Sandy Hatcheries approval

NOAA Fisheries has approved the continued operation of four hatchery programs in the Sandy River Basin, Oregon, operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), pursuant to Limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The hatchery programs release spring Chinook salmon, coho salmon, winter steelhead, and summer steelhead to support fisheries in the Sandy River, lower Columbia River, and Pacific Ocean. 

All four programs are on-going, and have been updated to reflect additional information on effects of hatchery programs on natural-origin salmon and steelhead. The programs are designed to meet mitigation responsibilities related to impacts from development in the Sandy and Columbia River basins by providing hatchery fish to support fishing opportunities while minimizing potential risks to natural-origin spring Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and winter steelhead populations. The final approval under Limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule, for example, authorizes ODFW to integrate natural-origin spring Chinook salmon and natural-origin winter steelhead into the broodstocks to reduce genetic risks to the natural-origin populations in the Sandy River. The programs are designed to be consistent with Oregon's and NOAA Fisheries' Lower Columbia River Recovery Plans for Salmon and Steelhead (click here for more on recovery planning in this area).

NOAA Fisheries prepared a biological opinion pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the ESA, considering effects of its approval of the four programs. The biological opinion (see below) documenting the no-jeopardy finding was signed August 7, 2014. NOAA Fisheries also consulted with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the effects of approving the four programs on ESA-listed bull trout, concluding with a determination that the programs would not adversely affect bull trout.

NOAA Fisheries prepared a draft environmental assessment of the potential effects of the continued operation of four hatchery programs in the Sandy River Basin of Oregon, pursuant to the protective regulations promulgated for Pacific salmon and steelhead under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That draft EA was made available for public review and comment on March 11, 2015. Comments received were considered in developing the final EA; comments received and NOAA Fisheries' responses to those comments are included as an appendix to the final EA (see below).  The Final EA was completed, with a Finding of No Significant Impact, on May 15, 2016.

As required under Limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule, an evaluation and recommended determination was prepared for each of the hatchery programs. The final decision by NOAA Fisheries'  West Coast Regional Administrator to approve the programs was signed on June 17, 2016. A letter to ODFW approving the hatchery programs under Limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule was signed June 17, 2016.

For more information, please contact Rich Turner, Sustainable Fisheries Division, at (503) 736-4737.

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