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On The Heels Of Progress

Sixth in a series of articles on Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery

(Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of articles on Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery, leading up to the facility's 100th anniversary in September.)

1930s - annual salmon harvest drops to 24 million pounds.

Spring Creek Station Logbook; Tuesday, November 24, 1925. "A.M. Irvan Miller, C. Larsen and V. Miller working on eggs 4 hrs. P.M.. Irvan, Miller and Virgil Miller leave for Portland. Hoffman arrives at station to take charge. Meeting Supt. Hawley at Underwood and most of P.M. put in looking over the grounds and putting up stoves. (heat for incubation building) Supt. Hawley returns to Clackamas late in P.M. C. Larsen picking eggs and helping put up stoves 4 hrs. Weather: Cloudy." Roy W. Hoffman

Roy W. Hoffman played a significant role in bringing the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery (NFH) into the 20th Century. Spring Creek NFH moved from wooden troughs, dirt ponds and sheds to rock lined raceways, fish ladders and fish health. In 1929, a cold storage building was constructed, but electricity was not available until June 1931.

In 1934, Congress passed the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act that required federal agencies to consider fish losses resulting from water development projects. One such provision required fish passage, providing lifts, and ladders for migrating fish.

The Mitchell Act, passed in 1938, authorized funding to preserve and protect Columbia River Basin salmon. This law directed the establishment of one or more hatcheries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho; the installation of screens over irrigation ditches; the protection and restoration of salmon habitat; and continued scientific investigation.

The first major changes to the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery wouldn't be seen until the completion of Bonneville Dam in 1938. The pool of water created behind the dam began to rise and cause flooding problems for the hatchery. In 1941, U.S. Corps of Engineers Bonneville Dam engineers reestablished the station by moving the hatchery buildings, constructing a new fish ladder and building new concrete circular ponds. It was during this time that the hatchery became known as the Underwood Station.

In 1939, the Bureau was transferred to the Department of the Interior and the following year was combined with the Bureau of Biological Survey and renamed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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