LaPUSH(March 21, 2006) – Just last summer, Dahnielle Buesch, hatchery manager for the Quileute Tribe and her hatchery staff worked late into the night to move 115,000 young steelhead due to a pump failure that was dewatering the fish.
This winter, the tribe replaced the pump and also three decaying 20-year-old raceways at its Lonesome Creek Hatchery with a trio of new 50-foot long concrete raceways after an intensive search for a way to pay for the projects.
“These improvements were desperately needed. It’s going to be much better for rearing the fish,” said Buesch.
A one-time Bureau of Indian Affairs grant paid for the project that included replacing a small bridge over the creek used to access the fish rearing area and installing a backup water pump. The entire project cost $81,000 which included $16,000 from the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund.
The tribe has raised millions of steelhead and chinook in their hatchery over the past 27 years. Additionally, the tribe works cooperatively with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to rear fish at the state’s Sol Duc Hatchery.
Many tribal hatcheries were built in the 1970s, however, tribes have received little federal funding for rehabilitation and maintenance needs. “We’ve needed these improvements for a long time,” said Mel Moon, natural resources director for the tribe. “Getting a dedicated source of funding for hatchery maintenance would allow us to be more pro-active in avoiding these emergency situations.”
For more information, contact: Mel Moon, natural resources director, Quileute Tribe; (360) 374-5695; Dahnielle Buesch, Lonesome Creek Hatchery manager, Quileute Tribe, (360) 374-5696; Debbie Preston, coastal information officer, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commisson, (360) 374-5501, [email protected]