Review of Artificial Production of Anadromous and Resident Fish in the Columbia River Basin

Scientific Review Team
Independent Scientific Advisory Board

Ernie Brannon
James Lichatowich
Ken Currens
Brian Riddell
Dan Goodman
Richard Williams
Chip McConnaha, Chair

Program Evaluation and Analysis Section
Northwest Power Planning Council
851 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 1100
Portland, Oregon 97204

Scientific Review Team Independent Scientific Advisory Board

December 9, 1998

Mr. John Etchart, Chair
Northwest Power Planning Council
851 SW 6th Ave., Suite
1100 Portland, OR 97204

Dear Mr. Etchart:

I am pleased to transmit to you the Scientific Review Team's (SRT) first report on the review of hatchery programs in the Columbia River Basin. This version of the report corrects some typographically errors in our November report but is not substantively different. The report includes an historical overview of artificial production within the Basin; a scientific foundation derived from this overview, a review of science and impacts related to artificial production of salmonids, and our recommendations on appropriate measures to take when artificial production is used in the Basin. These recommendations, taken with the results of the analysis phase of this assignment, will constitute our contribution to the development of policy to guide the use of federally funded hatcheries in the future.

Our review is, however, only one of four recent scientific reviews on this topic. Comparing those reviews (NFHRP 1994, ISG 1996, NRC 1996) shows consensus on ten conclusions, of which we also agreed on seven:

  • Hatcheries have generally failed to meet their objectives.
  • Hatcheries have imparted adverse effects on natural populations.
  • Managers have failed to evaluate hatchery programs.
  • Rationale justifying hatchery production was based on untested assumptions.
  • Supplementation should be linked with habitat improvements.
  • Genetic considerations have to be included in hatchery programs.
  • More research and experimental approaches are required.

Those reviews also recommend discontinuing stock transfers and introduction of non-native species, a new role for artificial production in fisheries management, and that hatcheries should be used as temporary refuges rather than for long-term production. In general these are also appropriate for consideration in the Columbia River basin, but realistically some variation may need to occur in specific instances. For example, stock transfers will be used where the endemic stock has been extirpated. Finally, the reviews expressed the conviction that hatcheries can only succeed if the region makes significant changes in hatchery programs. Based on past evidence, such expectation is bereft of proof and will have to be carefully assessed.

In summary, our report concludes that:

  1. Hatcheries have failed to mitigate for the effects of habitat loss and damage in the Columbia River Basin.
  2. Past hatcheries practices have failed to take into account the biological diversity of salmonids and the role of environmental factors in their life history.
  3. Hatcheries will likely continue to have a role in the development and conservation of salmonids in the Columbia River basin, but a radically different production model (objectives and rearing strategies) is needed. Hatcheries should be considered experimental and carefully monitored to minimize impacts on natural populations and for effective management.
  4. Future hatchery practices need to recognize the importance of the genetic structure and diversity in salmonids, the importance of maintaining adaptability to future environmental changes, and how to integrate this production within the emerging ecological framework that is to guide management of resources in the Columbia River.
  5. Hatcheries must be considered in the context of functioning ecosystems. Production from hatcheries can not be considered independent of natural systems. The success of a hatchery program will depend on the fitness of the stock, the quality and constraints of the natural habitat, and how well the hatchery production is integrated with the natural ecosystem.
  6. The region, through the Council, needs to implement a scientifically valid monitoring program for assessment of hatchery procedures, production, impact on natural populations, and achievement of goals. Given the extensive annual investment in hatchery programs within this basin, and the reliance implied on these programs to conserve and enhance salmonid production, we must recommend more quantitative evaluations of production and studies of interactions with natural populations.

The SRT will continue its analysis of hatchery programs and database for the Basin, and expects to finalize our review and recommendations by June 30, 1999.

