Reviews

The HSRG has completed comprehensive reviews of hatchery programs in the Puget Sound, Coastal Washington, Columbia River Basin, and Elwha River. In addition, the HSRG has completed recent reviews of several Environmental Impact Statements and recovery plans.

All final reports, reviews, presentations, and other final documents produced by the HSRG are available below. Also available are supporting articles, presentations, and other documents that the HSRG consulted. All of these files are also accessible from the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Library.

The HSRG prepared this final white paper at the request of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as an addendum to the HSRG’s 2017 Framework Paper. The 2017 Framework paper presented an approach for implementing hatchery reform concepts within the context of recovering natural salmonid populations. The purpose of this 2020 white paper is to assist anadromous fisheries managers with a key step in implementing hatchery reform—the process of identifying recovery phase objectives and phase transition triggers for the four biological recovery phases: Preservation, Recolonization, Local Adaptation, and Full Restoration.

The final report delivered by the HSRG in 2020 along with the HSRG 2017 Framework Paper are available from the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the hyperlinks:

  • Developing Recovery Objectives and Phase Triggers for Salmonid Populations, Hatchery Scientific Review Group, 2020 (view)
  • Implementation of Hatchery Reform in the Context of Recovery Planning Using the AHA/ISIT Tool (Appendix A), Hatchery Scientific Review Group, 2017 (view)

From 2001 through 2003, the HSRG systematically reviewed all hatchery programs in the Puget Sound and Coastal Washington. The HSRG worked closely with the state, tribal, and federal managers of the hatchery system—with facilitation provided by the non-profit organization Long Live the Kings and the law firm Gordon Thomas Honeywell—to successfully complete reviews of over 200 hatchery programs at more than 100 hatcheries across western Washington. That phase of the project culminated in 2004 with the publication of reports containing the HSRG’s principles for hatchery reform and recommendations for Puget Sound/Coastal Washington hatchery programs, followed by the development in 2005 of a suite of analytical tools to support application of the principles.

The 10 regional reports that include region-wide recommendations, and a short document providing an overview of the review are available from the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the following hyperlinks:

  • Hatchery Reform Principles and Recommendations of the Hatchery Scientific Review Group, HSRG, 2004 (view)
  • Central Puget Sound, HSRG, 2003 (view)
  • Eastern Straits, HSRG, 2002 (view)
  • Grays Harbor, HSRG, 2004 (view)
  • Hood Canal, HSRG, 2004 (view)
  • Nooksack/Samish Rivers, HSRG, 2003 (view)
  • North Coast, HSRG, 2004 (view)
  • Skagit River Basin, HSRG, 2003 (view)
  • South Sound, HSRG, 2002 (view)
  • Stillaguamish/Snohomish, HSRG, 2002 (view)
  • Willapa Bay, HSRG, 2004 (view)

View a map of the Puget Sound areas.

In 2005, Congress directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries to replicate the project in the Lower Columbia River Basin. The scope was then expanded to include the entire Columbia River Basin, with additional funding provided by the Bonneville Power Administration under the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program.

The objective of the HSRG’s Columbia River Basin review was to change the focus of the Columbia River hatchery system. In the past, hatchery programs were aimed at supplying fish for harvest, primarily as mitigation for hydropower development in the Basin. Hatchery reform takes a new, ecosystem-based approach, founded on the idea that harvest goals are sustainable only if they are compatible with conservation goals. The challenge before the HSRG was to determine whether conservation and harvest goals could be met by fishery managers and, if so, how. The HSRG determined that to address these twin goals, both hatchery and harvest reforms are necessary.

The final report and appendices, along with other summary documents, are available from the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the following hyperlinks:

  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix A: White Papers, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix B: Professional Biographies, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix C: Analytical Methods and Information Sources, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix D: User Guide, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix E: Population Reports, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix F: Manager Comments, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix G: Population Report Glossary, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Columbia River Hatchery Reform System-Wide Report, Appendix H: Information Management Plan, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Report to Congress on Columbia River Basin Hatchery Reform, HSRG, 2009 (view)
  • Summary of HSRG Findings for Chum Populations in the Lower Columbia River and Gorge, HSRG, 2008 (view)
  • Preview of Key Findings for Lower Columbia River Coho Hatchery Programs, HSRG, 2008 (view)
  • Preview of Key Findings for Lower Columbia River Steelhead Hatchery Programs, HSRG, 2008 (view)
  • Preview of Key Findings for Lower Columbia River Hatchery Program, HSRG, 2007 (view)
  • Policy Statement, HSRG, n.d. (view)

View a map of the Columbia River regions

In a letter dated December 6, 2011, the co‐managers requested the HSRG to review “Chinook, steelhead, coho, chum, and pink salmon hatchery programs in the Elwha River.” The letter further states, “We are asking the HSRG to assess the risks and benefits of the programs, evaluate the likelihood that the programs will achieve the stated goals, and identify any potential program modifications that would improve the likelihood of achieving our goals.” In a response letter dated December 8, 2011, the HSRG agreed to the co‐managers’ request and outlined a schedule and approach for the review.

The Elwha River Fish Restoration Plan (Plan) was developed by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (LEKT) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in collaboration with their federal partners pursuant to the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992, Pub.L. 102-495, 106 Stat. 3173. The Plan provided a solid framework for the restoration of the Elwha River and strongly supported the stated goal of “reestablishing self-sustaining anadromous salmonid populations and habitats” (Elwha River Restoration Plan 2008).

