There will be more chinook salmon swimming up the Upper Columbia River in the very near future thanks in part to a new high-tech hatchery facility.
The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will host a First Salmon and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony to open their brand new hatchery 8 a.m. Thursday, June 20.
The $50-million hatchery in Bridgeport sits on 15-acres of land along the northern shoreline of the Columbia River below Chief Joseph Dam.
The facility lies on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property within the boundaries of the Colville Indian Reservation, and will be managed by the tribe.
It has 40 raceways (10 feet by 120 feet), three rearing ponds and three acclimation ponds (both onsite and offsite at the Okanogan River).
The hatchery will produce up to 2.9-million spring and summer-run chinook that will boost returns and provide more fish to tribal and sport fisheries in the Columbia and Okanogan rivers.
About 700,000 spring chinook will be produced in the hatchery, and another 300,000 will introduced into the Okanogan, and will be the first of its kind for that river.
Close to one-million summer-run chinook will be released directly from the hatchery into the river at Bridgeport, and all these fish are expected to be ready for release by 2014.
All anglers should see the benefits from this hatchery in 2017 as these fish migrate back to the Upper Columbia.
This new hatchery has been in the work for more than a decade.
Those who’ve had a hand in making this a reality are the Colville Tribe, Bonneville Power Administration, Grant County Public Utility District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More partners include the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Douglas County Public Utility District and Chelan County Public Utility District.
Pat Phillips who worked with state Fish and Wildlife’s hatchery program from more than two decades will manage the new facility.
The celebration activities will happen at the Chief Joseph Hatchery Administration Building off of State Park Golf Course Road east of State Route 17, and at a park adjacent to the hatchery.
There will be an opening ceremony, storytelling, speakers, recognition of project partners, and tours of the hatchery will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.