Bonneville Power Administration
FY 2002 Provincial Project Review
PART 2. Narrative
Project ID: 200105
Title: McCall Fish Hatchery
Section 9 of 10. Project description
McCall Fish Hatchery (MCFH) was built in 1979 as a result of the Water
Resources Development Act enacted by Congress in 1976. A portion of this Act is the
Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan (LSRCP). The LSRCP
compensates Idaho for fish and wildlife losses caused by the Lower Snake River Projects
(Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite dams). The MCFH
was the first hatchery built as a partial fulfillment of the LSRCP. BPA funding for
LSRCP is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Funding for
MCFH is provided to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG).
Location and Species Reared:
The MCFH is located within the city limits of McCall, Idaho along the North
Fork of the Payette River, approximately 0.16 km (1/4 mile) downstream from Payette
Lake. The hatchery rears summer chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha.
A satellite facility for trapping and spawning adult chinook salmon is located on
the South Fork Salmon River near Warm Lake, approximately 26 miles east of Cascade,
Idaho. The trap site is approximately 740 miles upstream from the mouth of the
The first salmon reared at the MCFH were transferred from the Mackay Fish
Hatchery and from the Dworshak/Kooskia National Fish Hatchery complex. These eggs
were the products of adult summer chinook trapped at Little Goose and Lower Granite
dams. The first eggs from adults trapped at the South Fork of the Salmon River were
received in August 1980.
MCFH is involved in trapping, spawning, and rearing natural and hatchery
produced summer chinook salmon to the smolt stage for release to meet the adult
mitigation goal of 8,000 adult summer chinook salmon upstream of Lower Granite Dam.
In many years, small numbers of parr and presmolts may also be produced. Additional
natural and hatchery produced summer chinook are released upstream of MCFH for
natural production and in some years, adults may be outplanted into other appropriate
areas for natural production, primarily the South Fork of the Salmon River from Goat
Creek to the weir and the upper East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River. In
2001, hatchery adults were also translocated to Panther Creek for natural production
experimentation. Eyed summer chinook eggs have also been provided to the Shoshone-
Bannock Tribes to support their streamside incubation efforts. Hatchery produced
juveniles and adults at MCFH include both listed and unlisted groups that are
differentiated by marks.
b. Technical and/or scientific background
The foundation of the LSRCP, which includes MCFH, is a joint 1972 Fish and
Wildlife Service/National Marine Fisheries Service Coordination Act Report that
described the short and long-term impacts of the four lower Snake River federal dams
and recommended mitigation and compensation for both fish and wildlife. The LSRCP
was authorized by Congress as part of the Water Resources Development Act of 1976.
Cumulative loss was estimated to total 48 percent of the pre-dam Snake River chinook
salmon and steelhead runs with no compensation identified for coho or sockeye. The
plan called for the creation of hatcheries to produce sufficient juveniles to compensate for
the 48% loss with two additional goals of replacing the adult returns in-kind and in-place.
Along with chinook salmon and steelhead mitigation goals, the LSRCP also called for
resident trout production to compensate for the loss of angler days when the dams
inundated about 140 miles of spawning habitat. State and federal planners anticipated
that the chinook salmon and steelhead adult returns would primarily provide harvest for
sport and tribal fisheries as well as sufficient broodstock for the hatcheries, and some
spawners to enhance natural spawning escapement. Relatively unique was the emphasis
on monitoring and evaluation for each LSRCP hatchery program, which is reported
annually. Workshops in 1990 and 1998 have summarized technical details for hatchery
culture and evaluation programs.
The adults spawned at MCFH have been classified as endemic based on genetic
and life-history features. Since the outset of hatchery production, IDFG has maintained a
natural spawning objective upstream from the hatchery. Natural production objectives
for the rearing area upstream from the hatchery have been refined by introduction of
genetic protocols and mark identification of hatchery fish. MCFH rears listed and
unlisted summer chinook. A key IDFG objective for the MCFH program is to restore
chinook salmon fisheries to the South Fork of the Salmon River. To date, this objective
has been attained 3 years since the program was implemented. The LSRCP adult goal of
8000 adults upstream of Lower Granite Dam has rarely been achieved. The hatchery
program has played a role in maintaining the upper South Fork Salmon River stock of
c. Rationale and significance to Regional Programs
- Plays a significant role in preservation and enhancement of upper South Fork
Salmon River chinook salmon for hatchery and supplementation experimentation,
stock preservation, and fishery management purposes such as U.S. v Oregon.
