Artificial production within the Umatilla subbasin includes summer steelhead, coho, and spring and fall chinook salmon programs. The summer steelhead, spring chinook, and subyearling fall chinook programs are funded by BPA as part of the Northwest Power Planning Council Fish and Wildlife Program. The fall chinook yearling program is funded under the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers John Day Mitigation Program, and the coho are produced under the Mitchell Act.
The first releases of hatchery summer steelhead occurred from 1967 through 1970 and were of Skamania and Oxbow stocks (Appendix D). The first release of Umatilla stock steelhead occurred in 1975 and releases every year since have been of endemic stock. Broodstock for the program are collected at Three Mile Dam on the lower Umatilla River. Historically, numbers released and release locations have varied; however, the current program is to acclimate and release 150,000 smolts annually into Meacham Creek and the upper mainstem Umatilla River.
Coho salmon have been released from 1966 through 1969 and from 1987 to the present and have been primarily of Tanner Creek stock (Appendix E). Broodstock for the program are collected at Bonneville Hatchery. Historically, numbers released and release locations have varied, however, the current program is to acclimate and release 1,500,000 smolts annually into the mainstem Umatilla River.
Spring chinook salmon from Carson stock have been released since 1986 (Appendix F). Beginning with the 1998 releases, Carson stock spring chinook returning to the Umatilla River have been the primary broodstock source for the Umatilla River program. The goal for the program is to collect all broodstock at Three Mile Dam. Historically, numbers released and release locations have varied, however, the current program is to acclimate and release 710,000 yearling smolts annually into the upper mainstem Umatilla River.
Fall chinook salmon have been released in the Umatilla River Basin every year since 1982 (Appendix G). These releases have included both yearling and subyearling life history stages. The 1982 release was from Spring Creek tule stock. Since then, all releases have been of upriver bright stock. Upriver brights returning to the Umatilla River have been the primary broodstock source for the yearling John Day Mitigation Program since 1997. Broodstock for the program are to be collected at Three Mile Dam and Priest Rapids Hatchery. Historically, numbers released and release locations have varied, however, the current program is to acclimate and release 480,000 yearling and 600,000 subyearling smolts annually into the mainstem Umatilla River.
In addition to the juvenile release programs, an adult fall chinook-outplanting program was initiated in 1996. Surplus upriver bright stock from Priest Rapids and Ringold Springs hatcheries are released into natural production areas in the mid Umatilla River. The goal of the program is to release 1,000 adults annually. Actual releases have ranged from 200 to 970. (Table 49). There are also plans to outplant 100 surplus spring chinook from Ringold Springs Hatchery into Meacham Creek. This program has not been initiated to date.
Table 49. Fall chinook adult outplants released into the Umatilla River since 1996
Historically, legal-sized rainbow trout were stocked throughout the Umatilla River basin. Stocking over the past decade however, has occurred only in the mainstem Umatilla River and lower McKay Creek. From 1990 through 1993, approximately 8,000 legal sized Cape Cod rainbow trout were stocked in the upper Umatilla River. In 1994, stocking of legal sized rainbow trout was relocated downstream to the Pendleton area to reduce interaction with wild redband rainbow/steelhead trout in the upper Umatilla River. In 1999, all stocking of rainbow trout within the Umatilla Basin was discontinued in an effort to protect wild stocks of redband rainbow/steelhead trout. Numbers of trout stocked in the Umatilla River is summarized in Table 50.
Table 50. Rainbow trout stocked in Umatilla basin streams, 1991 – 2000 (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife data).
Umatilla Hatchery, constructed and operated under the Fish and Wildlife Program, is the central production facility for the Umatilla Basin Fish Restoration Program. It is operated by ODFW and currently produces summer steelhead, spring chinook, and subyearling fall chinook salmon. A number of out of basin hatchery facilities also produce fish for the program. Bonneville Hatchery produces yearling fall chinook, Little White Salmon Hatchery produces spring chinook, and Cascade Hatchery and Lower Herman Creek Ponds produce coho salmon.
There is also a hatchery facility proposed in the Umatilla Hatchery Supplemental Master Plan. This hatchery would be located at the same site as the existing South Fork Walla Walla adult holding facility. The hatchery would produce additional yearling spring chinook smolts for the Umatilla River in order to achieve natural production, broodstock and harvest objectives. The master plan for this project is scheduled to go through the NPPC review process later in 2001.
An integral part of the artificial production program for the basin also includes juvenile acclimation and adult holding and spawning satellite facilities. These facilities are all operated by CTUIR under the Umatilla Hatchery Satellite Facilities Operation and Maintenance project. There are five acclimation facilities in the basin; Bonifer Pond, Minthorn Springs, Imeques C-mem-ini-kem, Thornhollow, and Pendleton. The first acclimation facility (Bonifer) was constructed and began operations in 1983. With the completion of the Pendleton facility in 2000, all juvenile salmon and steelhead released into the basin are now acclimated.
There are also three adult facilities associated with the Fish Restoration Program. Summer steelhead are held and spawned at Minthorn, fall chinook at Three Mile Dam, and spring chinook at South Fork Walla Walla. Three Mile Dam may also be used for holding and spawning coho salmon. Broodstock for these facilities are collected and transported from the Three Mile Dam Adult Trapping and Handling Complex by the Umatilla River Fish Passage Operations project. The number of broodstock collected at Three Mile Dam and green eggs taken for each species is listed in Table 51.
CTUIR has been working cooperatively with the USGS-Biological Resource Division, Columbia River Research Lab (CRRL) in Cook, WA to develop and refine artificial propagation techniques for Pacific lamprey. Lamprey were collected from the John Day River in 1998 and manually spawned at CRRL in June 1998. Although, these techniques have not been finalized and are still under refinement, it is one option that the CTUIR is considering for reestablishment of lamprey in CTUIR’s ceded areas.
Lamprey collected from the John Day River and the John Day Dam are being used to reestablish larval abundance in the Umatilla River by outplanting them in prime natural production locations close to spawning time. In 1999, CTUIR collected 100 adult lamprey by hand at Tumwater Falls on the John Day River approximately 16 km above the confluence with the Columbia River in July and August. An additional 500 adult lamprey were collected at the John Day Dam fish ladder during winter dewatering and maintenance. All lamprey were transported to the CRRL, and treated with oxytetracycline at a dose of 10 mg/kg for bacterial infections and treated with 37% formaldehyde (formalin) for external parasites. Fish were maintained in 0.9-m diameter tanks supplied with river water at a temperature of 6-8C. To induce sexual development of lamprey, water temperature was increased from 6C in May to 15C by mid June 2000.
Table 51. Number of broodstock collected at Three Mile Dam and green eggs taken
Lamprey were checked weekly for ripeness and checked for disease before release into the Umatilla River. In May of 2000, 600 adult lamprey were released at river km 119 near Meacham Creek. In 2000, adult lamprey were collected only from the Columbia River mainstem at John Day Dam. The goal is to outplant 500 adults annually into the Umatilla River to begin restoration efforts. The numerous habitat enhancement actions ongoing and proposed for salmonids are also expected to benefit Pacific lamprey. Continual evaluation of adult outplanting will be necessary to determine success of restoration efforts.