Sincerely yours,

Chip McConnaha, Chair
Scientific Review Team

(References to the References Cited section in the report)



I. Introduction
A. Scope of the review
B. Artificial production as defined and applied in this review
C. Relationship between this review and development of the Regional Multi-Species Framework

II Historical Overview of Artificial Production
A. Growth of the Program
B. Compensation for Loss of Habitat

III. Scientific Foundation
A. The early conceptual foundation of hatcheries
B. Basic derivations in the hatchery framework
C. The conceptual foundation as an adaptive process

IV. Organization and classification of artificial production
A. Harvest Augmentation
B. Mitigation
C. Determents of Performance

V. Synthesis of recent reviews of artificial production
A. Early Hatchery Evaluations
B. Recent Review Summaries of Independent Panels
C. Relevance of Past Assessments to the Present Task

VI. Impacts Associated with Artificial Production
A. Management Impacts on Artificial Production Effectiveness
B. Genetic Impacts of Artificial Production
C. Ecological Effects of Artificial Production
D. Populations and Production Trends Over time
E. Management Response to Impacts of Artificial Production

VII. Concluding Recommendations
A. Scientific Framework
B. Recommendations

Literature Cited



Figures and Tables


1 The number of juveniles of all salmon species released from hatcheries in the Columbia River (1877-1928)
2 Harvest of chinook salmon and the release of chinook salmon fry and fingerlings from hatcheries in the Columbia Basin (1877-1927)
3 Five-year average of chinook harvest in the Columbia River (1866-1992)
4 Comparison of the seasonal distribution of the chinook harvest in the Columbia River in 1878 (A-daily catch per gill net boat) and 1919 (B-weekly catch of 16 gill net boats and 22 traps)
5 Columbia River Basin state, tribal and federal hatchery locations
6 Relationship between mean incubation temperature and adult return time for chinook salmon 7 Relationship between temperature (oC) and number of days of incubation to alevin yolk absorption
8 Directional preference of post-emergent fry from Chilko and Fraser lakes, in British Columbia, when tested in orientation arena in the absence of velocity
9 Annual run size of pink salmon returning to hatchery and natural production streams in Prince William Sound, Alaska
10 Percent survival of pink salmon fry released from Armin F. Koernig hatchery in Prince William Sound, Alaska
11 Annual run size of sockeye salmon returning to Weaver Creek in British Columbia
12 Chinook salmon annual return to Sooes River, Washington, from hatchery and natural production
13 A comparison of Hood Canal chum salmon releases and subsequent run size
14 A comparison of hatchery releases of Puget Sound 1+ coho with subsequent run size
15 Five-year running average of the total coho salmon harvest in the Oregon Production Index area
16 Dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers
17 Hatchery contribution to Columbia Basin juvenile salmonid emigration
18 The trend in returning anadromous salmonid populations counted over Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River
19 The trend in total return production of returning anadromous salmonid populations to the Columbia River plus commercial landings
20 Chinook salmon returns to the Snake River related to the years when Lower Snake dams were built


1 Major hatcheries that are part of the Columbia River fisheries development program (Mitchell Act Hatcheries)
2 Major hatcheries that are part of the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan
3 Major hatcheries that are part of the Willamette mitigation program
4 Rheotactic response of emerging sockeye fry and hybrid crosses from Chilko and Stellako river incubation areas under laboratory conditions
5 Organization and classification of artificial production

Suggested Citation:
Brannon, E, K Currens, D. Goodman, J. Lichatowich, C. McConnaha, B. Riddell, and R. Williams 1998. Review of salmonid artificial production in the Columbia River Basin. Part I: A scientific basis for Columbia River production programs. Northwest Power Planning Council Report 98-33. Northwest Power Planning Council, Portland, OR.

Part I: A Scientific Basis for Columbia River Production Programs.

I Introduction In July of 1997, the U.S. Senate directed the Northwest Power Planning Council, with the assistance of the Independent Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB), to "conduct a thorough review of all federally funded hatchery programs operating in the Columbia River basin?" with the intent to ensure that Federal dollars are spent "wisely" and "in a cost-effective manner that maximizes the benefits to the fish resource." The Council is to assess the "operation goals and principles of State, tribal and Federal hatcheries..." with regard to the effectiveness of their role in the broader context of fisheries management. The Council is to recommend to Congress a set of policies that would guide the use of Columbia River hatcheries.

