CCA Oregon has made protecting and enhancing our hatcheries a key priority. In the Pacific Northwest, our salmon fisheries depend on hatcheries to mitigate for habitat loss and provide fish for harvest. Unfortunately, these hatcheries are often threatened by a lack of funding and attacks from anti-hatchery activist groups. In Oregon, we’re taking both threats head on.
Over the past two legislative sessions, CCA successfully fought to secure state funding to maintain Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) hatchery programs, including those at the Leaburg Hatchery. Leaburg was built by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) in 1953 to mitigate for habitat loss from the construction of federal dams in the Willamette River basin. In recent years, the agency has backed away from its mitigation obligations and proposed closing the facility.
ODFW secured a long-term lease and worked with CCA and other groups to secure state funding to continue operating the facility – despite opposition from vocal anti-hatchery groups. With funding secured for the 2019-2012 budget cycle, the Leaburg hatchery programs are now being enhanced to benefit fisheries from the mouth of Columbia River to tributary fisheries in the Willamette River basin – a win-win. This includes increased spring Chinook production, a prized recreational fishery.
To provide more long-term certainty for Leaburg, CCA Oregon is kicking off an effort to support the passage of federal legislation to formally transfer ownership of the hatchery from the ACOE to the State of Oregon. ODFW recently sent a letter to Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, the Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which may be able to include the Leaburg transfer in upcoming legislation to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). We’re hoping to get this over the finish line!