In your Feb. 4 article “Salmon in the Smoke,” author Taylor Griggs did well pointing out a myriad of problems facing spring chinook, but after many decades of uninformed hatchery practices is there any evidence of truly wild Chinook in existence? What can we do to preserve those original genetic qualities that remain?
It is unrealistic to assume any reversal of commercial, residential,and flood control development on water ways that supported the Willamette Valley spring Chinook of a hundred years ago. To remove hatcheries and eliminate sports fishing would result in what few fish our depleted river systems could support given all the development and natural predation.
The article failed to mention the proven success of wild broodstock hatchery programs that are implemented to supplement what is left of wild genetics without using the poor hatchery practices of the past. The hatchery fish used for breeding in this method are unmarked fish born of the gravel to which they have returned to spawn, while their offspring released are marked so that, as returning adults, they will not be used for breeding. This method has been proven over decades on north Oregon coastal streams to maintain the genetic qualities of steelhead by mitigating their predation (because of increased numbers of smolts), and at the same time providing a hatchery fish to be caught, killed and eaten. I would like to see an article detailing this method, including data showing its effectiveness.