With Continued Low Spring Chinook Return
Based on current low passage numbers for Columbia River spring chinook, projected returns to some upriver hatcheries may not meet escapement goals, the Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife departments said Thursday.
Shortages in some hatchery programs may increase the hatchery broodstock needs at other hatchery facilities, the agencies said in a joint staff report updating the spring fishery.
Adult chinook passage at Bonneville Dam through May 14 totaled 39,681 fish, which is the second lowest passage in the last 10 years and 35 percent of the 10-year (2009-2018) average cumulative count (114,531) for this date.
On average, 60 percent of the run has passed Bonneville Dam by May 14 (range: 29%-77%).
"As evidenced by the variability in proportion passage complete by this date, cumulative counts at this time are not a reliable indicator of final passage. The recent 10-year average 50 percent passage date at Bonneville Dam is May 9," said the update.
The U.S. v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met on Monday, May 13 to review information relative to the upriver spring chinook return. Average daily passage of adults at Bonneville Dam improved from 2,202 over the week of April 30 - May 5 to 2,665 during May 16-12.
This year's return will need to be later-timed than average to meet the preseason forecasted return of 99,300 adult upriver spring Chinook to the Columbia River mouth, said the agencies.
Through May 14, Cowlitz and Lewis hatcheries report 416 and 421 adults have returned, respectively.
"Based on current passage, projected returns to some upriver hatcheries may not meet escapement goals. Shortages in some hatchery programs may increase the hatchery broodstock needs at other hatchery facilities," says the update.
Carson National Hatchery escapement needs for hatchery broodstock collection is about 1,500 adult chinook and currently 51 adult chinook have been collected.
Little White Salmon Hatchery escapement needs for hatchery broodstock collection is about 1,000 adult chinook and currently 1,342 adult chinook have been collected. Escapement needs at Carson are expected to be met with surplus broodstock from Little White Salmon Hatchery.
Clearwater River hatcheries escapement needs for hatchery broodstock collection is about 4,700 adult chinook. PIT tag analysis of Clearwater destined fish indicates about 3,500 have passed Bonneville Dam to date.
"Regardless of run timing, there is risk of not meeting 2019 brood goals," says the update.
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery escapement needs for hatchery broodstock collection is about 1,000 adult chinook. No fish have been collected to date. Current PIT passage projections indicate the escapement goal may be met.
Columbia River conditions recently measured at Bonneville Dam are lower and more turbid than recent 5-year averages for this date in May. Current outflow is 308 kcfs (including 120 kcfs spill), which is lower than the recent 5-year average of 327 kcfs. Visibility is 3.0 feet which is less than the average of 3.8 feet. Water temperature currently measures 56° F, which matches the recent 5-year average. The river stage at Vancouver is currently about 8.8 feet and is forecasted to increase to about 10 feet for the coming weekend.
More from the joint staff report:
Science Review Of Salmon Survival Study: Snake River Fish Not Meeting Smolt-To-Adult Return Goals by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 11/4/16
Chinook Returns at Bonneville About One-Quarter Average by CBB Staff, Chinook Observer, 5/3/19
Fisheries Managers Offer Grim Forecast by Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, 1/25/19
Idaho Mulls Scrubbing Steelhead Season by Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, 11/14/18
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