Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 67–86 | Cite as

Risk management of non-target fish taxa in the Yakima River Watershed associated with hatchery salmon supplementation

  • Gabriel M. TempleEmail author
  • Todd N. Pearsons


Hatchery cultured salmon have the potential to interact strongly with other valued fish taxa (non-target taxa; NTT) in the natural environment. Monitoring and managing adverse interactions between hatchery supplemented salmon and NTT is one unique characteristic of a hatchery salmon supplementation program in the Yakima River, Washington. In this study, we evaluate impacts of spring Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and coho salmon O. kisutch reintroduction to 15 NTT after 11 years of stocking approximately one million yearling smolts annually in the upper Yakima Basin between 1999 and 2009. Our risk management monitoring indicated changes in important response variables for NTT were within acceptable limits. Rigorous pre-implementation planning likely prevented many undesirable ecological impacts from the hatchery supplementation program. We illustrate a number of important features associated with risk management of hatchery and wild fish interactions. First, pre-project planning can eliminate many risks of concern and substantially reduce the need for risk containment during project implementation. Second, the sieve approach for monitoring impacts provided an acceptable balance between monitoring effort and risk containment ability, although in some cases, we would not detect impacts of interest. Third, rare and disbursed species that cannot be monitored effectively benefit from risk averse hatchery release strategies. Fourth, risk containment monitoring programs can be used to refute unsubstantiated claims of undesirable impacts. In short, our experience suggests that risk management of ecological interactions can occur by using a combination of pre-project adjustments through risk assessment and risk reduction, and by cost-effective risk containment monitoring and management.


Risk management Impact assessment Yakima River Non-target taxa Supplementation 



We are thankful to the many people that have served on the Yakima Species Interactions Studies and later the Ecological Interactions Team through the years and helped collect the data that made this study possible. We thank the Yakama Nation for supplying abundance data for the anadromous fishes. We also thank David Byrnes and Patty Smith, Bonneville Power Administration, who were helpful in securing and administering funding for this work. This work was funded through contracts from Bonneville Power Administration to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for the Yakima Species Interactions Studies and the Yakima/Klickitat Fisheries Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington Department of Fish and WildlifeOlympiaUSA
  2. 2.Grant County Public Utility DistrictEphrataUSA

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