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Kelt Reconditioning and Reproductive Success Evaluation Research – 2021 Annual Technical Report

Jun 9, 2022


The Kelt Reconditioning and Reproductive Success Evaluation Project is a research, monitoring, and evaluation (RM&E) uncertainties category project, that was funded through the 2008 Columbia Basin Fish Accords. The objectives are to evaluate methodologies to produce viable artificially reconditioned repeat steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) spawners and evaluate reproductive success, physiology, homing, and geographic differences. The project was recently reviewed (ISRP 2021-08) by the Independent Science Review Panel (ISRP). Our annual report contains many sections of the review document we submitted to the ISRP to provide a wider distribution of the comprehensive results. Our work occurs in both the Yakima and Snake river-basins, additionally we make some contrasts and comparisons with the Kelt Reconditioning Project in the Upper Columbia River (Project 2008-458-00). We focused on collecting steelhead kelts at juvenile bypass facilities at Prosser, Lower Granite, and Little Goose dams. These kelts were reconditioned (given prophylactic treatments and fed a specially formulated diet) at Prosser and Dworshak National Fish (DNFH) hatcheries. Survival of long-term reconditioned kelts has been 44% (22 years) at Prosser Hatchery and 37% (11 years; 44% over the last 9 years) for mixed stock collections reconditioned at both Nez Perce Tribal and Dworshak National Fish hatcheries combined. In total, we released 525 and 4,989 reconditioned kelt steelhead in the Snake and Yakima rivers since 2011 and 2000, respectively. In 2021, unmarked upstream “wild” migrant adult steelhead return counts to Bonneville Dam was the worst year since unclipped fish were recorded beginning in 1994, this places great importance on safety net programs such as the kelt reconditioning program.


Doug Hatch, Ryan Branstetter, Jeff Stephenson, Andrew Pierce, Neil Graham, Jeremiah Newell, William Bosch, Scott Everett, Paul Burrows, Kemo Scott, Lea Medeiros, Laura Jenkins, Coner Ray, Diana Cervantes, Tim Cavileer, James Nagler, Lucius Caldwell, Micheal Fiander, Chris Frederickson, Joe Blodgett, David Fast, and Rebecca Johnson


Hatch, D., R. Branstetter, J. Stephenson, A. Pierce, N. Graham, J. Newell, W. Bosch, S. Everett, P. Burrows, K. Scott, L. Medeiros, L. Jenkins, C. Ray, D. Cervantes, T. Cavileer, J. Nagler, L. Caldwell, M. Fiander, C. Frederickson, J. Blodgett, D. Fast, and R. Johnson. 2022. Kelt reconditioning and reproductive success evaluation research. 1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021 Bonneville Power Administration Annual Report, 2007-401-00. Portland, OR. 141p.



Report No.


Media Type

CRITFC Technical Report