McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

Comments sought on Salmon/Steelhead hatcheries


January 22, 2017

Upper Willamette Basin includes the McKenzie River

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has announced has begun a process to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for salmon and steelhead hatchery programs currently operating in the Upper Willamette River Basin of Oregon.

NMFS is also requesting public review and comment on four Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for evaluation under the Endangered Species Act’s 4(d) rule for threatened salmon and steelhead.

The Army Corps’ plan specifies the propagation of hatchery spring chinook salmon released in the McKenzie, North Santiam, South Santiam,  Middle Fork Willamette, Coast Fork Willamette, and Molalla Rivers.

The Environmental Impact Statement will also consider the potential effects of the current summer steelhead program. Hatchery steelhead are also released in the McKenzie River, North Santiam River, South Santiam River, Middle Fork Willamette River, Molalla River, and Coast Fork Willamette River.

Agency staff say NMFS will perform an environmental review of the hatchery salmon and steelhead programs and prepare an EIS that will evaluate potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the following resources identified to have a potential for effect from the proposed action:

-- Water quantity and water quality

-- Fish and wildlife species and their habitats

-- Socioeconomics

-- Environmental Justice

-- Cumulative impacts

NMFS says it “will rigorously explore and objectively evaluate a full range of reasonable alternatives in the EIS, including the proposed action (implementation of USACE’s HGMPs) and a no-action alternative. Additional alternatives could include a reduction in artificial production and/or elimination of the hatchery programs.”

For all potentially significant impacts, the EIS “will identify measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts, where feasible, to a level below significance.”

Written or electronic scoping comments must be received at the appropriate address or email mail no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Time January 30, 2017.

Submit your comments by either of the following methods:

-- Email to the following address: [email protected] with the following identifier in the subject line: Comments on Intent to Prepare the Willamette Hatchery EIS.

-- Mail or hand-deliver to NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division, 2900 NW. Stewart Parkway, Roseburg, OR 97471.

-- Fax to (541) 957-3386.


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