Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to decommission old hatchery

While there is no timeline determined yet, the Peninsula Daily News reported that the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe will be decommissioning its old fish hatchery.  The tribe has already started fisheries programs at the new facility, including outplanting chinook to help boost spawning in the river.

The tribe finished building its new hatchery in 2011 as part of the Elwha River restoration project, which includes the removal of the river’s fish-blocking Elwha and Glines Canyon dams that have been in existence for nearly a century. The dams are currently being dismantled and are expected to be fully removed by 2014.

From the story:

The hatchery, built in 1978, was replaced by a new one last May as part of the $325 million federal Elwha River restoration project.

The tribe kept the water flowing through the old hatchery, on Hatchery Road near the tribal center, and into Bosco Creek, connected to the Elwha River, expecting fish to continue to follow the scent of the water to return there when spawning.

The tribe planned to collect the returning fish and bring them to its new hatchery on Stratton Road.

Robert Elofson, the tribe’s river restoration program director, said the fish are instead choosing to come to the new hatchery, possibly following the fish food that makes its way from the hatchery into the river.

Elofson said the old hatchery’s fish ponds likely will be filled in, but offices will continue to be used by the tribe’s Natural Resources Department.