Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery Programs
The following comments were submitted in response to the open comment period described below.
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BPA is proposing to fund 1) a Snake River Steelhead Kelt Reconditioning program for the capture, reconditioning, and release of post-spawn Snake River steelhead; 2) construction of a reconditioning facility within the Nez Perce Tribal Fish Hatchery (NPTH) near Lewiston, Idaho; 3) ongoing hatchery operations for the production of 825,000 spring/summer and 1,400,000 fall Chinook salmon at NPTH; and 4) the replacement of two surface water pumps to serve the hatchery. The Kelt Reconditioning Program would capitalize on the unique adaption that steelhead have to spawn multiple times in their lifetime. The abundance of this life history pattern is currently lower than it was historically due the difficulty with downstream passage of adult fish at mainstem hydropower facilities. Kelt reconditioning consists of the capture of post-spawned steelhead and the administration of disease-preventative medications and feed for the purpose of improving survival over what would be expected in the wild. Upon release, these fish are expected to return again to their spawning areas, successfully spawn, and thereby increase spawner returns and productivity.
To understand the potential environmental impacts of this proposal, BPA is preparing an environmental assessment (EA) to help determine the potential impacts the project would have on the human environment. Based on the analysis in the EA and comments received, BPA will prepare either a finding of no significant impact and decide whether to proceed with the project, or an environmental impact statement if there is the potential for significant environmental impacts. All comments are posted in their entirety on the project's comment webpage. The National Marine Fisheries Service is a cooperating Agency with BPA in preparation of this EA. Their cooperation concerns their proposal to permit the kelt reconditioning actions evaluated in this EA.
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Close of comment: 1/29/2018