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Hatchery Review


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated a series of hatchery reviews in May 2005 to assure that its hatchery programs in the Northwest are part of a scientifically-sound and integrated strategy - consistent with State, Tribal, and other Federal strategies - for conserving wild stocks and managing fisheries in watersheds within the Region. The reviews examined 53 hatchery programs at 24 federally-owned hatcheries in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. All Hatchery Reviews were completed in January 2011.

The activities below highlight some of the successes that came out of the review of the Leavenworth Fisheries Complex, which was completed in April 2007.

Entiat National Fish Hatchery summary
Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery summary
Mid-Columbia Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office summary
Winthrop National Fish Hatchery summary

Read the full report...

  • Entiat National Fish Hatchery


    At Entiat National Fish Hatchery, the Service and co-managers approved and implemented Hatchery Review Team (HRT) Final Report Alternative 3 in 2009, replacing the spring Chinook program with a segregated summer Chinook salmon harvest program utilizing initial broodstock from Wells State Fish Hatchery. The first egg-takes, juvenile releases, and returns of adult 4-yr-olds occurred in 2009, 2011, and 2013, respectively, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued the program’s Biological Opinion in 2013.

    Complex Biologists annually monitor interactions between hatchery summer and wild spring and summer Chinook populations in the Entiat River Basin. The monitoring helps determine potential impacts ENFH’s summer Chinook program may have on wild, ESA-listed fish populations  in the Basin. The information enables fisheries managers to consider program adjustments to maximize hatchery and wild fish survival locally within the Entiat Basin and more broadly in the Mid and Upper Columbia River Basin.

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  • Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery

    Excessing fishAt Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (LNFH), all 1.2 million juvenile spring Chinook salmon that are released are now adipose fin clipped; 200,000 receive a Coded Wire Tag. Adult returns to Tumwater Dam with an ad-clip and no CWT are considered LNFH strays and are transfered to LNFH.

    Since 2010, virtually all excess spring chinook that have been trapped at Leavenworth are distributed as surplus to area tribes such as the Yakima, Colville, Coeur D'Alene, Kalispel, and Spokane. A small number are used for educational fish dissections.

    The Service is evaluating, through collections at Tumwater Dam, the effectiveness of stray rate controls put in place by LNFH. The hatchery is also changing releases of storage water and operation of instream structures to improve flow and temperature conditions in Icicle Creek.

    LNFH has reduced its annual production releases to 1.2 million smolts, a 20% reduction over previous levels. In addition, rearing density indices have been lowered to 0.15, which increases survival rates both in-hatchery and post-release. Co-managers will evaluate and review the 1.2 million release level after a ten-year period.

    LNFH is working with various federal, state, and tribal agencies and private entities and individuals to develop a sound and reliable water delivery system which is environmentally-compliant. This includes working with co-managers to replace the current gravity line and diversion and replace them with a new water delivery system. An emergency fish rearing plan is in place should the current system fail before it’s replaced. Water disinfection will be considered during project discussions to accommodate evolving NPDES standards. National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits were completed in 2009.

    LNFH works with the Yakama Nation, Wenatchee Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish programs for monitoring all elements of the Icicle Creek terminal (spring Chinook) fishery. This helps determine the amount of incidental take of ESA-listed fish and better quantify the harvest benefits derived from those fisheries.

    The Leavenworth Fisheries Complex continues to support and refine existing outreach programs, such as the Cascade Discovery School and Wenatchee River Salmon Festival at LNFH, and is planning expanded efforts to support local outreach and education about hatchery programs, how they support tribal and recreational fishing activities, assist with endangered species recovery, and help connect people with nature.

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  • Mid-Columbia River Fishery Resource Office

    Tagging fish

    The Mid-Columbia Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office (MCFWCO) Hatchery Evaluation Program works with Leavenworth Fisheries Complex hatcheries to meet mitigation, Tribal trust and Endangered Species Act compliance, and management responsibilities through monitoring and targeted research of hatchery programs and interactions between hatchery and wild fish populations. The Hatchery Evaluation Team, which includes the Olympia Fish Health Center, meets regularly to coordinate planning, production, and evaluation activities necessary to meet legal and mitigation responsibilities and address Hatchery Review recommendations for Entiat, Leavenworth, and Winthrop NFHs. 

    MCFWCO biologists monitor and conduct early detection surveys for aquatic invasive species at each Complex hatchery and associated river basins. Field biologists also take preventive measures to avoid unintentional spread of invasive species, using, for example, waders dedicated for research and field work in each of the Wenatchee, Entiat, and Methow River Basins and disinfectant materials and protocols. Back to top...
  • Winthrop National Fish Hatchery


    At Winthrop National Fish Hatchery (WNFH), the Service and NOAA Fisheries have worked together on an Endangered Species Act Section 10(j) permit that allows the transfer of 200,000 spring Chinook salmon production to Chief Joseph Hatchery for reintroduction into the Okanogan River. The transfer has also allowed the hatchery to increase the local steelhead program smolt release goal to 200,000 fish. WNFH steelhead are part of and considered important for Upper Columbia River steelhead Distinct Population Segment recovery efforts.

    Since 2010, virtually all excess spring chinook that have been trapped at WNFH are distributed as surplus to area tribes such as the Colville, Yakama, Coeur D'Alene, Kalispel, and Spokane.

    The hatchery developed a local steelhead broodstock, and in 2015 reached a minimum of 100 adults to increase the numbers of breeding fish in future years.

    The WNFH was able, though program and facility modifications, to rear two-year steelhead smolts, a necessary step when collecting local broodstock adults later and in colder water temperatures than those experienced by fish collected at Wells Dam. A two-year rearing regimen more closely mimics natural steelhead life history.

    As a result of developing a local steelhead broodstock program with co-managers, in 2015 the WNFH released its final broodyear of steelhead spawned from adults collected at Wells Dam. With the Wells steelhead phased out of propagation and release at WNFH, all hatchery steelhead smolts released in future are from local broodstock, and can be acclimated and released in the upper Methow watershed.

    WNFH summer steelhead are marked and receive a Coded Wire Tag, and are collected in creel surveys to determine their contribution to harvest levels. In 2014, the Service hired a biologist and a technician and developed a local Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) field office. The new monitoring program (developed in collaboration between the Service and co-managers) is helping expand, coordinate, and improve M&E efforts for Methow River steelhead.

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Last Updated: October 9, 2014
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