The Chief Joseph Hatchery is scheduled for completion in May and should be rearing chinook salmon in July.
The $49 million facility near Chief Joseph Dam will, by 2015, raise 2.9 million salmon a year to help replace the fisheries lost after the construction of Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams, which halted the upstream migrations of salmon.
It will employ 11 people once it’s operational. Currently 66 people are working at the site.
The project includes two acclimation ponds at Riverside and Omak, which will allow the young fish to get used to the river water before they are released.
Also included in the project are four houses for hatchery staff, a
domestic water supply, wastewater treatment, RV pads with power supply for additional staff.
The construction cost is paid with electric ratepayer money from the Bonneville Power Administration through the Colville Tribes “Fish Accords.” The hatchery is fourth of four such hatcheries authorized by Congress, according to the tribal Fish and Wildlife Department.
A department press released said the project aims to increase the abundance, productivity, distribution, and diversity of natural spawning populations of spring/summer/fall Chinook salmon in the Okanogan and Columbia Rivers, and to help provide hatchery fish for tribal ceremonies and subsistence needs and increase recreational fishing opportunities.