawah doesn't make sense. Wild populations on the Calawah are already subject to the effects of a segregated winter run and a skamania stock summer run program and the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that early timed wild steelhead in the basin are best served by the outright elimination of the Snider Creek program.

WDFW will be hosting a pair of community meetings on the future of the Snider Hatchery

* June 7 – From 6-8 p.m. at the Forks Sportsmans Club, 243 Sportsmans Club Road, in Forks.
* June 9 – From 6-8 p.m. at the WDFW North Puget Sound Regional Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., in Mill Creek.

Comments to the state will be accepted through June 30th and can be sent to

snidercreek@dfw.wa.gov or by U.S. Mail to: Snider Creek, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA, 98563.
Find the news release from WDFW here:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/release.php?id=may2711c

Find WDFW's review of the Snider Program and a list of potential actions here:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01187/wdfw01187.pdf

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I really hope they eliminate the program altogether instead of shifting it to the Calawah or keeping it as is. Basically this is a tool to take WILD steelhead and make their progeny 'hatchery' steelhead so that they can be harvested. There seems to be no biological benefit whatsoever.