Building on that collaborative framework, the HSRG reviewed Chinook, steelhead, coho, chum, and pink salmon hatchery programs in the Elwha River. The review was structured similarly to previous HSRG reviews in Puget Sound. The process was initiated with the LEKT and WDFW identifying the goals of the hatchery program for each species and describing proposed actions to achieve those goals. This description included broodstock management procedures, risk aversion measures, performance standards and indicators, production levels, release strategies, and performance history of the program. Relative to the goals identified by LEKT and WDFW, the HSRG assessed the risks and benefits of the programs, evaluated the likelihood that the programs will achieve the stated goals, and identified any potential program modifications that would improve the likelihood of achieving goals.

The HSRG review of the Elwha River Fish Restoration Plan and associated Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) assessed the benefits and risks of the proposed programs for re-establishing self-sustaining populations of five species of anadromous fish (Chinook, coho, chum, and pink salmon and steelhead) in the Elwha River Basin. Detailed discussion of the approach to analysis is provided in Chapter 1 of the report. The conclusions the HSRG reached for each of the five fish species are presented in Chapters 2 through 6, with Chapter 7 focusing on the importance of monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive management.

The final report is available from the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the following hyperlink:

  • Review of the Elwha River Fish Restoration Plan and Accompanying HGMPs, HSRG, 2012 (view)

In 2014, the HSRG completed a comprehensive review of scientific advancements in hatchery management. The purposes of the review were to:

  • Provide an updated perspective on the role of hatcheries in salmon and steelhead management in the Pacific Northwest
  • Evaluate the impact of the HSRG’s work on hatchery management in the Pacific Northwest
  • Review new information and consider whether the HSRG’s principles, broad recommendations, and analytical framework were still consistent with the best available science

The resulting report, titled On the Science of Hatcheries: An Updated Perspective on the Role of Hatcheries in Salmon and Steelhead Management in the Pacific Northwest (2014), provides an update from the HSRG on the progress being made toward science-based hatchery reform and related changes in harvest management. The paper reviews recent advancements in the science and understanding of the effects of hatchery operations on the conservation and sustainable fisheries goals of tribal, state, and federal managers. The key conclusions from this paper were included in the HSRG’s Annual Report to Congress on the Science of Hatcheries: An Updated Perspective on the Role of Hatcheries in Salmon and Steelhead Management in the Pacific Northwest (2014).

In 2015, the HSRG completed an update of its principles and recommendations originally presented in the 2009 Report to Congress. The updated principles and recommendations were summarized in the HSRG’s Annual Report to Congress on the Science of Hatcheries: A Report on the Application of Up-to-Date Science in the Management of Salmon and Steelhead Hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest (2015). The principles and recommendations provide a method of incorporating the best available science into policy decisions about the design and operation of hatcheries. The principles and recommendations will continue to be reviewed periodically by the HSRG to ensure consistency with new science as it emerges, consistent with the requirement that all hatchery programs should include flexibility to adapt to new information and a process to ensure that changes warranted by new information are implemented.

The HSRG report produced from this effort resulted in the 2014 report below and informed conclusions, recommendations, and principles incorporated in the HSRG’s 2014 and 2015 Annual Reports to Congress. 

The following documents are available from the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the hyperlinks:

  • On the Science of Hatcheries: An Updated Perspective on the Role of Hatcheries in Salmon and Steelhead Management in the Pacific Northwest, HSRG, 2014 (view)
  • Annual Report to Congress on the Science of Hatcheries, 2015: A Report on the Application of Up-to-Date Science in the Management of Salmon and Steelhead Hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest, HSRG, 2015 (view)

The HSRG was also requested to review these five programs/plans:

  • Mitchell Act Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board Sustainable Fisheries Plan
  • Puget Sound Early Winter Steelhead Draft EIS
  • Snake River Fall Chinook Recovery Plan
  • Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook and Steelhead Recovery Plan

These reviews resulted in five memo-styled responses summarizing the HSRG’s comments. These memos are available from the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the following hyperlinks:

  • Hatchery Scientific Review Group, Comments on the Proposed ESA Recovery Plan for Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon, HSRG, 2017 (view)
  • Hatchery Scientific Review Group Comments on the Lower Columbia Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries Plan for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Partnership with the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board, HSRG, 2016 (view)
  • Hatchery Scientific Review Group, Comments on the Proposed ESA Recovery Plan for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon and Snake River Steelhead, HSRG, 2016 (view)
  • Review of Draft Environmental Impact Statement to Analyze Impacts of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service Proposed 4(d) Determination under Limit 6 for Five Early Winter Steelhead Hatchery Programs in Puget Sound, HSRG, 2015 (view)
  • Comments on Final Environmental Impact Statement to Inform Columbia River Basin Hatchery Operations and the Funding of the Mitchell Act Hatchery Programs, HSRG, 2014 (view)

Gorton Report

In 1999, the Gorton Science Advisory Team prepared a report for then-Sen. Slade Gorton, of Washington, that examined the potential for using hatcheries to support fisheries while simultaneously aiding recovery of natural stocks. The process described in the report requires that goals be established for each hatchery, that these programs be scientifically founded and evaluated, that independent scientists interact with agency scientists to provide direction and operational guidelines, and that the system as a whole be audited for effectiveness.

The team’s 1999 report is available on the HSRG Document Table below and by clicking the following hyperlink:

  • The Reform of Salmon and Steelhead Hatcheries in Puget Sound and Coastal Washington to Recover Natural Stocks while Providing Fisheries (view)

HSRG Document Table