Friday, July 26, 2013

Columbia Science Panel Remains Critical of Klickitat Hatchery Expansion

It has been two years now since the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) was issued for the Yakama Nation's proposed expansion of hatchery operations in the Klickitat River basin. While a final EIS has yet to be issued, significant concerns arose, both from the conservation community, and from the Columbia River Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) about the potential impacts of the proposed hatchery expansion. This spring, the ISRP issued its latest review of the hatchery plan on the Klickitat, and raised significant concerns over the ongoing and proposed steelhead hatchery programs. 

More information is needed on how a balance between conservation and harvest objectives will be achieved. There is not enough information to conclude that the proposed segregated steelhead hatchery can be operated in a manner that protects and conserves the ESA-listed natural populations in the Klickitat. 

The Klickitat has some of the best habitat in the Middle Columbia DPS, however wild steelhead and spring chinook populations in the basin remain depressed, likely below 10% of historic abundance. Data collected by the Yakama Nation has repeatedly shown high numbers of hatchery fish are spawning in the wild among native ESA listed summer steelhead. This serves to depress the productivity, abundance of the wild stock and undermines the evolutionary legacy of wild populations forged over thousands of years in the Klickitat watershed. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. 

See the ISRP review:

Our full comments on the DEIS from 2011:

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