THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GRANT COUNTY (WASH.) UTILITIES DISTRICT
After breaking ground over a year ago, construction is complete on a new Sockeye Hatchery on Shingle Creek in Penticton, British Columbia.
The hatchery will be operational this fall and is a component of a 49-year agreement signed by Grant PUD in 2011 with the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA). The ONA is a collaborative group made up of eight first-nation communities partnering with Grant and Chelan PUDs. As a portion of the agreement with the ONA, Grant PUD agreed to pay 55 percent of construction costs for the facility and 66 percent of the annual operations and maintenance costs in exchange for producing up to 1.143 million sockeye fry Grant PUD is required to release annually. The site is located on the Penticton Indian Band’s reservation and was chosen because of its optimal conditions and geographic location for producing sockeye.
These requirements stem from the 2006 Salmon and Steelhead Settlement Agreement signed by resource agencies, tribal representatives and Grant PUD which requires the utility to mitigate for impacts to sockeye salmon as a result of operation of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. This $10.5 million hatchery allows Grant PUD to meet its requirements for sockeye obligations well into the future, with ONA contracted to be the operator of the facility.
“Salmon and steelhead runs continue to break records each year. Habitat restoration, and hatchery efforts, coupled with our successful fish passage modifications at our dams (like the fish bypasses), demonstrate that our hard work and collaboration is paying off,” said Commissioner Terry Brewer.
Returning adult salmon and steelhead passing Priest Rapids Dam this year are approaching one million. The 10-year average for salmon and steelhead at Priest Rapids dam is 331,322 (2004-2013). The 20-year average is 231,081 (1994-2013).