BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal

Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Title of project
Umatilla Hatchery Operations and Maintenance

BPA project number   8903500

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   OR-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameTrent Stickell
 Mailing addressOregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
P. O. Box 59
Portland, OR 97207

BPA technical contact   Jay Marcotte, EWN 503/231-6962

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   7.4I.1

Short description
Umatilla Fish Hatchery provides the majority of the fish production for restoring salmon and supplementing steelhead populations in the Umatilla River.

Project start year   1984    End year   1991

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   O & M

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
1. Umatilla Hatchery Monitoring and Evaluation (Project #9000500) - Evaluate effects and efficiency of compartmented raceways, rearing density and the use of supplemental oxygen on adult survival of chinook salmon and steelhead.

2. Outmigration Studies (Project #8902401) - This study evaluates the outmigration success of hatchery and naturally produced juvenile salmonids. Completion of tasks includes identifying the amount and location of juvenile mortality in the Umatilla River, success of outmigration for different rearing and release strategies, and description of their outmigration.

3. Umatilla Basin Natural Production M&E (Project #9000501) - This study evaluates the amount and extent of salmonid natural production in the Umatilla Basin. Identification is critical to determining the success of hatchery programs aimed at restoring and supplementing naturally producing populations.

4. Minthorne Springs Creek Summer Juvenile Release and Adult Collection Facility (Project #83435000) - Operation and monitoring of smolts that are acclimated prior to being released in the Umatilla River. Acclimation is being used to reduce straying of Umatilla fall chinook salmon into the Snake River.

5. Umatilla River Trap and Haul Program (Project #8802200) - Provides low water passage of fish in the Umatilla River by trapping fish and hauling to sections of the river with adequate water.

Project history
The Umatilla Fish Hatchery was authorized under the Northwest Power Planning Council’s (NPPC) Fish and Wildlife Program and began operation in 1991. Hatchery funding is provided by Bonneville Power Administration. The Hatchery is used for egg incubation and rearing of spring chinook, fall chinook and summer steelhead. Two satellite facilities (Bonifer Ponds and Minthorne Pond) are used for adult trapping/holding/spawning and juvenile fish acclimation.

Biological results achieved
Since Umatilla Hatchery began operation in 1991, over 15 million fall chinook, 6 million spring chinook, and 700 thousand summer steelhead have been stocked into the Umatilla River system.

Annual reports and technical papers
1. Monthly Progress Reports are submitted to BPA no later than 15 days after the end of the month.

2. Annual Operating Plan (AOP) - the AOP sets forth details of operation of the hatchery consistent with:

A. Provision of the Hatchery Management Plan (HMP) approved by the Council in October 1989; and

B. Fish hatchery operation policies required in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), Chapter 635-007-0510 through 0590. A proposed AOP is to be submitted to BPA at least six months prior to the start of a Fiscal Year (March 31).

3. Section 7 and/or Section 10 Biological Assessment and Biological Opinion for 1995 to 1998 for Hatchery Operations in the Columbia River Basin.

4. Integrated Hatchery Operations Team (IHOT) - Operation Plans for Anadromous Fish Production Facilities in the Columbia River Basin Volume III, Annual Report 1995, BPA.

Management implications
The Umatilla River once supported large runs of spring and fall chinook, coho, and summer steelhead which provided productive fisheries for both Indians and non-Indians. Runs of chinook and coho salmon were effectively eliminated from the Umatilla River over 65 years ago and summer steelhead runs have declined from historical levels. Today, an average of 1,900 summer steelhead return annually to the Umatilla River. Salmon introduced into the river beginning in 1983 are now returning but at only a fraction of historical levels.

The decline of summer steelhead and elimination of other salmon species in the Umatilla River was largely attributed to construction of Columbia River hydroelectric dams and hydroelectric and irrigation diversions on the Umatilla River. The Hermiston Power and Light Hydroelectric Project (RM 10) and Threemile Falls Dam (RM 3) irrigation diversion built on the Umatilla River in 1910 and 1914, respectively, are believed to have caused the largest decline of salmon and steelhead in the Umatilla Basin. Additional fish losses in the basin have resulted from habitat degradation and depletion of stream flows through irrigation.

