The Quinault National Fish Hatchery (QNFH) is located 15 road miles from the Pacific Ocean, on the central Washington coast. You are on lands within the Quinault Indian reservation, on Cook Creek which has provided fish for the Quinault People for years.
A tributary of the Quinault River, Cook Creek was selected as the site for QNFH after a study done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Quinault Indian Tribal Council in 1963. After exploring many of the rivers and creeks in the area, the Quinault tribal chairman at that time declared the site of the new hatchery, “Here,” and made a mark on a streamside tree.*
The QNFH grew out of the cooperation between USFWS and the Quinault Nation, in an effort to restore and enhance the depleted salmon and steelhead fish runs on the Quinault Indian reservation and adjacent lands. Years of timber harvest had reduced salmon habitat and water quality to a point where the fish production for harvest could no longer be sustained. Congress approved funds for planning and site acquisition for a hatchery in 1964. Production of fall Chinook and coho salmon began in November 1968 at the QNFH.
When the need for trained resource professionals became obvious, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, USFWS, and the Quinault Indian Nation joined together to enable young tribal members to receive natural resource training at nearby Peninsula College, and at state universities in WA and Oregon. The hatchery grew from raising fish in small, wooden tanks, to the current facility raising more than 3,000,000 juveniles for release into selected coastal streams each year.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service works closely with the Quinault Indian Nation’s biologists to guide the program at Quinault NFH. The USFWS also cooperates with Quinault Indian Nation’s programs on Lake Quinault and Salmon River, and the Hoh Tribe on the north coast.
[*per personal communication with Philip Martin, one of the first tribal professionals to receive his degree from Peninsula College and work at the hatchery. Phillip Martin came to the hatchery in 1972, became the manager in 1977, and remained so until 1990.]