With the plight of starving orcas front and center in the region, federal fishery overseers will consider a proposal to raise an additional 2 million fall Chinook smolts in the Green-Duwamish.
The National Marine Fisheries Service put out a notice late last week that it will prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement for whether to boost releases in the King County river system above the level originally proposed by state and tribal managers.
“The alternative to be analyzed in the DSEIS is informed by the applicant’s interest in increasing hatchery production of juvenile Chinook salmon, and NMFS’ analysis of the status of endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and the importance of Chinook salmon prey to their food base,” a notice published in the Federal Register reads.
Green-Duwamish Chinook were identified as among the most important current feedstocks for orcas, and they also provide sport and tribal fisheries.
The original EIS for the system called for release of as many as 5.1 million fall kings, mostly by WDFW and with 600,000 of those part of a new Muckleshoot “Fish Restoration Facility ” to be built below Howard Hansen Dam on the upper Green.
The supplementary Chinook would be reared at WDFW’s Soos Creek Hatchery for release at Palmer Ponds.