Although once abundant, viable runs of spring chinook have not been present in the Umatilla River for over 70 years (mid-late teens through late 1980’s). Historically, the Lewis and Clark journals document the presence of a large village at the mouth of the Umatilla River where 700 Indians were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the spring chinook (Thwaites 1905 as cited in ODFW/CUIR 1989). This was one of the largest villages seen between The Dalles area and the mouth of the Snake River in the spring of 1806. The largest run of chinook within memory of white men was recorded in 1914 when Indians and non-Indians caught “thousands upon thousands of salmon from spring to fall” at the site of Threemile and Hermiston Power and Light dams (Van Cleve and Ting 1960). These records indicate that spring, summer, and fall chinook were abundant in the Umatilla River and that construction of these dams created areas where fish congregated. These authors state that noticeable declines in salmon and steelhead runs were reported in the years after construction of these dams. The last recorded sport harvest of 41 spring chinook salmon from the Umatilla River was reported by the Oregon Game Commission in 1956. Extensive water withdrawals from the Umatilla River Basin for irrigation and domestic use and habitat degradation have also contributed to the elimination of chinook from the Umatilla River.

Present Rehabilitation Efforts

As part of the CTUIR and ODFW Umatilla Fishery Rehabilitation Program being implemented under the NPPC’s Fish and Wildlife Program [Section 1403 (4.2, 4.6)], passage, flow, and habitat conditions are being improved. These projects are designed to support the hatchery supplementation program and enhance existing and future natural production in the subbasin.

Fish Passage Improvement

Screens and fishways at the five major diversions in the lower Umatilla River (Threemile Dam, RM 3; Maxwell, RM 15; Westland, RM 27; Cold Springs, RM 29; and Stanfield, RM 32) have been reconstructed to improve downstream and upstream survival of salmon and steelhead. A smolt and adult trapping facility has been constructed at Threemile Dam and a smolt trapping facility at Westland, to collect and transport smolts and adults around lower river diversions during periods of low flow.

Flow Enhancement

The CTUIR, ODFW, and Bureau of Reclamation have designed both interim and long-term projects to address flow problems in the Umatilla Basin. The CTUIR and ODFW have developed in interim flow enhancement project to increase flows in the Umatilla River prior to implementation of the Bureau of Reclamation Umatilla Basin Project. These plans have included use of West Extension Irrigation District pumps to improve flow below Threemile Dam and use of stored water from McKay Reservoir to improve flow below McKay Creek (RM 51). The success of these interim efforts has varied because of limited water availability during recent drought years.

The Umatilla Basin Project was developed by the Bureau of Reclamation in conjunction with the CTUIR, ODFW, and local agricultural, irrigation, and civic organizations. The Umatilla Basin Project is designed to achieve long-term fishery goals and alleviate water use conflicts in the Umatilla Basin. Project features are designed to meet stream flow objectives of 250 to 300 cfs during migration periods throughout the lower 51 miles of the mainstem Umatilla River. The project includes two phases of implementation. Phase I provides a pumping facility to exchange water with the West Extension Irrigation District and increase flows below Threemile Dam. Phase II is a larger Columbia River pumping complex designed to deliver water to the Hermiston and Stanfield Irrigation Districts (via Cold Springs Reservoir) and increase flows below McKay Creek during critical fish migration periods. Phase I was completed in the fall of 1992 and began operating in the spring of 1993. Phase II is expected to be completed and operational in 1996. These completion dates are dependent upon congressional funding appropriations for the Basin Project.

Habitat Improvement

The CTUIR, ODFW, and Forest Service are currently implementing a habitat enhancement plan for the Umatilla River and tributaries (ODFW et al. 1988). Initial riparian and in-stream habitat improvements have been completed on 68 miles of private, federal, and reservation lands in the Umatilla River Basin. Habitat improvements are planned to improve spawning and rearing habitat for naturally spawning summer steelhead and spring chinook. Additional habitat improvement needs have been identified in the Umatilla River Subbasin Salmon and Steelhead Plan (Umatilla Subbasin Plan) and are proposed for implementation in the NPPC’s Integrated System Plan (1991). The future program is designed to emphasize watershed-wide land use causative factors and related improvements affecting fisheries habitat.