In response to the Congressional directive, the Council consulted with the ISAB and appointed a Scientific Review Team (SRT) to provide an independent assessment of the Basin's artificial production program. The SRT includes four members of the ISAB, two additional independent scientists, and a scientist from the Council staff, as chair of the team. The SRT, in turn, will review hatchery programs in the Basin, analyze their effectiveness in meeting mitigation responsibilities, assess their success in enhancing salmonid production, and evaluate their role in supplementation of natural salmon and steelhead runs. The SRT analysis will provide the biological basis for the Council's recommendations to Congress.

In consultation with the Council and regional fishery managers the SRT elected to conduct the analysis as three tasks, the first two of which would occur concurrently, to provide the background and to establish the database pertinent to the analysis. The third step will be the analysis of the hatchery programs and database, and finalizing the report on the results of the study. Each task will be summarized in separate reports to the Council, and integrated into a final report on the conclusions resulting from the analysis. The conclusions emanating from the study will be articulated as recommendations in a proposed conceptual foundation, detailing what the SRT ascertains as the appropriate role for hatcheries in the Basin. Whether or not this conceptual foundation is adopted as the basis for regional hatchery policy, it is imperative that a scientifically based foundation be established as the basis for regional policies regarding artificial production.

The historical background and the final analysis of artificial production are tasks assumed by the SRT. Development of the database to include all past and current records on artificial production in the Basin is a task provided by a separate contractor. This paper represents the results of the first task of the assessment. It provides the SRT's analysis of the history of artificial production, and hatchery evaluations in the Columbia Basin. Hatcheries have been used in the Columbia Basin for specific purposes, including mitigation for habitat destruction by development activities, more recently to supplement natural production, and for salmon conservation using captive broodstock programs. These roles of hatcheries are defined and discussed in this report, and the state of our knowledge on the genetic and ecological effects of hatcheries is presented. The report concludes with a set of recommendations to guide the development of hatchery policy in the Basin.

A. Scope of the Review Artificial production has been used in the Columbia River Basin for many purposes over this century. Although several Basin hatcheries have produced resident species, such as sturgeon and rainbow trout, the primary concern associated with hatchery production addresses almost exclusively anadromous salmonids. Coho and chinook salmon, and steelhead trout, have been the focus of Basin hatchery production, and have been the central species in sport and commercial fisheries management, as well as the objects of recovery measures undertaken in the Basin. Understandably, therefore, the issue facing the Council in developing policy recommendations must address anadromous salmonids as the species of primary importance. However, the results of the analysis will have application to a much broader spectrum of species. Most, if not all, of the scientific information relating to the performance and ecological impacts of anadromous salmonid hatcheries applies equally to the use of hatcheries to produce resident fish, including resident trout, sturgeon, and bull trout. Therefore, in that context, resident fish hatchery policy must also be governed by the same principles in the conceptual foundation that SRT will recommend to the Council for anadromous salmonids. In fact, because resident species do not have the distribution range of salmon and steelhead, and thus are not exposed to the same risks facing anadromous salmonids over their migratory corridor, it is expected that resident species will be very responsive to the principles guiding policy in anadromous salmonid management. The scope of the review, however, will concentrate on artificial production of anadromous salmonids in the Columbia Basin, but with reference to resident species as well where the same technology is applied.

