Environment | Opinion

Blog: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's hatchery threatens salmon

'Busting down the dams on Washington’s Elwha River was always about restoring the wild salmon. So why are hatchery fish being raised to stock the river when the dams come out?

Hatchery fish are not entirely new to the Elwha, a legendary salmon river on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. For nearly a hundred years, the lower dam has blocked salmon returning from the ocean to spawn from all but the river’s lowermost five miles. While remnant runs of wild chinook, pink, and coho salmon spawned and held on in the few scraps of habitat left, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe ran a hatchery on their reservation near the river’s mouth. They raised Chambers Creek steelhead, a popular fast-growing hatchery stock, so they could have a small tribal fishery and keep their traditions alive.

Meanwhile, the tribe, along with environmental groups, worked to get the Elwha’s dams removed so wild salmon could return to the pristine habitat in the Elwha’s upper watershed, protected in Olympic National Park. At first an audacious vision, the idea slowly became reality over the past twenty-five years. The preparatory work has been completed, and on September 17, the first chunks of concrete will come out."

Get the Story:
Valerie Rapp: Will Hatcheries Threaten Wild Salmon Runs in the Elwha River Restoration? (On Earth Magazine 9/12)

Also Today:
Year of the River video project: Elwha River dam removal (American Rivers 9/13)
The Elwha Dams, Part 3 (historical series) — Fisheries, dams linked in 1980s (The Peninsula Daily News 9/13)

Related Stories:
Lower Elwha Klallam to auction items from removal of dams (9/8)
EnergyBiz: Dam breaching benefits Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (9/7)
KLCC: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe restoring salmon at hatchery (8/24)
Blog: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe holds ceremony for First Salmon (8/22)
OPB: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe keeps an eye on health of rivers (8/17)
Opinion: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe could hurt salmon recovery (8/3)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe welcomes dam removal for salmon (7/29)

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