3 Public Meetings On Columbia Hatchery Future

Hatchery salmonid production would be cut 64 percent and harvest would drop by 50 percent under the most draconian of alternatives for the future of Federally funded Columbia River salmon and steelhead production.

It comes from a draft environmental impact statement released by the National Marine Fisheries Services late last week.

HATCHERY SALMON AND STEELHEAD PROVIDE THE BULK OF THE CATCH ON THE COLUMBIA SYSTEM. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

The other four alternatives for how the agency will distribute Mitchell Act money in the future ranges from no action to different levels of facility improvements that also lead to production and harvest cuts.

The Oregonian, reporting on the DEIS over the weekend, termed it “Federal biologists … strongest signal to date that the Columbia River Basin’s immense hatchery production — and the lucrative fishing opportunities that result from it — could be reduced to better protect wild salmon and steelhead runs.”

The act, passed in 1938 to compensate for damming up the river, funded production of 92 million salmon and steelhead in the Columbia system; 52 million are produced by states and others.

It provides $11 million a year, approximately.

Public comment is open on the DEIS. Three public meetings will be held next month.

Sept. 20, 2010; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Clark Regional Wastewater District, 8000 NE 52nd Crt., Vancouver, WA  98665

Sept. 24, 2010; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Kennewick Public Library, 1620 S. Union St., Kennewick, WA  99338

Sept. 30, 2010; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Dr., Astoria, OR  97103

You can also comment by mail through Nov. 4.

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