Congress authorized the construction of four dams on the lower Snake River in 1945. When construction funding was appropriated by Congress in 1954, only adult fish ladders and other minor dam modifications were funded to mitigate for anticipated adverse impacts to salmon and steelhead.
In the mid-1960s, after Ice Harbor had been constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) and Lower Monumental and Little Goose construction was underway, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS now NOAA Fisheries), and state fisheries agencies began to assess the need to compensate for fish and wildlife losses caused by construction and operation of the lower Snake River dams. The assessment was done under the authority of the federal Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. A joint FWS/NMFS Coordination Act Report was provided to the CoE in 1972 which described the short and long term impacts of all four Lower Snake dams and recommended mitigation and compensation for both fish and wildlife. The report provided the basis for the Corps' 1975 Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan (LSRCP) report to Congress. A year later Congress authorized the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan (LSRCP) as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 1976 (90 Stat. 2917). A major element of the authorized plan was a program to design and construct fish hatcheries to compensate for some of the losses of salmon and steelhead adult returns.
LSRCP hatcheries produce and release salmon, steelhead, and resident rainbow trout as part of the program's mitigation responsibility. Mitigation goals for the LSRCP program include returning 55,100 adult steelhead, 58,700 adult spring/summer Chinook salmon, and 18,300 fall Chinook salmon to the Snake River. To mitigate lost angler days for resident species, the LSRCP program stocks about 86,000 pounds of rainbow trout into inland lakes and ponds close to the project area.
Ten LSRCP hatcheries produced and released over 16.8 million salmon, steelhead and rainbow trout in 2002. Fourteen satellite facilities associated with the program's fish hatcheries provide opportunities for acclimation prior to release and adult trapping for spawning. LSRCP hatcheries are operated by FWS, Idaho Fish and Game Department, Oregon Department of Fish and ilWdlife, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
LSRCP program facilities, most located in the Snake River basin, consist of Fish Hatcheries, Satellite Facilities (fish acclimation and adult trapping), Fish Health Labs, and Monitoring and Evaluation offices.
Fish Health Management
The LSRCP funds fish health monitoring services for all LSRCP production programs. Fish health services are not only provided by FWS fish health personnel but also fish health specialists from Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Monitoring and Evaluation Studies
In addition to providing funding for fish production and health programs, the LSRCP funds an extensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program. Important goals of M&E programs are monitor and evaluate LSRCP hatchery programs to improve operations and increase efficiency. M&E programs are also in place to determine what, if any, positive or negative effects LSRCP programs have on species listed under the Endangered Species Act. M&E programs are managed by the FWS, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe.