Future of Voights Creek unclear in state budget

From Joe Turner at the News Tribune:

Reader points out to me that the no fish hatcheries will close is misleading too. The budget says (on Page 397): “During the 2007-09 biennium, the department shall not make a permanent closure of any hatchery facility currently in operation.” So, reader wonders, “if that means that since Voights Creek hatchery hasn’t been in “operation” since it was damaged in the floods that this leaves a door open for it to be permanently closed.”

I don’t have an answer for him yet.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has protested the possible closure, which was included in earlier versions of the budget.

In recent weeks, there has been some vocal support for the hatchery. Sen. Randi Becker in Orting News:

Generations of sport fishers have lined the banks of the Puyallup River each year. Thousands of people had their first experience of fishing on the river, enjoying the best of what it means to grow up in our region. However, that could all end if state budget writers go ahead with the closure of Voights Creek Hatchery owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Can the coho and chinook just be moved to one of the other hatcheries? If only it was that simple. Salmon are delicate and even a bit mysterious. One salmon species does well in one location but not at another. Choosing hatchery locations is a process of trial and error. Voights Creek is one of the most productive coho locations in all of Western Washington, but steelhead did not do well there while coho have not done well in other locations.