WA: Touchet River spring chinook reintroduction proposal to be discussed March 15 in Dayton

SPOKANE – A proposal to reintroduce hatchery spring chinook salmon and possible future salmon fisheries to the Touchet River will be the topic of a March 15 public meeting in Dayton, hosted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR).

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Seneca Labor Camp Activities Building on Green Giant Camp Road, east of the Highway 12 overpass at the east end of Dayton.

Before taking questions and comments, WDFW and CTUIR fish biologists will make a short presentation about the tribes’ hatchery-origin spring chinook reintroduction program for the Walla Walla Basin and proposed plans to expand reintroduction efforts into the Touchet River.

The Touchet River proposal is an initial pilot project to facilitate development of a comprehensive hatchery spring chinook reintroduction program.

Establishing a hatchery-origin population of spring chinook in the Touchet River could provide state and tribal fishing opportunity in the future, said fishery managers.

CTUIR Fisheries Program Manager Gary James of Pendleton, Ore., said hatchery chinook reintroduction in the south fork of the Walla Walla River and upper Mill Creek has been successful and could be expanded to the Touchet River tributary.

“We’d like to describe the plans and gauge public support for this reintroduction proposal,” said WDFW District Fish Biologist Glen Mendel of Dayton.

Interested persons who cannot attend the meeting may send questions or comments to teamspokane@dfw.wa.gov by March 30.

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