Hatchery Plan for Wells Summer Chinook Salmon
NOAA Fisheries is notifying the public that it has made available a Final Supplemental Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Wells Summer Chinook Hatchery Program for Southern Resident Killer Whales. The HGMP describes the programs in detail, including monitoring and evaluation to assess performance in meeting conservation and supplementation objectives and their effects on ESA-listed Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. The HGMP was submitted for consideration under the above-mentioned ESA compliance pathways.
The Proposed Action is for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to make an Endangered Species Act (ESA) determination under limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Douglas Public Utility District’s (PUD) Wells Summer Chinook Salmon Hatchery Program for Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW). The ESA Limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule authorization allows for state or federal hatchery programs that may encounter ESA-listed species to operate their program with ESA coverage. This program propagates subyearling summer Chinook salmon at the Wells Hatchery in the Upper Columbia River Basin and is an increase in current summer Chinook salmon production at the Wells Hatchery.
Alternatives considered for the project include a “No Action Alternative” where NMFS would not make a determination under the ESA 4(d) Rule; a “Proposed Action Alterative” (Preferred Alternative) where NMFS would make a determination that the submitted Hatchery Genetic and Management Plan (HGMP) meets the criteria of limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule to produce up to 1,000,000 Chinook salmon smolts; a “Reduced Production Alternative” where the the hatchery operators would submit a revised HGMP proposing the production of 500,000 Chinook salmon smolts (i.e., a 50 percent reduction) and NMFS would make a determination that the revised HGMP meets the criteria of limit 5 of the 4(d) Rule; and a “No Production Alternative” where the proposed hatchery program would not be implemented.
Based on the information examined through the study of this project, the NMFS has determined that a Supplemental Environmental Assessment is the appropriate level of environmental documentation. The NMFS has determined that there are no significant impacts associated with the project and has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact.
For more information on this process, please contact Natasha Preston at (503) 231-2178 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on hatchery programs that NOAA Fisheries is evaluating along the West Coast, please visit our hatcheries web page.