At the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s February 27, 2013 request, the ISRP reviewed a response from the Yakama Nation regarding the 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. The Yakama Nation’s response was provided to address issues identified in the ISRP Step 1 review of the Master Plan (ISRP 2012-13).
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.
The ISRP finds that the Yakama Nation prepared a detailed response to address ISRP questions and concerns raised in its initial review of the Master Plan. The ISRP recommends that both the coho and summer/fall Chinook programs meet scientific review criteria with the qualification that the ISRP’s questions and concerns presented in this review be addressed in Step 2.
Key issues to address in Step 2 include:
- the transition from Phase 3 to Phase 4
- management of harvests and spawning escapement
- the likelihood of implementing the expected habitat restoration plans (Integrated Plan)
- management of the overall program in light of high uncertainty in the extent of habitat actions and fish responses to actions
- the need for a robust monitoring and evaluation program to support a management decision framework, and
- overall program size
See the full report for details.