Artificial Propagation

Beginning in 1981, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began reprogramming hatcheries to supply salmon and steelhead smolts for the Umatilla River. Umatilla Hatchery was constructed and began operation in the fall of 1991. Construction of the Umatilla Hatchery adult and juvenile satellite facilities began in 1983 and should be completed in 1996-97.

Specific measureable objectives
The NPPC authorized the hatchery construction to produce up to 290,000 pounds of salmon and steelhead for release into the Umatilla River Basin. This production is designed to:

1. Partially mitigate for fish losses caused by hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River.

2. Use artificial propagation as a component of the Umatilla fisheries restoration program to achieve natural and hatchery adult return goals as described in the Umatilla Hatchery Master Plan (1989) and Supplement (1993).

3. Test Michigan- versus Oregon-type rearing strategies (oxygen supplementation) and other experimental and supplemental rearing strategies.

4. Contribute to the NPPC goal for the Columbia Basin to “double the total number of adult salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin as fast as possible without further loss of biological diversity among or within anadromous and resident fish populations.”

Testable hypothesis
1. The CTUIR and ODFW have established an annual run size goal (in terms of adult returns to the Umatilla River) of 11,000 naturally and hatchery produced spring chinook (1,000 natural, 10,000 hatchery) by the year 2006. Achievement of these goals will be accomplished primarily by the release of smolts produced at Umatilla Hatchery, Northeast Oregon hatchery facilities, and other hatcheries in the Columbia Basin.

2. The annual run size goal for bright fall chinook is 21,000 naturally and hatchery produced fish (11,000 natural, 10,000 hatchery). The goal for summer steelhead is an annual adult return of 9,670.

At full production (290,000 lbs.) Umatilla Hatchery should be able to produce 100% of the summer steelhead, 85% of the bright fall chinook, and 34% of the spring chinook required to meet the adult return goals outlined in the Umatilla Hatchery Master Plan.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Realizing full fish production potential at Umatilla Hatchery is contingent upon:

1. Resolving the water shortage problem at Umatilla Hatchery so that identified production goals can be met;

2. Completion of acclimation/release sites at Mission, Pendleton, and Barnhart to increase smolt-to-adult survival rates;

3. Completion of adult/holding spawning facilities for fall chinook (Threemile Dam) and spring chinook (South Fork Walla Walla);

4. Completion of the oxygen supplementation evaluation so that maximum rearing container space can be utilized for fish production; and

5. Sufficient broodstock is collected and adequate numbers of viable eggs are taken to meet program needs.

Objective 1: The proposed salmon and steelhead production at Umatilla Hatchery with designed water flows is:

5,940,000 subyearlings (99,000 lbs.) of upriver bright fall chinook;
210,000 yearlings (42,000 lbs.) of spring chinook;
1,080,000 subyearlings (72,000 lbs.) of spring chinook; and
210,000 yearlings (42,000 lbs.) of summer steelhead

for release into the Umatilla River Basin annually.

Objective 2: Minimize interactions with other fish populations through proper rearing and release strategies.

Objective 3: Maintain stock integrity and genetic diversity of each unique stock through proper management of genetic resources.

Objective 4: Maximize survival at all life stages using disease control and disease prevention techniques. Prevent introduction, spread or amplification of fish pathogens.

Objective 5: Conduct environmental monitoring to ensure that hatchery operations comply with water quality standards and to assist in managing fish health.

Objective 6: Communicate effectively with other fish producers, managers and the public.


Fiscal Year 1996:

1. Implement actions as set forth in the Umatilla Hatchery and Basin Annual Operation Plan (AOP, December 19, 1995).

2. Submit Monthly Progress Reports as specified in Reporting Requirements section of BPA Intergovernmental Agreement.

3. Submit to BPA by March 31, 1996, a proposed AOP for Fiscal Year 1997.

Fiscal Year 1997-2001:

Same as above applicable to current fiscal year objectives.

