Recent Elwha hatchery release said to fare better than previous efforts

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A note from the Elwha River and the efforts of WA-DNR and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal efforts to repopulate the newly-undammed Elwha with a fresh population of salmonids:

State Department of Fish and Wildlife staff took specific precautions to ensure that nearly 1 million baby chinook salmon would survive after they were released into the sediment-plagued Elwha River at the beginning of the month.

There have been no fish deaths observed, an agency official said.

The release that began May 31 was the first since a still-undetermined number of year-old chinook salmon were found dead along the sediment-congested river in the days following an April 5 release of 196,575 smolts from the Fish and Wildlife fish-rearing channel about 3.5 miles from the mouth of the river.

Hatchery workers changed their strategy this time, acclimating smolts in hatchery tubs to water with a level of turbidity similar to that they’d encounter in the wild. Workers report finding no dead fish between the hatchery and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Even if these aren’t native salmonids, at least those they are releasing aren’t instantly dying by the thousands. Read the rest here from Jeremy Schwartz at Peninsula Daily News (Port Angeles WA).

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