The purpose of reintroduction is to return lost salmon and steelhead into blocked areas, or to re-establish populations in watersheds accessible for anadromy but where the native population had been extirpated or the risk of extirpation is very high. A successful reintroduction approach would result over time in anadromous fish that are viable in areas where they were previously located and that meet harvest and habitat goals and objectives identified by the agencies and tribes.
Strategies to initiate a reintroduction may involve live trapping and translocation of fish, or introduction of hatchery-reared juveniles. Reintroduction would use fish of local origin, if available. Initial reintroduction may be followed by hatchery supplementation with progeny of adults returning in-basin used as broodstock. In areas where anadromous fish have been extirpated due to the construction and operation of hydropower facilities and it is not yet possible to reintroduce anadromous fish successfully, hatchery supplementation of a substitute species may be part of the mitigation strategy, along with habitat improvements to support natural production of native resident species.
- Ecological and genetic interactions such as competition for food and space, straying, predation, and disease that have the potential to adversely affect existing native fish must be considered as part of an anadromous fish reintroduction program. If substitute non-anadromous fish are to be introduced, then ecological interactions must be consistent with native fish goals.
- The use of hatchery fish for replacement or substitution purposes must occur within the context of the program’s anadromous fish mitigation in the blocked areas strategy. All ongoing or new substitution projects that involve or might involve a non-native species should follow the program’s non-native fish strategy.
- Standards that apply to either segregated or integrated programs may also apply to reintroduction and replacement programs as circumstances and ultimate purposes require.
- Feasibility to re-establish salmon and steelhead populations in all areas within the basin where they have been extirpated should be assessed and programs for re-establishment considered where deemed feasible.
- Bonneville shall locate and operate hatcheries to re-establish salmon and steelhead where they have been extirpated, and substitute for extirpated salmon and steelhead in blocked areas.
- The goals, objectives, timelines, benchmarks and experimental framework for reintroduced populations will be developed by the agencies and tribes and submitted to the Council.