B. Artificial Production as Defined and Applied in This Review Artificial production and hatcheries are generally viewed as synonymous terms in that both refer to the same range of fish culture technologies, encompassing everything from releases of unfed, substrate incubated fry all the way to captive rearing of migrant juvenile salmonids on formulated diets in concrete raceways. Hatcheries are as simple as gravel incubation boxes in which artificially spawned eggs are incubated to enhance production of salmon or trout in tributary streams. Hatcheries are engineered spawning channels in which salmon enter to spawn naturally on graded substrate and controlled flow to enhance egg to fry survival. Likewise, hatcheries include earthen acclimation ponds in which fingerlings are fed before volitionally dispersed into the natural stream for rearing or migration. Hatcheries are also the tray incubator and concrete rearing raceway systems that provide the entire freshwater feed and residence requirements before the fingerlings are released to migrate seaward. It is this latter incubation and rearing hatchery system that is considered the "standard" public hatchery design, and it is this "standard" system being addressed in this review of artificial production in the Columbia Basin.

Columbia River hatcheries were designed around variations of the "standard" incubation and rearing system that has characterized most chinook and coho salmon hatcheries over this century. They generally control the entire freshwater juvenile life cycle, except the migratory passage. Adults are intercepted and spawned artificially, based on a breeding plan that varies from simply multiple females crossed with a composite of two or more males, to a breeding matrix that maximizes maintenance of the variability present. Eggs are usually incubated in trays until hatching or to the point of emergence when yolk stores are nearly exhausted. Some form of substrate is often included in the incubation compartment to reduce alevin activity and prioritize stored energy for growth. At or before the emergence phase, the young fry are placed in troughs or tanks for swim-up and early rearing, and then transferred to raceways for production rearing until they are distributed for release as smolts or presmolts to natural waters. Formulated diets are used throughout rearing, based on nutritional requirements, and fed as mash or graded pellets to accommodate the size of the fish as they grow. The system is well defined in a program to maximize efficiency of operations.

Assessment of performance of these hatcheries understandably is limited within the rather narrow definition of variables in facility design and operations that is common among such facilities. Assessment of the Columbia River hatchery system, therefore, with the more standardized technology among facilities, will expose differences in performance related to management practices as well as that particular technology itself. Such things as the source of fish, release strategies, relative size and condition of smolts, water supplies, location of the facilities, and location on the migratory corridor over the length of the river, will be contributing factors associated with performance. The context of the present evaluation, therefore, will be the relative performance of a particular class of hatcheries within the confines of river conditions in the Columbia Basin, under agency management responsibility. The assessment will thus be an assessment of the policy and location as much as the technology involved.

C. Relationship Between This Review and Development of the Regional Multi-Species Framework As this review is being undertaken, the region is embarking on an ambitious exercise aimed at developing a set of scientifically supportable alternatives for the future of the Columbia River especially as it relates to management of fish and wildlife resources . These alternatives are to be analyzed for their ecological impacts, again based on an explicit conceptual foundation. The conceptual foundation includes a set of scientific principles that define the scientific context for the analysis .

Our examination of the scientific basis for artificial production and its potential ecological impacts are central to development of the regional framework. The conceptual foundation for artificial production that is developed in this review should be consistent with the set of scientific principles that are being used to guide the framework. In this sense, a conceptual foundation for artificial production is a refinement of the more general framework, and serves to focus the principles specifically on how artificial production should be used. It is our belief that a scientifically supportable foundation, such as that suggested by the framework and potentially refined by our assessment, should be the basis for development of policies in the broader context of fisheries management. To that end, the scientific basis and rationale associated with artificial production in the Basin will form an alternative template on which future options in management can be integrated in the ecological framework. Variations in the template consistent with the scientific principles, are primarily matters of how and to what degree the options will be applied in the framework. The products forthcoming as the scientific rationale for integration with the ecological framework are the SRT recommendations that represent the conceptual foundation for future artificial production in the Basin.

II Historical Overview of Artificial Production

A. Growth of the Program
Spencer Baird, the U. S. Fish Commissioner, set the stage for the arrival of artificial propagation in the Columbia Basin. In a report he completed in 1875, Baird listed the threats to the continued productivity of Pacific salmon in the Columbia Basin -- dams, habitat change and over harvest -- and he recommended artificial propagation as the solution to those problems. According to Baird, an investment of 15 to 20 thousand dollars in artificial propagation would make salmon so abundant that there would be no need for restrictive regulations (Baird 1875). Given his scientific background, Baird's endorsement of hatcheries in 1875 is puzzling.

