Hatchery Reform Initiative
TCA is conducting a series of projects aimed at reforming the use of artificial production hatcheries where they adversely impact wild steelhead populations in Puget Sound, on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and in the Willamette Basin. TCA will also work to ensure that dam-removal re-introduction programs prioritize wild fish.
Hatchery Reform Initiative Projects
Dam Removal and Wild Fish Re-Colonization Project
The TCA went to court to prevent hatchery production from being used to restore or re-colonize steelhead and salmon on the Elwha River. We will fight any efforts to build new hatcheries or re-purpose old ones anywhere dams are being removed to allow wild steelhead and salmon to migrate to historic spawning grounds. We believe in the productivity, resilience and persistence of wild fish to recolonize former habitats. We believe the track record of hatchery production demonstrates that it has failed to achieve both promised conservation and production goals in almost every single instance where they exist.
Willamette Basin Hatchery Reform Project
The Willamette River Basin is Oregon’s largest watershed and home to wild spring chinook and winter steelhead and numerous wild trout populations. It has also been hamstrung by 14 flood control and hydroelectric projects on its main rivers and some tributaries. Promised mitigation has been inadequate and misdirected. TCA is working with others to help reform flow regimes and remove harmful hatchery programs so that wild fish can flourish as flow and habitat conditions improve.
Puget Sound Wild Steelhead Conservation Project
TCA works closely with the Wild Fish Conservancy, Wild Steelhead Coalition and the Washington Flyfishers Federation in efforts to reduce and reform the adverse effects of hatcheries on Puget Sound rivers through close collaboration with agency directives to protect the wild genetic architecture of remaining wild steelhead populations on iconic rivers such as the Skagit, Snoqualmie, Skykomish and Nisqually among others.
Lower Snake River Compensation Reform Project
After the completion of the last dams constructed on the Snake River, Congress passed legislation authorizing a massive hatchery construction project meant to mitigate for the losses of crucial salmon and steelhead habitat. These hatcheries began releasing salmon and steelhead in the 1980’s throughout the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The deleterious effects began emerging immediately, and though the numbers of fish originally were increasing, current returns of hatchery salmon and steelhead do not meet the harvest goals included in the plan. Further, virtually none of the facilities are operated as conservation programs. TCA will work to reform the mitigation requirements authorized under this dam and hatchery-building boondoggle.
Columbia River Hatchery Reform Project
Though more established, the multiple salmon and steelhead hatcheries in the Columbia and its tributaries are hardly more than production facilities that allow the US Government and the states to meet international salmon treaties and tribal treaties, with little regard to the long term health of wild salmon and steelhead populations, and the natural escapement requirements for multiple tributaries. TCA will analyze the authorization and funding for each hatchery in order to establish a prioritized series of reforms that will enable scientific understanding of the adverse effects of hatcheries on wild salmon and steelhead.