Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project (YKFP)

 
Project abstract: 

To restore sustainable and harvestable populations of salmon, steelhead, and other at-risk species, the YKFP is evaluating all stocks historically present in the Yakima and Klickitat Subbasins and, using principles of adaptive management, is applying a combination of habitat protection and restoration, as well as hatchery supplementation or reintroduction strategies to address limiting factors.

Project goals: 

To restore sustainable and harvestable populations of salmon, steelhead, and other at-risk species to the Yakima and Klickitat Subbasins.

Project plan: 

The YKFP is now working with subbasin stakeholders to implement a series of complimentary habitat restoration and supplementation/reintroduction projects targeting all species historically present in the subbasins.

Yakima Subbasin

  • Reintroduce species (coho, sockeye, summer-run chinook, lamprey) that were historically present but have been extirpated from the Subbasin.
  • Release approximately 810,000 spring chinook annually from the Levi George spring chinook Supplementation and Research Facility at Cle Elum in the Upper Yakima River.  Work with Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries, and other partners to monitor and evaluate the impact of these releases on viable salmon population parameters (e.g., abundance, productivity, spatial distribution, diversity) and ecological interactions using the unsupplemented Naches River system as an environmental control.
  • Capture post-spawned kelt steelhead that are diverted into the Chandler irrigation canal and recondition them at the Prosser Hatchery.  Release surviving reconditioned kelt steelhead to the Yakima River below Prosser Dam in late October coincident with the peak migration of Yakima River steelhead returning from the ocean. Monitor and evaluate the impact of these releases on viable salmon population parameters (e.g., abundance, productivity, spatial distribution, diversity) including reproductive success of reconditioned kelts.
  • Release approximately 2.0-2.5 million fall chinook smolts annually for harvest augmentation and natural stock restoration.
  • Monitor and evaluate the impact of avian and piscivorous predators on juvenile salmon.  Work with subbasin partners to contain the populations of native and non-native predators such as northern pikeminnow, smallmouth bass, catfish, and lake trout.
  • Monitor and evaluate passage and survival bottlenecks for juvenile salmon.  Work with the Bureau of Reclamation and other subbasin partners to locate and address these bottlenecks.
  • Work with the Bureau of Reclamation and other subbasin partners to restore fish passage to upstream reservoirs initially targeting Cle Elum and Bumping lakes.

Klickitat Subbasin

  • Implement hatchery reforms to improve survival and adult return of all species and to reduce potential impacts to native species.
  • Work with partners to fund and construct the Wahkiacus Acclimation Facility to improve survival and adult return of fall chinook and coho and to reduce potential impacts to native species.

Both Subbasins

Although the main focus of this project is monitoring and evaluation of fishery restoration actions using hatchery-origin fish, the YKFP recognizes that hatchery supplementation will not result in long-term sustainable natural populations without concurrent efforts to restore habitats the fish require. In addition to YKFP habitat activities discussed in this and related YKFP projects, a number of habitat restoration projects sponsored by other entities are being implemented.

Project progress: 

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