About 150 state, federal and tribal officials and several local neighbors, gathered Friday, September 6, to mark the completion of the new Springfield Hatchery.
The $13.5 million facility will be capable of producing up to 1 million juvenile Snake River sockeye annually for release in the Sawtooth Basin of central Idaho, the headwaters of the Salmon River. This additional capacity will move the sockeye recovery effort from the conservation phase to a re-colonization phase where emphasis will be on returning increasing numbers of ocean-run adults to use in hatchery spawning and to release to the natural habitat to spawn.
The increase in adult fish may eventually mean recreational and tribal fishing seasons on Snake River Sockeye.
The hatchery is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration as part of its obligation to mitigate the impact of hydropower dams on salmon and steelhead. It will be operated by Idaho Fish and Game.
The current run of sockeye into the Snake River is one of three remaining populations in the Columbia River Basin. The other two populations are in Okanogan and Wenatchee lakes, on tributaries of the upper Columbia River.
Partners in the sockeye recovery effort include Idaho, Oregon, Washington, NOAA-Fisheries, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, Bonneville Power Administration and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.