This program has intermittently restored chinook fisheries (selective) to the South
Fork of the Salmon River.
- Provides a rearing facility and culture expertise for the Johnson Creek
d. Relationships to other projects
Because natural chinook have declined, the role of MCFH has expanded beyond its
original mission to focus on fishery mitigation. The hatchery chinook program is
currently integrated into the Idaho Supplementation Studies experimental design and the
facility plays a key role in the Johnson Creek supplementation program. At the same
time, management is conducted to preserve selective fishery options for the future, a key
component of the Congressional mitigation promise to Idaho for the four lower Snake
e. Project history (for ongoing projects)
A review of the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan Hatchery Program, 1990,
USFWS, LSRCP, Boise, Idaho.
Lower Snake River Compensation Plan Status Review Symposium, 1998, Compiled by
USFWS, LSRCP, Boise, Idaho.
f. Proposal objectives, tasks and methods
Idaho Department of Fish and Game objectives for MCFH are:
1. Contribute to restoration of summer chinook salmon and in the South
Fork Salmon River, including fisheries.
2. Trap and spawn adult salmon returning to the South Fork Salmon
3. Rear up to 1,000,000 summer chinook smolts for release into the upper
South Fork Salmon River.
4. Produce quality fish for fishery mitigation and supplementation
5. Implement research programs at the hatchery to improve adult returns.
6. Cooperate with tribal supplementation programs in Johnson Creek and the
upper South Fork of the Salmon River drainage.
g. Facilities and equipment
The hatchery facility consists of six buildings on approximately 15 acres. The
largest building contains a shop, parking garage, incubation and early rearing area,
generator room, and feed/freezer room. The office and a three-bedroom dormitory are
contained in one building. There is a visitor center with restrooms, a flow chart for a
self-guided tour, and historical information signs. Three residences for permanent
personnel are also located on the site.
The fish production facilities include:
1. Twenty-six eight-tray stacks of FAL (Flex-A-Lite, Consolidated)
vertical flow (Heath-type) incubators.
2. Fourteen concrete vats 4-ft x 40-ft x 2-ft (water depth); 320 cubic feet
(cu ft) of rearing area per vat.
3. Two concrete rearing ponds 196-ft x 40.5-ft x 4-ft (water depth);
23,814 cu ft of rearing space per pond.
4. One concrete collection basin 101-ft x 15-ft x 4-ft (water depth). The
hatchery is designed to raise a maximum capacity of 1,000,000 smolts,
averaging 17 fish per lb (fpp).
Smolts are trucked from MCFH to the upper South Fork of the Salmon River,
where they are released upstream of the MCFH weir. The adult trapping and spawning
facility is located on the South Fork of the Salmon River near Warm Lake. This facility
is equipped with a removable weir, fish ladder, trap, two (10-ft x 90-ft ) adult holding
ponds, and a covered spawning area. Water is supplied from the South Fork Salmon
River through a 33-inch underground pipeline. Holding capacity for the facility is
approximately 1,000 adult salmon. Adults are also passed upstream of the weir to spawn
naturally for Idaho Supplementation research. Eggs collected at the facility are
transported "green" to MCFH for incubation and rearing.
Hatchery water is obtained by gravity flow from Payette Lake through a 36-inch
underground pipeline. Water may be taken from the surface or up to a depth of 50 ft,
thus providing the capability of obtaining optimum rearing water temperatures.
Through an agreement with the Payette Lake Reservoir Company, 20 cubic feet
per second (cfs) of water flow is available for hatchery use. Design criteria and
production goals were established using this constraint, ensuring the hatchery has enough
water to meet its production goals.
Water quality analysis reveals a somewhat "distilled" system for rearing fish (Appendix
12). The pH stays about 6.8. There is no indication of problems with heavy metals and
temperature is maintained at 52F to 56F, with a low of 37F.
Reference (include web address if available online) w/form (y/n)
McCall Fish Hatchery Brood Year Reports 1980 - 1998 N
LSRCP Hatchery Evaluation Studies N
Section 10 of 10. Key personnel
Three permanent employees staff the hatchery: a Hatchery Manager II, Gene
McPherson: an Assistant Hatchery Manager, Steve Kammeyer: and Joel Patterson, a Fish
Culturist. In addition, there are four temporary employees to assist during the busy field
Appendix 1. McCall Past Accomplishments