The first hatchery for Pacific salmon had been opened in the Sacramento River just three years earlier in 1872, so the first brood of artificially propagated chinook salmon had not yet returned as adults. Baird had no credible scientific information upon which to base his recommendation. However, the concept of maintaining and increasing the abundance of salmon through artificial propagation was consistent with the prevailing ideology. For example, the belief that hatcheries could eliminate the need for restrictive regulations supported the laissez-faire access to natural resources which was a policy the public supported and the government encouraged. It's clear Baird's endorsement had social and political roots rather than scientific. From this rather inauspicious start, hatcheries quickly became the preferred approach toward maintaining salmon production.

The first hatchery in the Columbia Basin was a joint venture composed of private capital, largely from cannery operators, and expertise supplied by the U. S. Fish Commission. In 1877, Baird sent Livingston Stone to Astoria to meet with the board of directors of the Oregon and Washington Fish Propagating Company (OWFPC). The company had raised $31,000 to build and operate a hatchery and Stone was one of the few individuals on the West Coast with experience in artificial propagation. (Stone 1879; Hayden 1930). Stone selected a site on the Clackamas River, built the hatchery building, racked the stream, and supervised its initial operation. OWFPC closed the hatchery in 1882. In 1888, it was leased to the State of Oregon and reopened (OSBFC 1888; Cobb 1930). After 1888, there would never be another year in which the reproduction of salmon in the Columbia Basin was entirely natural.

By 1928, 15 hatcheries were operating in the Basin and a total of 2 billion artificially propagated fry and fingerlings had been released into the river (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The number of juveniles of all salmon species released from hatcheries in the Columbia River (1877-1928). (Cobb 1930)

Because chinook salmon, especially the spring and summer races, made the highest quality canned product and brought the highest prices, fishermen targeted that species in the early fishery (Craig and Hacker 1940). The early hatchery program also focused exclusively on the chinook salmon (Figure 2); however, when the abundance and harvest of chinook salmon began to decline, the fishery switched to other species and that switch was mimicked by the hatchery program. Coho salmon and steelhead were propagated in hatcheries beginning about 1900; chum and sockeye salmon were propagated about a decade later (Cobb 1930).

The chinook harvest appeared to enjoy a period of relative stability from 1889 to 1920 (Figure 3). However, later analysis clearly demonstrated that the apparent stability was an artifact of significant qualitative shifts in the fishery (Figure 4). In fact, the prime spring and summer runs were in decline and to maintain the catch, the fishery had shifted to fall chinook (Thompson 1951). Following 1920, the decline in all races of chinook salmon was obvious.

Figure 2. Harvest of chinook salmon and the release of chinook salmon fry and fingerlings from hatcheries in the Columbia Basin (1877-1927). (Beiningen 1976; Cobb 1930)

Figure 3. Five year average of chinook harvest in the Columbia River (1866-1992). (Beiningen 1976; ODFW & WDF 1993)

In their contemporary analysis of salmon harvests, competent biologists like Willis rich were deceived by the aggregated catch statistics: "the chinook salmon has held up remarkably well..." in spite of an intense fishery, "but the record since 1920 is one of constantly decreasing catches" (Rich 1948). He attributed the resiliency of chinook salmon and the apparent stable harvest to hatchery programs. Rich admitted that he had no evidence that hatcheries were in fact supplementing the production of chinook salmon. However, he believed it was "quite possible that there is a causal relationship that we do not understand between intensive artificial propagation and the resistance to exploitation that the species [chinook salmon] has shown" (Rich 1941).

