We paid $14 million for a fish hatchery . . . and all its fish are dying

Idaho Statesman reporter, Rocky Barker’s latest  installment examining the struggle to restore salmon and steelhead populations on the Snake and Columbia rivers.  You might also enjoy Rocky’s earlier installments, which follow.

The public paid $14 million for an Idaho hatchery — and all its fish have been dying

Idaho Fish and Game workers assemble egg trays in 2013 at the then-new Springfield Hatchery near Blackfoot.Only 157 endangered Snake River sockeye salmon returned to the Sawtooth Valley this year — and not one of them came from a $14 million hatchery built to help their recovery.

The Springfield Hatchery opened in eastern Idaho in 2013, paid for by the Bonneville Power Administration, whose ratepayers provide a major source of funding for regional salmon recovery. It was designed to add up to 1 million more sockeye that could be released into Redfish Lake Creek near Stanley. But Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists discovered the young salmon smolts have been dying after their release because of stress.

 A Year of Rocky Barker on the Snake and Columbia Rivers

Everything we’re doing to replace vanishing salmon might be killing them off faster

Without the dams would salmon populations recover?

“Remove 4 dams, leave these fish alone, and they may be able to replenish themselves”.  Idaho Statesman reporter, Rocky Barker, continues his series on the question of how salmon and steelhead populations can be restored and the energy generation, economic, cultural, and agricultural implications of various proposed solutions, including the removal of the four lower Snake River dams.

Should Snake dams be removed? Here’s what first changed Statesman editorial board’s mind.

Removing four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington was put on the table as a way to restore Idaho’s wild salmon by the Idaho Statesman editorial board and their editorials helped prompt a national movement.

Northwest salmon still struggle to survive. Can we save them — and at what price?

There still is no sustainable plan for saving salmon, and the changing climate will put even more stress on remaining fish stocks.





Fate of Pacific Northwest orcas tied to having enough Columbia River salmon

The connection between saving salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers and preserving killer whales in Washington state and British Columbia is bringing together advocates of both imperiled species, who want to see four Snake River dams in Washington removed.


Saving Idaho’s salmon: Nature again turns against returning fish that already face long odds

The number of spring chinook salmon that have made it from the ocean to the first dam on the Columbia is at a low not seen since the 1990s. Biologists worry that recently abundant salmon runs are at risk again, with changing Pacific ocean conditions, low water in 2015 and other factors. Will salmon return to the brink of extinction, or can steps taken in the past decade sustain fish in the face of a warming climate?