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Entries in elwha hatchery (3)


Good news regarding Elwha River wild steelhead!

Non-native hatchery steelhead will not be released into the Elwha River and its tributaries this year, say four conservation groups that earlier this month filed suit against federal agencies and officials of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (in their official capacities) for releases of hatchery fish into the Elwha.  The groups announced today that they have reached an agreement with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (LEKT), where the four groups agreed not to seek a preliminary injunction against the LEKT’s release of hatchery-raised “Chambers Creek” steelhead, and the LEKT agreed not to release those fish this year.  Normally, the fish would have likely been released sometime in April.

LINK (Via: The Wild Steelhead Coalition)

The agreement does not apply to possible releases in future years so the fight may not yet be over. For now score one for wild steelhead and the groups that led the charge against this short sighted strategy.


Federal Science Panel Releases Review of the Elwha Hatchery Programs

Care to guess what they determined?

From Osprey Steelhead News:

Last week the Hatchery Scientific Review Group (HSRG), an independent federal science review panel released a long awaited review of the Elwha Hatchery programs. Not surprisingly the HSRG came to many of the same conclusions as we did in choosing to join the Wild Fish Conservancy, Wild Steelhead Coalition and Conservation Angler in a lawsuit against the Elwha hatchery program.

Specifically, the current hatchery emphasis in the plan is unnecessary and counterproductive to the aim of recovering robust wild populations in the Elwha River and that an inadequate monitoring program will limit the ability to adaptively manage hatchery programs and determine the degree to which they are aiding or hindering recovery. Furthermore, no specific recovery goals or thresholds have been established that would lead to a reduction in the degree of hatchery supplementation in the Elwha and many of the hatchery fish being released into the Elwha are not marked with an adipose fin clip.

A few quotes from the document:

"The main concern the HSRG has with the Elwha Plan is the potential for unintended negative consequences of excessive and prolonged hatchery influence."

"Prolonged hatchery influence may lead to loss of fitness of natural populations, potentially resulting in reduced or delayed restoration and loss of longā€term sustainable harvest opportunities."

"Inadequate program monitoring may lead to management decisions that reduce or delay recovery, rather than promoting it, and prevent managers from identifying and testing alternatives that could be more effective."

"The continued production of Chambers Creek steelhead stock during the early phases of recovery therefore appears inconsistent with the priorities and goals the managers have presented."

Download a copy of the HSRG report


Send Lawyers Guns and Money

The Elwha hatchery issue is headed to the courts.

Wild fish advocates have served 60 day notice that they intend to sue numerous agencies over the Elwha hatchery plan. Those served were the Olympic National Park, the NOAA Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This is the world's largest river-restoration program and it should reflect the world's best science," said Kurt Beardslee, head of the Wild Fish Conservancy, one of the groups involved. "We think the hatchery is threatening the recovery of wild fish and we really don't think it went through the proper review process."

Also joining in the action are the Wild Steelhead Coalition, The Conservation Angler and Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee.

LINK (Via: The Seattle Times)

Read the press release at the Wild Fish Conservancy.