Rich's positive speculation regarding benefits of hatcheries like Spencer Baird's earlier recommendation is curious because he had completed the only study of the effectiveness of artificial propagation in the Columbia Basin. In that study Rich concluded, "that there is no evidence obtainable from a study of the statistics of the pack and hatchery output that artificial propagation has been an effective agent in conserving the supply of salmon. The writer wishes again to emphasize the fact that the data here presented do not prove that artificial propagation may not be an efficient measure in salmon conservation. These data prove only that the popular conception, that the maintenance of the pack on the Columbia River is due to hatchery operations, is not justified by the available science" (Rich 1922).

During the 1930s and 1940s, questions about the efficacy of artificial propagation combined with budget problems during the depression resulted in many hatchery closures. Given their poor prior performance, hatcheries would not have played a big a role in salmon management in the Columbia River, following World War II (CBFWA 1990), except for the fact that rapid construction of mainstem dams required a mechanism to address the impact anticipated on fisheries. Artificial propagation was once again chosen to compensate for development even though scientific support for that decision was lacking.

Figure 4. Comparison of the seasonal distribution of the chinook harvest in the Columbia River in 1878 (A daily catch per gill net boat) and 1919 (B weekly catch of 16 gill net boats and 22 traps). (Source: Thompson 1951)

Prior to 1960, hatcheries in the Columbia River contributed little to the overall salmon production (CBFWA 1990). After that date, with the development of better disease treatment, more nutritious feeds and better hatchery practices, survival from smolt to adult improved dramatically. However, the ability to produce large numbers of hatchery adults created a new set of management problems. Those problems and the performance of the hatchery program after 1960 are the subject of the analyses carried out in Sections V and VI of the overall report.

B. Compensation for Loss of Habitat
Most of the hatcheries built during this century were intended to mitigate for the impact of human activities (National Research Council (NRC) 1996). Since the construction of Grand Coulee Dam, most of the growth in the hatchery program in the Columbia River has been tied to mitigation for the construction of the Basin's hydropower system. Many of the mitigation hatcheries are part of specific programs including:

Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project - The first major hatchery program designed to compensate for hydroelectric development in the Columbia Basin was the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project. Construction of Grand Coulee Dam blocked access to 1400 miles of salmon habitat (Fish and Hanavan 1948). Salmon production above the dam has been estimated to have been 21,000 to 25,000 thousand fish (Calkins et al. 1939). This included some of the largest chinook in the Columbia River, the so-called "June Hogs".

With a height of 500 feet, Grand Coulee Dam was too high to successfully pass salmon via a ladder or elevator. Salmon managers considered the construction of a hatchery immediately below the dam, but engineering problems made an alternative necessary. The final plan had three key elements: 1) adult salmon and steelhead were trapped in the ladders of Rock Island Dam from 1939 to 1943 and the fish taken to holding areas; 2) some adults were released into tributaries below Grand Coulee Dam and allowed to spawn naturally; and 3) the remaining fish were held and spawned at Leavenworth hatchery. The streams that received the transplanted fish were Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan rivers and Lake Osoyoos (Fish and Hanavan 1948).

The results of the fish maintenance program were evaluated by comparing the contribution of relocated stocks to the Columbia River escapement above Bonneville Dam before and after the Grand Coulee cut off salmon migration. Counts at Rock Island Dam were used as estimates of the escapement of relocated stocks. Based on this analysis, Fish and Hanavan (1948) regarded the Grand Coulee Salmon Salvage Program a success. However, twenty-four years later Ricker (1972) gave a more pessimistic appraisal of the program and concluded that it salvaged nothing. More recently, Mullan et al. (1992) concluded that the fish maintenance program conserved the genetic diversity of the salmon stocks in the area.

An examination of the historical record combined with an analysis of allelic variation in the chinook salmon led to the conclusion that the large-scale capture, mixing and relocation of chinook salmon stocks above Rock Island Dam permanently altered the population structure and was the genesis of the present stock structure of salmon in the mid-Columbia (Utter et al. 1995). Grand Coulee mitigation is implemented through Entiat, Methow, and Leavenworth hatcheries.

