The use of artificial propagation may produce unexpected results and the need for risk containment. Stray chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) from Umatilla River releases put the threatened Snake River stock at risk, caused conflict between two plans, altered management, and greatly increased the costs for hatchery-based restoration. Stray Umatilla returns captured or observed in the Snake River averaged more than 200 fish annually and comprised up to 26% of the escapement. The risk to the threatened population stimulated a series of containment actions, including wire tagging 2-3 million fish annually, use of acclimation ponds, altering release locations, flow enhancement, and broodstock management changes. Actions for the use of artificial propagation where straying or unexpected results are a concern include marking or tagging most or all fish, limiting the number of fish initially released, recognizing environmental variables that influence straying, ensuring that funding for risk containment is available when undesirable results occur, and recognizing that unexpected results may not be manifested or identified immediately.
Additional publication details
Salmon restoration in the Umatilla River: A study of straying and risk containment