At the Council’s July 24, 2012 request, the ISRP reviewed the Yakama Nation’s Master Plan titled Yakima Subbasin Summer and Fall Run Chinook and Coho Salmon Hatchery Master Plan, a component of Project 1988-115-25, Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project, Design and Construction. This is a Step 1 review in the Council’s Three Step Review Process. Step 1 is the feasibility stage, and all major components and elements of a project should be identified. This review focuses on the Tribes’ responses to the Step 1 scientific review elements specified by the Council.
As described in the Master Plan, the Yakama Nation proposes to implement hatchery strategies that will contribute primarily to harvest and secondarily to cultural/conservation goals identified for Yakima coho and summer and fall Chinook. No substantial new production is proposed, according to the proposal. Two Chinook hatchery programs with distinct and separate purposes are proposed. One addresses the goal of reestablishing a locally adapted, naturally spawning summer/fall Chinook population in the Yakima River upstream of Prosser Dam. The other addresses the need to improve the performance of the Upriver Bright (URB) fall Chinook harvest program in the lower Yakima River (downstream of Prosser Dam). Two coho programs are proposed: a segregated harvest program in the lower Yakima River and a reintroduction program in the upper Yakima River.
In general, the ISRP finds that the Yakama Nation prepared a comprehensive and fairly thorough Master Plan. This plan builds upon the existing hatchery system by improving the hatchery infrastructure and modifying the program goals and objectives to better fit the needs of the Yakama Nation while also addressing most Scientific Principles in the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program.
However, the ISRP requests a response prior to Step 2. This response should provide key information that is currently lacking in the Step 1 documents and address inconsistencies in the proposed integrated salmon projects with the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program.