OAA Fisheries is coordinating the final stages of a “Multi-species Recovery Plan” for the salmonids of the California Central Coast. The plan will provide a roadmap for increasing salmonid population sizes. It has been reported to us that the plan includes the idea that where applicable, the development and implementation of Conservation Hatchery programs for severely depressed salmonid populations should be encouraged. The plan is supposed to be released to a public draft sometime in
October, and a public hearing on the plan will occur in Santa Cruz shortly thereafter. If Conservation Hatcheries are promoted in the final plan, it should help facilitate permitting for our steelhead programs. It will still be a long expensive process, but our chances of success will be greatly improved. Encouragement has come from NOAA and CDFW, but supplying the myriad of details will still be up to MBSTP. Stillwater Scientific has been hired to help us through the process.
Ultimately, our steelhead programs, when restarted, will look quite similar to what we have been doing for so many years. There will be changes though. These will be worked out during the permitting process. We are applying for grants to help pay for the process, but we will need your help too!
Meanwhile, we are busy redesigning the hatchery to better deal with drought and fungus. CDFW has found $200,000 that they are contributing to the changes they are mandating. This should pay for all of the changes and leave us with a more modern facility. It will be a lot of work, and it must be done fast to be ready for the winter. They are buying as much of the materials and equipment as possible. MBSTP is getting a grant from them to pay contractors to do the installation. It looks like the funding provided will cover the entire cost. That is the intention. NOAA Fisheries is planning to build a Coho Conservation Hatchery on the Central Coast. Possibly on the main stem of Scotts Creek.
It is a long-term project, but when/if completed the captive broodstock program will be moved there. This will leave more of the MBSTP facility for steelhead. Time will tell. MBSTP has applied for, and won, two grants for the Chinook Program. One will pay for much of the cost of a new net-pen, and the other will pay for about half of the operational costs for two years. We just need to get permitting for the Moss Landing location, and/or permission to come back to Santa Cruz!
Please come to the Albacore Dinner in Moss Landing. We need you!
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