Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Action Needed: NMFS Accepting Comments on Sandy Hatchery Plans

The Sandy River just outside of Portland is beloved by residents of the region and supports important populations of wild winter steelhead, spring chinook and coho among other species. The river has benefitted from millions of dollars of investment in habitat restoration including the removal of both Marmot and Little Sandy Dams in 2008. Despite this tremendous progress, hatchery programs in the basin continue to depress the productivity of wild salmon and steelhead and wild populations Sandy remain severely depressed. The Sandy can and should be a success story, one where a commitment to recovering wild rivers yields great benefits to wild salmon. But until hatchery programs are either scaled back dramatically or discontinued altogether this cannot and will not happen.

Citing concerns over the impact these hatchery programs are having on ESA listed stocks in the Sandy River, the Native Fish Society has sued the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) in hopes of bringing about changes in the management of hatcheries in the Sandy watershed. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) - a department of NOAA - is currently considering hatchery plans for the Sandy put forth by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). If these plans are accepted by the federal government hatchery management will remain business as usual on the Sandy, wasting an opportunity to recover wild salmon and steelhead in the system.

NMFS is accepting comments on these hatchery plans until July 9th and the Native Fish Society has made an Action Alert, making it extremely easy to submit comments. Please take a minute to fill out the comment form and submit it and tell NMFS and ODFW that we cannot accept the status quo for the Sandy.

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