This is certainly interesting. Was discussing this with a few board members the other day. The way they are doing this opens up all sorts of speculation around how the production will be achieved and who will reap the benefits. My dim view, based solely on my observations of how fish allocation works, is that it won't do much to benefit in-river fisheries, and worse, it will do even less to mitigate the losses the Wynoochee drainage incurred when the dam went in. This looks a lot more like "Satsop supplementation" than Wynoochee mitigation to me.
There are several reasons for my pessimism:
1. I haven't seen any mention of increased spawning escapement goals in the basin. That means these fish are being lumped in with everything else that goes to the Gulf of Alaska to forage, and there is no good reason to expect that they won't be allocated the same way. That means 80% will go to commercial and sport ocean quotas, leaving the last 20% to be fought over by the Tribes, sports, and NT gillnetters in terminal areas. Assuming an unrealistic return rate of 5% adults to smolts planted, 25,000 new, harvestable fish would be created. 20% of that number is 5,000 fish. That leaves the state share at 2,500, which then gets divided between recs, NT gillnetters, and the Chehalis Tribe. Not much to go around... Maybe another 1,000 fish for lower basin sport crowd, and that's a high estimate.
2. It's been rumored (and is apparently true) that the Skokomish Tribe is going to be netting Satsop fish moving forward. Their share SHOULD come out of the QIN share, but I have serious doubts that will be the outcome. The way the Tribes own our Legislature now, we should only expect intertribal disputes to end in our allocation being reduced (if they don't just shut us down altogether, as they've already done on the Skokomish).
3. Most obviously, the problem is that 80% of the salmon component of the "Wynoochee mitigation" is going to the Satsop and downstream fisheries not named Wynoochee. That won't do much to mitigate anything on the Wynoochee.
4. That the 100,000 Wynoochee coho smolts will be unclipped tells you all you really need to know about sport salmon benefit on the Wynoochee: There will be none, because we can't retain unclipped coho on the Wynoochee. Steelhead may improve slightly, but as poor as the return rates are on hatchery summer steelhead, I wouldn't expect the difference to be much.
Should be interesting (if not just maddening) to hear answers to the questions that need to be asked. I will plan on going to the meeting. It will also be interesting to see if this is actually WDFW seeking public input or if (like North of Falcon) it's just an opportunity for us to find out how we've been screwed after the fact....