Tribes to celebrate opening of Chief Joseph Hatchery
The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will host a First Salmon and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony to open a state-of-the-art hatchery June 20 in Bridgeport, near Chief Joseph Dam.
The facility will significantly boost the availability of chinook salmon for the tribe and for sport fishing in the Columbia River as well as reintroduce spring chinook to the Okanogan River.
The $50 million hatchery will release up to 2.9 million chinook salmon. The construction and program implementation was a collaborative effort between the Colville Tribes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration and Grant County Public Utility District. Additional partners include the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Douglas County Public Utility District and Chelan County Public Utility District.
The opening of the hatchery, said John Sirois, chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, “commemorates both the return of the chinook salmon and serves as a testament to the important and meaningful work that can be accomplished when federal, tribal and state entities come together for the common purpose of restoring our Columbia River.”
The Colvilles will manage the hatchery on 15 acres of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property on the north bank of the Columbia River.
The hatchery will help to rebuild naturally spawning salmon runs in areas impacted by the construction and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System as well as provide partial mitigation for hydroelectric project impacts to Upper Columbia chinook salmon associated with the operation of the Mid-Columbia Public Utility District dams on the Columbia River.
The day’s activities, which are open to the public, take place at both the Chief Joseph Hatchery administration building off of State Park Golf Course Road east of Washington State Route 17 and at a park adjacent to the hatchery.
The schedule of events begins at 8 a.m. Thursday and includes a noon luncheon and a tour at 1 p.m.