As the Council requested on May 15, 2003, the ISRP reviewed the Umatilla Fish Hatchery Monitoring and Evaluation Project's (199000500) progress report titled a "Comprehensive Assessment of Salmonid Restoration and Enhancement Efforts in the Umatilla River Basin." This submittal was provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to address conditions placed on the project as part of Council's decision on Columbia Plateau province proposals for Fiscal Years 2002 through 2004. These conditions were developed in response to the issues and concerns raised by the ISRP (ISRP 2001-8 and Addendum) and the Council as part of the provincial review for this project.
The draft progress report is an impressive document and the sort of forthright technical analysis the ISRP envisioned. It is a major step in the right direction for evaluation of the Umatilla hatchery initiative. It points to a shift in emphasis from hatchery operations to the impacts on fish populations in the field. The project sponsors have assembled a large amount of data and have expressed intentions to do more. The program assessments for spring chinook, steelhead, and fall chinook are especially valuable for informing the ISRP and Council. Preliminary judgments about the value of the programs, unintended consequences, unrealistic earlier estimates and goals, and unmet expectations as well as successes are documented — a step that is very important for planning future actions. These report findings will be useful in developing a revised study plan (per Council recommendation) and reexamining the objectives, operations, and management of the artificial production program and valuable in informing the upcoming Umatilla subbasin planning process.