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Kelt Reconditioning and Reproductive Success Evaluation Research – 2022 Annual Technical Report

Apr 19, 2023


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. 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, Little Goose, and Lower Monumental 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 45% (23 years) at Prosser Hatchery and 39% (12 years; 43% over the last 10 years) for mixed stock collections reconditioned at both Nez Perce Tribal and Dworshak National Fish hatcheries combined. In total, we released 804 and 5,154 reconditioned kelt steelhead in the Snake and Yakima rivers since 2011 and 2000, respectively. In 2022, unmarked upstream “wild” migrant adult steelhead return counts to Bonneville Dam have improved, but are still on the low end for unclipped fish, which have been recorded since 1994. This places great importance on safety net programs such as the kelt reconditioning program to bolster stocks during low return years.


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


Hatch, D., R. Branstetter, J. Stephenson, A. Pierce, N. Graham, 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, and R. Johnson. 2023. Kelt reconditioning and reproductive success evaluation research. 1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022 Bonneville Power Administration Annual Report, 2007-401-00. Portland, OR. 146p.



Report No.


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CRITFC Technical Report