by David Johnson
There are troubled waters ahead. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council wants to cut funding for the tribe's hatchery programs, and without them we will be left with the states providing us fish, and we all know that the future of that isn't bright.
I know many of you have a dislike for tribal fishing on the Columbia River but without them we WOULD NOT be having the fishing that we have had the last several years and WE WILL NOT have as good fishing in the future
I know this is short notice but I only got word of it today and tomorrow is the meeting but they will take written comment through July 25.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council published a draft program that would remove years of locally-developed hatchery practices that are rebuilding abundance and setting a trajectory for delisting in favor of a hypothetical formula that would cut successful hatchery programs in the mid and upper Columbia. If this arbitrary set of standards for hatcheries is applied as written, cutting-edge hatchery programs like the Snake River Fall Chinook Program that the Nez Perce Tribe and other co-managers implement that could be dismantled. The very program that has taken Snake River fall chinook from 78 returning adults in 1990 to 21,000 wild fish in 2013 could be gutted with a 90% reduction. Hatchery production above Bonneville Dam would be reduced by 20% overall.
The damage won't stop there. The proposed amendments would be a significant blow to the tribal members and sport anglers who rely on the fisheries that these programs support. They would decrease fishing opportunities and impact the many communities that receive an economic boost from fishing enthusiasts.
On July 8, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council will be holding a public hearing on the proposed Fish and Wildlife Amendments at the Council's Central Office in Portland. This is an important opportunity for those who enjoy the bounty of Columbia Basin salmon to tell the Northwest Power and Conservation Council that we want salmon, both hatchery and wild.
All of us in this region need to rally behind our successes. A fish and wildlife program developed by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council should support and add value to the Columbia Basin's successful projects, not hamper them by becoming a new regulatory framework.
The 2013 Columbia River fall chinook return was one that was celebrated throughout the region. More than 1.2 million fall chinook made their way to the Columbia River, and among them, a significant run of Snake River chinook. The 2014 return is expected to be even higher. But these gains can be swept away unless these mitigation programs continue to be based on locally developed guidelines that reflect sound scientific practices and respect the ground-breaking work being accomplished every day in fisheries across the Northwest.
How to submit a comment:
Comments can be submitted online at: http://www.nwcouncil.org/fw/program/2014-03/comment-form/
Attend the Portland Hearing:
Tuesday, July 8
Council Central Office
851 SW 6th Ave Suite 1100
Portland, OR 97204
Deadline to comment is July 25, 2014.