Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and Olympic National Park Sued Over Hatchery
"Elofson (Lower Elwha Klallam river restoration director) also said in September that the Chambers Creek steelhead is used to provide a harvestable steelhead run.
said then that the native and Chambers Creek runs happen at different
times of the year and that studies have not shown a genetic impact on
the native run."
Stating that native steelhead return at different times of year than hatchery fish is a lie. Historically the rivers of the Northern Olympic Peninsula had large runs of early returning native steelhead. The long term impact of planting Chambers Creek steelhead have devastated these early returning natives. The intense harvest pressure on early timed hatchery fish have destroyed the early natives along with the ecological impacts of planting hatchery fish.
Early timed steelhead fill habitats that cannot be utilized by later returning fish. Think of small tributaries with no snowmelt that have peak hydrographs in late winter and early spring. Early spawning fish are able to utilize these habitats that later spawning fish cannot. Diversity within the species is a good thing and continuing to push the idea that native steelhead only return in a narrow window in the spring is 100% untrue.
Giving up on what was once a large part of the run means we will never really see restoration of wild winter steelhead in the Elwha River. Giving up before the dams are even down is unacceptable.