Historic photo of the Foster-Lucas ponds at Entiat NFH.
ENFH was authorized by the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project, April 3, 1937 and reauthorized by the Mitchell Act (52 Stat. 345), May 11, 1938. The Mitchell Act authorized the Secretary of Commerce “…to establish one or more salmon cultural stations in the Columbia Basin in each of the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.” ENFH is one of three mid-Columbia stations constructed by the BOR as fish mitigation facilities for the Grand Coulee Dam, Columbia Basin Project. ENFH was constructed on 37 acres of land by the Bureau of Reclamation as one of the fish mitigation facilities for Grand Coulee Dam, Columbia Basin Project.
Fish culture work began in 1941. At that time the hatchery consisted of a water intake structure on the Entiat River, pipelines, a screen chamber, hatchery building, mixing chamber, domestic water system, four residences, eight large and four small fish rearing ponds designed by engineers by the names of Foster and Lucas. The initial operating plan for the ENFH called for adult salmon and steelhead to be trapped at Rock Island Dam and hauled to the hatchery for holding and spawning.
The hatchery was substantially reconstructed in 1979, which included the replacement of the Foster-Lucas rearing ponds with thirty 8’ x 80’ raceways, adult holding ponds, fish ladder, screen chamber and mixing chamber, and a generator building. Following this upgrading of the facility, the primary species raised has been spring Chinook salmon. Spring Chinook salmon were the primary species raised from 1979 to 2008.
Beginning in the fall of 2009, the Entiat National Fish Hatchery began raising summer Chinook salmon. The program was initiated with eggs from Wells Fish Hatchery. The goal of the program is to annually release 400,000 smolts from the reproduction of approximately 150 pairs of adult summer Chinook salmon. The migration corridor for released smolts and returning adult fish includes approximately 491 river miles and the Pacific Ocean. The program is intended to function as a segregated program for harvest benefits. Fish from this program are not intended to spawn naturally and are not intended to establish, supplement, or support any summer Chinook salmon populations occurring in the natural environment.