the film

Artificial Production and the Effects
of Fish Culture on Native Salmonids

by NW Power Council
Return To The River, January 1, 2000

. . .

Lower Snake Compensation Plan

The Lower Snake River Compensation Plan (LSRCP) was developed to mitigate for the loss of fish and wildlife resources resulting from the construction of Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams. The dams were completed between 1969 and 1975 (Lavier 1976). Planning for the compensation program started in 1966 and was approved by the U. S. Congress in 1976. The McCall Hatchery was the first facility constructed (completed in 1979), followed over the next eight years by several other hatcheries and satellite facilities. Presently, there are twelve hatcheries and eleven satellites employed in the LSRCP (Mighetto and Ebel 1995).

Initially, steelhead increased in abundance as a result of the releases from LSRCP hatcheries and the program was considered successful in terms of its original objectives (Herrig 1990; Mighetto and Ebel 1995). In 1994, the summer steelhead run was the lowest since 1982 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1995) and recently with steelhead numbers following the earlier declines of chinook salmon, LSRCP hatcheries are having difficulty meeting production and smolt release targets due to inadequate numbers of returning adult steelhead (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) 1998). Chinook salmon returns have been well below target levels for some time. The LSRCP hatcheries were originally designed as conventional hatcheries, however in some cases, conventional hatchery operations have evolved into supplementation programs (Messmer et al. 1992). The programs and the supplementation technology are too new to determine if they will be successful (RASP (Regional Assessment of Supplementation Project) 1992; Bowles 1995).

The objective of the Lower Snake River Compensation Program did not include Snake River coho salmon or Snake River sockeye salmon, which were relatively abundant at the time LSRCP was being planned. Relatively few resources were devoted to Snake River fall chinook, with only one of twelve hatcheries being devoted to this life history type. It is worth noting that coho salmon are presently extirpated from the Snake River Basin, sockeye salmon are nearly extinct, and fall chinook are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

. . .

NW Power Council
Artificial Production and the Effects of Fish Culture on Native Salmonids
Return To The River, January 1, 2000

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