Brief schedule of activities

Biological need
The Umatilla Hatchery was authorized under the Northwest Power Planning Council’s (NPPC) Fish and Wildlife Program and began operation in 1991. Hatchery funding is provided by the Bonneville Power Administration. The NPPC authorized the hatchery construction to produce up to 290,000 pounds of salmon and steelhead for release into the Umatilla River Basin. This production is designed to partially mitigate for fish losses caused by hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River and to use artificial propagation as a component of the Umatilla fisheries restoration program to achieve natural and hatchery adult return goals as described in the Umatilla Hatchery Master Plan and supplement.

Critical uncertainties
Specific uncertainties related to this project are listed within the Umatilla Hatchery Monitoring and Evaluation Project Proposal (Project #9000500).

Summary of expected outcome
It is expected that the Umatilla Hatchery production program will ultimately provide the desired numbers of adult returns to the Umatilla River as identified in the Umatilla Hatchery Master Plan (1989) and Supplement (1993). However, with current water flow available, Umatilla Hatchery will be operating at a reduced fish production level. The reduced production level will be 390,000 spring chinook yearlings (48,750 lbs.), 150,000 upriver bright fall chinook yearlings (18,750 lbs.), 2,682,000 upriver bright fall chinook subyearlings (44,700 lbs.), and 150,000 summer steelhead yearlings (30,000 lbs.) for release into the Umatilla River Basin annually.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Continued operation of the Umatilla Hatchery is contingent on BPA obtaining an approved Biological Opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service and funding identified for hatchery operation and maintenance requirements. Interagency coordination/communication is through the following forums: The Production Advisory Committee (PAC), Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Integrated Hatchery Operations Team (IHOT), Pacific Northwest Fish Health Protection Committee (PNFHPC), In-River Agreements with parties to U.S. v Oregon, and communications involving staff from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to discuss the operation and management of the hatchery and satellite facilities.

BPA submitted a Biological Assessment (BA) for the 1994 through 1998 operation of Umatilla Hatchery and associated facilities. The BA evaluates whether the proposed operation of Umatilla Hatchery and associated facilities are likely to adversely affect the continued existence of Snake River sockeye salmon, Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon, Snake River fall chinook salmon or their critical habitat.

Based on information in the BA, BPA determined that the proposed operation at the Umatilla Hatchery from 1994 through 1998 would not likely adversely affect listed Snake River salmon or their critical habitat.

On April 11, 1995, NMFS issued a Biological Opinion for 1995 through 1998 Hatchery Operations in the Columbia Basin. The operation of Umatilla Hatchery and associated facilities is included within this Biological Opinion. Umatilla Hatchery operations will comply with all prudent alternatives contained in the Biological Opinion to reduce impacts by reducing competition with and predation on chinook salmon and sockeye salmon fry.

All artificial fish propagation facilities operate with some level of accepted risk of not being able to achieve their desired result. At hatchery facilities this is more commonly expressed in terms of not achieving the designed fish production goals for a particular brood class. Umatilla Hatchery is no exception. There is always the potential of pump or multiple well water pump failure, electrical power failure or flood conditions to name a few that could potentially jeopardize all or part of a brood class at this facility.

Monitoring activity
A comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation program (Project #900500) has been ongoing since the hatchery began operation in 1991.

Section 3. Budget

Data shown are the total of expense and capital obligations by fiscal year. Obligations for any given year may not equal actual expenditures or accruals within the year, due to carryover, pre-funding, capitalization and difference between operating year and BPA fiscal year.

Historic costsFY 1996 budget data*Current and future funding needs
1995: 908,000
New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 1,250,000
1998: 1,313,000
1999: 1,378,000
2000: 1,447,000
2001: 1,519,000

* For most projects, Authorized is the amount recommended by CBFWA and the Council. Planned is amount currently allocated. Contracted is the amount obligated to date of printout.

Funding recommendations

CBFWA funding review group   Bonneville Dam - Priest Rapids Dam

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $1,250,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $797,050