LETTER: Model hatchery program

Fall chinook salmon returns above the Snake River’s Lower Granite Dam dwindled to under 1,000 fish for 20 years between 1975 and 1995.

Idaho’s Nez Perce Tribe obtained permission to begin a hatchery program to help those fish.

Recently, as many as 60,000 chinook have returned above Lower Granite, including 10,000 naturally spawning fish.

The tribe’s Johnson Creek chinook study showed “hatchery-reared salmon that spawned with wild salmon had the same success as salmon spawning in the wild.”

Why are we not duplicating this program throughout the Northwest?

Lower Granite is the highest of the Snake dams targeted for removal to save the Orcas.

These chinook have navigated those plus the Columbia River dams.

I’m not against improving fish habitat where it makes sense, but here on the Olympic Peninsula, I see dead/nearly dead rivers with hundreds of miles of pristine unused habit languishing with few fish year after year.

Years of building more habitat and removing dams, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent, have seen continued declines of anadromous fish.

I suggest diverting a few dollars to predator control, paying the tribes not to net, and quality hatchery programs like the Nez Perce example.

Those efforts just might reverse the declines of our salmon/steelhead.

I read with interest the recent PDN article blaming, with some “creative” logic, starvation of the orcas on the thriving pink salmon runs.

If we need to get rid of the pinks, I might suggest that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife begin actively managing the pinks as they have the chinook and steelhead.

Darryl Sanford

Sequim

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