Lower Columbia River Fishery Development Program - The initial Lower Columbia River Fishery Development Program (LCRFDP), was strongly influenced by the concepts and design of the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project. Originally, LCRFDP had an implementation life of 10 years, however, the program, with some modifications has continued to the present. The program is closely associated with the Mitchell Act, the enabling legislation that permitted federal cost sharing at state hatcheries. As the title suggests, the program's initial objective was to concentrate salmon production in the lower Columbia River below McNary Dam. At the time, it was believed that the construction of McNary Dam and the other proposed dams in the upper Columbia and Snake rivers would eventually eliminate salmon in the upper basin. In 1956, Congress changed the purpose of the LCRFDP by adding fishery restoration above McNary Dam and the word "Lower" was dropped from the program title (Delarm et al., 1987).

The original LCRFDP had six principal parts:

1) Remove migratory obstructions in the tributaries to the lower Columbia River. This part of the program included stream clearance work that removed large woody debris and probably reduced habitat quality in some streams;
2) Clean up pollution in major tributaries like the Willamette River;
3) Screen water diversions to prevent the loss of juveniles in irrigation ditches, and construct fishways over impassable barriers in the tributaries of the lower Columbia River;
4) Transplant salmon stocks from above McNary Dam to the lower river;
5) Expand the hatchery program by rebuilding existing hatcheries or new facilities; and
6) Create salmon refuges by setting aside the lower river tributaries exclusively for the maintenance of salmon and steelhead runs (Laythe 1948).

Stream clearance was consistent with management understandings and attitudes at the time, (e.g., WDF 1953), but it is no longer practiced unless the obstruction presents a complete unnatural block to migration. The relocation of stocks from the upper to the lower river followed the approach used in the Grand Coulee program. Artificial propagation was one of six parts of the program, but within a few years it became the dominant part (Lichatowich et al. 1996). In 1986, 79% of the program budget was expended on the hatchery program and about 10% on habitat improvement and screening of irrigation ditches. Today 20 hatcheries are supported through Mitchell Act Funds (Table 1). The original goal of the LCRFDP was to maintain a harvest of about 32 million pounds of anadromous salmonids from the Columbia River (Laythe 1948). However, it was conceded that this might not be possible.

Table 1. Major hatcheries that are part of the Columbia River fisheries development program (Mitchell Act Hatcheries). (Neitzel 1998, personal communication Steve Smith NMFS and Rich Berry ODFW)

Facility Name Agency First Year Operated
Beaver Creek Hatchery
Big Creek Hatchery
Bonneville Hatchery
Cascade Hatchery
Clackamas Hatchery
Eagle Creek NFH
Elokomin Salmon Hatchery
Fallert Creek Hatchery
Grays River Salmon Hat.
Kalama Hatchery
Klaskanine Hatchery
Klickitat Salmon Hatchery
Little White Salmon NFH
North Toutle Salmon Hat
Oxbow Hatchery
Ringold Springs Hatchery
Sandy Hatchery
Skamania Hatchery
Spring Creek NFH
Washougal Salmon Hat.

Mid-Columbia Mitigation - Construction of the five mid-Columbia projects (Priest Rapids, Wanapum, Rock Island, Rocky Reach and Wells) eliminated 149 miles of mainstem habitat from Chief Joseph Dam to the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam. Spawning and rearing habitat was lost from the production of several thousand fall and summer chinook in this reach (NPPC 1986) with additional impacts to the survival of downstream migrating salmon produced in tributaries above Priest Rapids.

Mitigation programs in the mid-Columbia evolved in three phases. The first phase was the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project described above. From 1961 to 1967, four hatcheries and a satellite facility were constructed to mitigate for mainstem habitat inundated by five PUD projects. This second phase, originally consisted of three spawning channels (Priest Rapids, Turtle Rock and Wells) and two conventional hatcheries (Rocky Reach and Chelan). The spawning channels were later converted to conventional hatcheries. Implementation of the third phase began in 1989 and is composed of the Methow hatchery and two satellite ponds, the Eastbank Hatchery with five satellites, and Cassimer Bar Hatchery. This phase is intended to mitigate for juveniles produced in the tributaries that are lost in passage past Wells and Rock Island Dams.

