Mitchell Act hatchery programs

NOAA Fisheries has completed its biological opinion on how hatchery programs funded under the Mitchell Act affect salmon and steelhead protected under the Endangered Species Act.  Under the Mitchell Act, funding is provided to produce salmon and steelhead for fishing and conservation purposes (see the Executive Summary of the opinion, below).

The hatchery production of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River provides benefits to the tribal and non-tribal commercial and recreational fishers in the basin itself and also contributes to ocean fisheries from Northern California to Southeast Alaska. The Mitchell Act, which was passed in 1938, currently supports roughly one-third of all of the hatchery production in the Columbia River.  

To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act with respect to its hatchery funding decisions under the Mitchell Act, NOAA Fisheries previously released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) to inform its decisions regarding what kind of hatchery programs to fund with Federal appropriations provided under the Mitchell Act. The scope of this EIS includes all of the Columbia River Basin open to salmon and steelhead. The final EIS evaluates the resource effects of implementing alternative hatchery management strategies throughout the Columbia River Basin.  NMFS has made a final decision (see record of decision, below) after careful consideration of a range of comments received during public review of the final EIS.

For more information, please contact James Dixon at (360) 534-9329, or


Fund Mitchell Act Hatcheries 1.4MB

Biological opinion on effects of Mitchell Act hatchery programs

Executive Summary PDF Formatted Document 34kb

Biological opinion PDF Formatted Document 6.2 MB

News Release

Mitchell Act Final Environmental Impact Statement

Executive SummaryPDF Formatted Document800kb

Mitchell Act Record of Decision PDF Formatted Document1.5MB

Mitchell Act Final Environmental Impact Statement (including appendices) PDF Formatted Document43.0MB

Appendix L -- Responses to Public Comments (as separate document) PDF Formatted Document21.9MB

Frequently Asked Questions PDF Formatted Document34kb