MCRFRO staff conducts hatchery evaluations at Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (NFH) complex hatcheries including Entiat NFH and Winthrop NFH. Leavenworth NFH rears Carson stock spring Chinook salmon, and good adult returns usually provide for a fishery on Icicle Creek. Entiat NFH switched to rearing coho salmon in 2007, previously they had reared Carson stock spring Chinook salmon. Winthrop NFH rears a local Methow River stock of spring Chinook salmon, native steelhead, and coho salmon.
Please check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing web page for information about fishing opportunities.
How does MCRFRO measure performance of hatchery fish?
How does MCRFRO use evaluations to improve survival and contributions of hatchery fish?
How does MCRFRO work to monitor and reduce impacts of the hatchery operations and hatchery fish to wild fish:
MCRFRO has an interest in the status and management of Endangered Species Act listed spring Chinook salmon and steelhead and other native salmon species. Monitoring and management of these species and their habitat in the area is accomplished cooperatively among many agencies including Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, U.S. Forest Service, Public Utility Districts, Yakama Nation, and other private and government agencies.
The MCRFRO has recently worked on the following projects:
In addition during snorkel surveys and other assessments in area streams information is collected on salmon and steelhead.
The USFWS oversees the Endangered Species Act management of bull trout. MCRFRO has been involved in studying and monitoring bull trout since 1993. MCRFRO bull trout work includes:
Lamprey are primitive fish species that are widely distributed in the Pacific Northwest. Information on these species is limited and indicates that that their numbers are declining. Counts of lamprey at the Columbia River Dams shows a decline in number of lamprey migrating up the Columbia River. They are a species of concern, and four lamprey species (Pacific lamprey Lampetra tridentata, western brook lamprey L. richardsoni, river lamprey L. ayresi, and Kern brook lamprey L. hubbsi) were petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 2003.
Some of the lamprey efforts MCRFRO has been involved in include:
Fish habitat restoration is a major focus of USFWS. MCRFRO supports restoration in many ways.
MCRFRO has been working in cooperation with Leavenworth NFH to restore fish passage in Icicle Creek and to improve aquatic habitats in the historic channel of Icicle Creek. We are also working cooperatively to design and construct a new water intake system for the hatchery. MCRFRO is a member of the Bureau of Reclamations Project Alternative Solutions Study team addressing both the new intake and habitat issues associated with operations and maintenance of Leavenworth NFH.
MCRFRO staff play a key role in several planning efforts. The Service's mission and responsibilities are represented, and staff provide biological expertise. Following are major planning efforts MCRFRO is involved with.
Mid Columbia Coordinating Committee/ HCP Coordinating Committees. These committees work to improve fish survival and mitigate for losses to anadromous fish at the five Columbia River mainstem dams operated by the County Public Utility Districts.
The Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board is a partnership among Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties, the Yakama Nation, and Colville Confederated Tribes in cooperation with local, state, and federal partners. The mission of the UCSRB is to restore viable and sustainable populations of salmon, steelhead, and other at-risk species through the collaborative, economically sensitive efforts, combined resources, and wise resource management of the Upper Columbia Region. The board developed the Upper Columbia Salmon and Spring Chinook Salmon Steelhead Recovery Plan.
Regional Technical Team. MCRFRO staff serves on this interagency team that was formed by the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board. The team functions to 1) recommend region-wide approaches and priorities to protect and restore salmonid habitat, 2) develop and evaluate salmonid recovery projects within the Upper Columbia Region as appropriate, and 3) develop and guide salmonid recovery monitoring plans as appropriate. They also advise on development and coordination of regional salmonid monitoring and evaluation programs.
Local Watershed Planning These groups which include landowners develop local plans and provide input about conservation efforts in their watersheds. MCRFRO provides technical assistance to some of these tributary groups in the Wenatchee, Entiat, and Methow River basins.
Washington State Governors Salmon Recovery Board Technical Panel. MCRFRO staff has been on this panel reviewing habitat restoration projects throughout Washington.
Invasive species, including aquatic nuisance species (ANS), are defined as native species that have caused or have the potential to cause significant economic or environmental harm or present a threat to human health. MCRFRO works to assist the FWS regional ANS program coordinator in meeting Service goals to monitor for the presence of ANS species and to prevent new ANS introductions and minimize ANS range expansion.
ANS species of concern in the mid-Columbia area include:
MCRFRO conducts annual surveys at the Leavenworth, Entiat, and Winthrop hatcheries to survey for presence of New Zealand mudsnails in their source/receiving waters. To date none have been found in this area. Zebra mussels and whirling disease have also not been found in local waters.
Didymosphenia geminate (didymo), otherwise known as "Rock Snot," is diatom invader that has negatively impacted some popular fishing and recreational rivers and threatens cold-water streams in North America. It has been found throughout the U.S., including the Methow and Chewuch Rivers in this area of Washington.
Anglers are cautioned to help prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS).
Due to the size of the Yakima Basin and the complexity of resource issues and tribal trust responsibilities, MCRFRO operates a separate sub-office of three staff biologists in Yakima. One biologist is funded by the Service, one by the Bureau of Reclamation, and the other biologist works on stream restoration projects. Some of the programs the Yakima sub-office staff is involved with include:
Systems Operation Advisory Committee (SOAC): This group advises the Reclamation Yakima Project Manager on operations of their water storage and distribution system. They also develop strategies to protect the spawning needs of salmon while minimizing the dependence on extra releases of water. SOAC also provides expertise and advise on instream flows.
Regional Technical Team: The interagency group develops recovery strategies and evaluates project proposals for the Yakima Basin Salmon Recovery Board.
Technical Advisory Group for Reclamation: This group provides assessment of potential fish passage at five dams in the Yakima Basin.
Bull trout recovery and monitoring efforts: Yakima staff has worked on -
Reclamation fishery projects and evaluations: Work funded by Reclamation that the Service is involved with includes -
Fisheries and aquatic studies: Studies that staff have been involved with include: