Response Review of Mid-Columbia Coho Restoration Program (Project #1996-040-00)

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At the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s September 25, 2017 request, the ISRP reviewed a response from the Yakama Nation regarding Project #1996-040-00, Mid-Columbia Coho Restoration Project. The response is intended to address ISRP concerns regarding broodstock development and genetic issues raised in the ISRP’s most recent review (ISRP 2017-4). The Master Plan is designed to achieve the Yakama Nation’s long-term vision to re-establish naturally spawning coho populations in mid-Columbia tributaries to biologically sustainable levels that will provide significant harvest in most years.

The ISRP recommends that the project Meets Scientific Review Criteria. The Yakama Nation plans to create and maintain two coho broodstocks, an upriver (Tumwater Falls) and a lower river (Dryden) one. The ISRP and Yakama Nation hope this approach will lead to the creation of a coho population that is adapted to use available habitat in the upper Wenatchee River. In addition, Yakama Nation researchers and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) geneticists discussed and agreed that genetic and life history data can be used to assess the relative performance of fish produced from the upriver and lower river broodstocks in navigating Tumwater Falls, and will likely provide new opportunities to assess and refine breeding and smolt release decisions. The findings from this study could also help to guide other recolonization programs in the Columbia Basin.