RE:Status of Native Summer Runs in the Region?
I think there needs to be some serious review of the impact of hatchery operations on native stock. Let's say we conduct this impoundment test -
1) hatch eggs from spring brood and place tiny fry in control area with biomass of nutrients similar to natural glacial stream
2) release pellet-fed smolt into control area as would be done in hatchery operation (density, size, etc)
3) count survival of hatched fry after typical smolt period
Even if direct predation were not a problem (which I believe is a BIG problem) the burden of territorial competition, depletion of food source, introduction of disease and/or unnatural biological or chemical influences from the operation, and in the end the hybridization of the river's indigenous strains all contribute to the demise of the real steelhead of the system.
Someone needs to get a handle on the reality behind this and promote legislation to manage wild strains as wild strains IMHO.