Wednesday May 25, 2022

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Public Broadcasting and ProPublica obtained data from Columbia Basin Research at the University of Washington describing fish in several salmon and steelhead trout populations that were embedded with electronic tags. Tagged fish can be detected by special technology, often at dams, and tag data can provide a window into fish migration and survival. Our approach took a basin-wide view of the hatchery program to create a meaningful, accessible and representative picture of hatchery efforts to support vulnerable salmon and steelhead populations in the region.

We focused our analysis on eight fish populations, all of them Columbia River Basin stocks that are highly vulnerable and monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the goal of restoring populations to healthy and harvestable levels. Focusing on fish populations that originated in the middle and upper Columbia and Snake rivers had two benefits: First, these were areas that were significantly impacted by the building of hydropower dams in the basin, and second, these were regions for which data was available. The upper Columbia River spring Chinook and Snake River sockeye populations are listed as endangered under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. The Snake River fall Chinook, Snake River spring/summer Chinook, Snake River steelhead and upper Columbia River steelhead populations are listed as threatened. The Mid-Columbia Coho Restoration Program includes all coho released in the Wenatchee and Methow basins, and the population was considered by NOAA for designation as threatened or endangered, as were upper Columbia River summer/fall Chinook; though these populations ultimately were not listed, they are still monitored by Columbia Basin Research and NOAA. These eight monitored populations are supported by more than 30 artificial propagation programs along the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Read more >

Link copied successfully