Summer- and fall-run chinook were once abundant in the Yakima River Basin, but the runs were decimated as a result of historical land and water development and fisheries management practices. By 1970, the summer-run component was extirpated and the fall-run is maintained by hatchery production using out-of-basin broodstock.
Yakama Nation Fisheries (YNF) has been exploring sturgeon culture requirements by rearing small numbers of white sturgeon in tribal hatchery facilities since the 1990s. Fish were obtained from various sources, including the private Pelfrey sturgeon hatchery operating downstream from Bonneville Dam and mid-Columbia hatchery research by CRITFC and the USFWS.
The Yakama Nation is working to restore natural production of Pacific lamprey to a level that will provide robust species abundance, significant ecological contributions and meaningful harvest within the Yakama Nations Ceded Lands and in the Usual and Accustomed areas.
Columbia River steelhead are iteroparous (able to spawn multiple times). However, as post-spawned steelhead (kelts) attempt to migrate downstream to return to the ocean, their survival is adversely affected by major dams. Therefore, an innovative approach to effectively increasing abundance and productivity of steelhead populations is to capitalize on their inherent iteroparity by reconditioning kelts.
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.