Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation


The eastern Washington tribes want the government to build a fish hatchery promised during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Bureau of Reclamation, which built and operates Grand Coulee Dam, acknowledged a hatchery is owed, but said meeting the obligation won't be easy in an age of endangered salmon and increased scrutiny of hatcheries. The tribes want a hatchery to run to provide fish for tribal and non-tribal fishermen. "Oh, it will definitely be built," said Joe Peone, tribal fisheries director. "From our perspective, the obligation hasn't gone away. In the late 1930s and early '40s, the government built hatcheries on the Entiat River, Methow River and Icicle Creek. A fourth was supposed to be on Osoyoos Lake on the Canadian border, fed and drained by the Okanogan River. The other hatcheries produce chinook salmon and steelhead; the Osoyoos hatchery would have produced sockeye salmon, which require lakes as nurseries for their young. The Clinton administration has ordered federal agencies responsible for salmon recovery to work more closely with the tribes, so during a March meeting, Peone asked for a review of history. Any new hatchery likely will face years of scrutiny but some have been approved.