Proposal for Re-introduction of Chum Salmon
(O. keta) in Lower Columbia River Oregon Tributaries
February 13, 2007
Submitted to: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Recovery Planning Team
Submitted by: Tod Jones, et. al.
Re-introduction of Chum Salmon in Oregon
Chum salmon have been documented in thirty or more tributary streams in the Lower Columbia River from near the mouth, Skipanon River up to and including the Sandy River and even above Bonneville Dam. With minor exceptions, all the Oregon tributaries have been extirpated of this species with drastic declines in abundance occurring in the early 1940’s and continuing on to the late 1990’s. Occasional small numbers of chum show up in tributaries to Youngs Bay and more recently in Big Creek, a few miles up river from Youngs Bay. This proposal seeks to re-establish self-perpetuating runs of chum salmon in a significant number of the approximate thirty streams that once supported viable chum populations.
The principal elements of re-introduction include but are not limited to:
• Establishing a modest research/supplementation/restoration hatchery on a non-anadromous, pathogen free water source approximately mid point in the LCR.
• Obtaining eggs from either returns to Big Creek, from Grays River Hatchery on the Washington side or a combination of both for the first four years of the program.
• Generating a return of fish to maintain a core release of two million otolith marked two gram fry.
• When sufficient “surplus” gametes are available, out plant into selected reaches of chosen streams once known to support chum populations and with the greatest likelihood to again support chum. Use of “Salmon Egg Planter” to maximize egg-to-fry survival.
• During the eight to twelve years needed to develop surplus gametes, intensive analysis of each tributary for hyporheic zone habitat to determine feasibility of planting eyed eggs for jumpstarting re-introduction. Use riffle probe to measure gravel permeability and irrigation values.
• Identifying likely adult spawning sites based on gravel quality and upwelling ground water.
• Tracking of swim-up fry from river through estuary to determine feasibility of program. Cap redds in some systems, use of out-migrant screw traps in other systems where appropriate.
• Monitoring and evaluating each tributary planted to detect success of adult returns. Recovery of otoliths from spawn carcasses for program evaluation.
• Expanding the program based on new knowledge gained to streams that may be marginal in habitat quality.
• Enlisting collaborative processes between landowners, watershed councils, STEP groups, educational institutions and agencies, a) to provide a melding of best possible science with supportive stakeholders and b) to accomplish the establishment of chum runs at modest cost.
This proposal would be funded primarily by private sources however, it would engage and encourage other funding sources to insure high quality research, monitoring and evaluation.
Details of any and all aspects of this brief proposal are available and would be fully described in a formal Hatchery Genetics Management Plan and would operate under a “Cooperative Hatchery” structure with specific details vetted with Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Estimated project duration would be 30 to 50 years.
Details about technology proposed for stream surveying, egg planting and egg incubation may be viewed on the following website; www.ared.net
|Restoration measure for lower Columbia River chum salmon should incorporate strategies for Hamilton Creek (just downstream of Bonneville dam) that provide local water supplies to support recovery. This would be more cost effective than using FCRPS storage reservoirs (Grand Coulee and others) to augment Bonneville discharges during late fall and winter. The resulting water savings would be available to mitigate the impacts of other program measures on resident fish in storage reservoirs.