19 hours ago
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sandy River Debacle
A hatchery kelt caught in the spring. What are the odds it spawned with a native fish?
The Sandy River is one of the closest and best bets for locals in the Portland Metro area to find some water to swing flies in year round. It holds native fall chinook, spring chinook, coho, bull trout and winter steelhead. All of which are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, and chum salmon have gone extinct. Currently these fish are at 3-10% of their historic numbers. Though over $75 million has been donated towards Sandy River habitat restoration, the biggest factor influencing the decline of these native fish has been the failed hatchery projects on this river.
Today the hatchery wild steelhead broodstock program are not only killing natives to produce offspring for table fare, but also reducing the overall ability of our native fish to spawn in the wild. Research done by Oregon State University done in the neighboring Hood River drainage has shown that these broodstock hatchery fish show almost no ability to spawn naturally in the wild. It is estimated that there is a stray rate of nearly 45% for hatchery fish spawning in this basin, thus leading to our hatchery fish spawning with our native fish. Also research done over the last three decades have shown that hatchery production for both steelhead and salmon have never been shown to help improve native runs of fish and have been linked to their demise. Read more about the native hatchery broodstock program courtesy of the Osprey Steelhead News.
As fishermen, conservationists, lovers of mother nature and gods creations, we must all take a serious look at this and act on it. The Native Fish Society is now making a stand in this fight to save the Sandy River Basin so that our children may be able to see salmon and steelhead. At the current rate of things we are going to see extinctions of the remaining species in this river. Habitat restoration is a wonderful thing, but alone will not save our native fish, especially when hatchery fish are competing with them. Please read, sign and add if you like to the Native Fish Society Petition to help restore the native fish in the Sandy River by removing these deadly hatchery programs. Also read more about this problem from our friend and Sandy River Steward Spencer Miles at Whitefish Can't Jump.
Call on ODFW to restore Sandy River salmon and steelhead.