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Rebuilt By The Corps

Eighth and final story in series of articles on Spring Creek Fish Hatchery

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

Between 1970 and 1983, the commercial catch declines from 5 million to 1.2 million pounds.

The Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery was redesigned and rebuilt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1972, an expansion designed to partially compensate for the loss of fall chinook spawning grounds caused by dam construction elsewhere along the Columbia River.

At present, the hatchery raises over 15 million tule fall chinook salmon annually. The production cycle starts in September each year when adults that have imprinted on the hatchery's spring water start entering the hatchery via a fish ladder.

Spawning starts mid-September and generally ends during the first week of October.

The incubation building is equipped with 292 double stacked heat incubators with a total capacity of 60 million eggs. Once, in the late 1950's, the hatchery took over 96 million eggs.

Eggs hatch by mid-November, and swim-up fry are transferred to ponds before Christmas, 350,000 -- 375,000 fish in each pond.

Today, Spring Creek NFH has an adult escapement goal of 7,000 adult salmon to collect enough eggs for production of 15 million fish.

In its one hundred years, the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery has contributed an estimated 15 million adult salmon to the commercial, tribal and sport fisheries in both the ocean and the Columbia River.

Please join us in celebrating 100 years of fish culture at the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery Centennial Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 8.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a formal ceremony at 10:30. The day will be filled with viewing of adult tule fall chinook salmon, hatchery tours, educational, natural, cultural, and historical displays and demonstrations. The Yakama Nation will be providing cultural dancing and demonstrations in the afternoon. They will also be providing a concession featuring Indian tacos and Indian fry bread, in addition to a salmon-bake.

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