A recent assessment of the Spokane Tribal Hatchery, which raises trout and kokanee for release into Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam, will serve as a template for similar audits that the Council and the Bonneville Power Administration want to conduct of other hatcheries funded through the Council’s fish and wildlife program. The goal is to better understand the scope of the operations and maintenance commitment for each facility to keep them functioning in the future.
The detailed audit of the Spokane hatchery and its equipment and operations was funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and cost about $55,000. Bonneville, which will fund future hatchery assessments, estimates they will cost less.
Tim Peone, Spokane Tribal Hatchery manager, told the Council at its July meeting, that he was pleased with the BIA’s assessment of the hatchery.
“In a nutshell, it was very clean,” he said. “BIA reviewed the integrity of the facility itself, and in depth.” He said the assessment will help the tribe prepare to negotiate a new funding agreement with Bonneville “to ensure the longevity of the facility.”
He said the tribe is investigating efficiencies including another water source, the cost of utilities, and methods to reuse some of the water used at the hatchery.
Since last October, when the Council adopted the 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program, Council staff have been working with a committee of hatchery experts, the Council’s Independent Economic Analysis Board, Bonneville staff, and the Fish Screening Oversight Committee to develop a long-term operations and maintenance strategic plan to ensure the longevity of program investments like hatcheries. That work is continuing and is part of a larger effort to find cost savings in the fish and wildlife budget to help pay for new initiatives and emerging priorities identified in the program.