Thursday, June 28, 2012

Support Chetco River's wild chinook salmon—one day left

The Chetco River's chinook salmon are legendary. Preserving the river's wild fish populations and the habitat that sustains them should be the highest priority.

Native fish and wild river advocates are urged to send a short email to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by Friday June 29th asking them to make the management of hatchery populations in the Chetco consistent with other coastal rivers.  Currently the agency's draft fall chinook conservation plan allows for a much higher percentage of hatchery fish in the Chetco River—out of all other populations in the Rogue Species Management Unit (SMU)  If you can't make the Friday deadline, comments submitted by Sunday, July 1st should still count.

To make it easy, we've provided a sample paragraph (below) that you can just copy and paste and the email address of where your comment should be sent. It will only take you a few minutes to help preserve the integrity and health of the Chetco's famed wild chinook salmon runs.

Map of ODFW's Rogue Fall Chinook Species Management Unit (SMU).

In ODFW's draft management plan for Fall Chinook Salmon for coastal streams south of the Elk River, they allow for the highest percentage of hatchery fish in the Chetco River. This could have negative implications for preserving the integrity of not only the Chetco's prized native, naturally reproducing fall chinook but also other nearby rivers like the Winchuck.

For Hunter Creek and the Pistol River the allowable percentage of hatchery fish is 5%. For the Chetco the allowable percentage of hatchery fish is 18% and for the Winchuck it's 10%.  The Native Fish Society website provides numerous scientific references on "Wild vs. Hatchery Salmonid Interactions" at this link.

Here's where you can submit a brief comment for the Chetco River's native (wild) fall chinook populations -  Below is a sample paragraph you can copy and paste or revise:


Dear Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

I'm writing to ask ODFW to revise the allowable composition of hatchery produced fall chinook salmon in the Chetco River from the current 18 percent to 5 percent. Five percent is more consistent with other streams in the Coastal River Stratum (see page 109 of the draft plan) and with the State of Oregon's Native Fish Conservation Policy. ODFW has not provided any scientific justification for allowing such a high percentage of hatchery fish in the Chetco River. On the other hand there is significant information about the negative interaction between hatchery fish and native, naturally reproducing populations. See for example Native Fish Society's science and research page. The priority for the Chetco, and other rivers in the Coastal River Stratum, should be to preserve the integrity of the wild fish populations that are so important, long-term, to a stable local economy and to the ecology of the rivers and streams of the Wild Rivers Coast.



For ODFW's Draft Management Plan for Fall Chinook Salmon click here.  The information about the allowable composition of hatchery to native naturally reproducing fish is found on pages 108 and 109.