Lower Snake River 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. Construction of these dams eliminated 137 miles of mainstem fall and summer chinook habitat and the annual production from that reach. The dams also impacted survival of downstream and upstream migrating salmon produced upstream from Ice Harbor.

The Lower Snake River dams were completed between 1961 and 1969 (Lavier 1976). Planning for the program began in 1966, Congress gave its approval in 1976, and the first hatchery (McCall) was completed in 1979. Over the next eight years, several other hatcheries and satellite facilities were constructed. Presently, there are nine hatcheries funded under the LSRCP (Table 2). The LSRCP hatcheries were originally designed as conventional hatcheries, however in some cases, conventional hatchery operations have evolved into supplementation programs (e.g., Messmer et al. 1992).

The Lower Snake River Compensation Program did not include production objectives for Snake River coho salmon or Snake River sockeye salmon. Few resources were devoted to Snake River fall chinook with only one hatchery being devoted to this race at Lyons Ferry. Coho salmon populations are presently extirpated from the Snake River Basin, sockeye salmon are nearly extinct, and under the Endangered Species Act fall chinook are listed as endangered. The adult return goals for the Lower Snake River Compensation Program include: 18,300 fall chinook, 58,700 spring/summer chinook, and 55,100 summer steelhead (Herrig 1998).

Table 2. Major hatcheries that are part of the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan. (Neitzel 1998, Herrig 1998)

Facility Name Agency First Year Operated
Clearwater Hatchery
Hagerman NFH
Irrigon Hatchery
Lookingglass Hatchery
Lyons Ferry Salmon Hatchery
Magic Valley Hatchery
McCall Hatchery
Sawtooth Hatchery
Wallowa Hatchery

Other Mitigation Programs - Other mitigation programs include the Willamette Basin, Native American hatcheries, and private industry. Five hatcheries mitigate for dams constructed in the tributaries of the Willamette Basin (Table 3). The program is funded by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Native American hatcheries also operate in the Basin. The Nez Perce Tribe has a spring water fed hatchery developed on Sweetwater Creek near Lewiston, Idaho, and the Yakama Tribe has a large state-of-the-art hatchery located on the Yakima River at Cle Elum, Washington.

Table 3. Major hatcheries that are part of the Willamette miti-gation program. (Neitzel 1998)

Facility Name Agency First Year Operated
Leaburg Hatchery
Marion Forks Hatchery
McKenzie River Hatchery
South Santiam Hatchery
Willamette Hatchery

Several hatcheries have been financed by private industry to mitigate for loss of salmon and steelhead habitat by the construction of dams. Some of the main projects are listed below:

  • The effects of dams constructed in Hells Canyon by the Idaho Power Company are mitigated through four hatcheries operated by Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
  • On the Deschutes River, Round Butte Hatchery mitigates for the construction of Pelton and Round Butte Dams by Portland General Electric Company.
  • Two hatcheries on the Cowlitz River mitigate for dams constructed by Tacoma City Light.
  • Two hatcheries on the Lewis River are funded by PacifiCorp to mitigate for hydroelectric development on the Lewis River.

As demonstrated by the history of artificial production in the Columbia River system, there has been extensive variation in how hatcheries have been applied to address needs of fisheries management. In the earlier years, the basis on which hatcheries were developed was opinion and adherence to a popular concept for increasing the magnitude of salmon runs. As hatchery programs developed better technology over the years, there were concomitant changes in what constituted hatchery management policy, and changes in the extent to which biological rationale influenced that policy. There have been differences in the quality of hatchery fish, and improvements in the survival performance of fish released from hatcheries, but also a performance that has been highly variable among hatcheries. It is instructive, therefore, to look at the evolution in the role of science as the hatchery concept has developed, concurrently with the history of hatcheries on the Columbia.

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