Thursday, August 18, 2011

Elwha Hatcheries on OPB

Lower Elwha Hatchery to restore fish stock from EarthFix on Vimeo.

A interesting story today by Oregon Public Broadcasting on the Elwha dam removal and the plan to use hatcheries as part of the restoration strategy. While the article has some of the run of the mill feel good back patting on how hatcheries will "reseed" the upper watershed above the dams it also highlights a philosphical divide that exists even within the tribe. The article quotes Mike McHenry of Elwha Fisheries as saying that Chambers Creek Steelhead; a non-native stock which will continue to be released throughout the dam removal, are poorly suited to recolonizing the watershed. However those who want harvest opportunities in the short term following dam removal have thus far managed to keep the Chambers Creek program in place.

It also quotes Fred Utter, a poineering fisheries geneticist at UW as saying of the Chambers Creek stock, "by no means should ever be used as a fish to restore natural populations in the Elwha. I think that would be a serious mistake."

NOAA, WDFW and the other agencies involved have echoed the sentiment of Utter in letters written to the Elwha tribe but have thus far gotten little traction. Read the article here:

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