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Coleman National Fish Hatchery Adaptive Management Plan

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is developing  an Adaptive Management Plan (AMP) for the Coleman National Fish Hatchery (CNFH), as it relates to the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project.  Reclamation (the CNFH funding agency) is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the CNFH owner and operator), federal and state agencies, and stakeholders, and is also seeking input from the public and an independent science panel, to develop the AMP.

Non Interactive Image - Aerial view of Coleman National Fish Hatchery and lower Battle Creek

Aerial view of Coleman National Fish Hatchery and lower Battle Creek (courtesy of Google Earth)

Coleman National Fish Hatchery
CNFH was constructed in 1942 and fish culture operations began in 1943 as part of the original Shasta Salvage Plan to provide partial mitigation for the loss of salmonid habitat resulting from the construction of Shasta and Keswick dams. Currently, CNFH annually propagates three salmonid stocks: fall Chinook salmon, late-fall Chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead. Fish produced at the CNFH contribute substantially to the multi-million dollar commercial and recreational fishing industry in California, and the hatchery is considered a benefit to the region’s social, cultural, and economic well-being.

CNFH fish barrier weir, located on the main stem of Battle Creek and adjacent to the hatchery, is the first significant manmade structure encountered by anadromous fish returning to Battle Creek. Substantial modifications to the CNFH have occurred over the last decade to address what many considered the major adverse impacts of the hatchery on the Battle Creek watershed and its living resources. These modifications addressed long-standing concerns about: (1) the hatchery’s initiation and transmission of fish diseases; (2) adult fish passage through the hatchery’s barrier weir and fish ladder system; and (3) entrainment of natural origin juvenile salmonids emigrating from upper Battle Creek.  However, concerns remain about the continuing impacts the CNFH may have on the attainment of the Restoration Project goals to restore self-sustaining anadromous salmonid populations in upper Battle Creek.

Adaptive Management
While a thorough AMP has been developed for the Restoration Project, it did not include the CNFH because the Restoration Project and the CNFH operate under different authorities and responsibilities.

Adaptive management is needed for CNFH to address “scientific uncertainties” that underlie all aspects of Battle Creek fisheries management, including the interactions between the Restoration Project and CNFH. Adaptive management is the preferred methodology for incorporating uncertainties into decision making.

Overall, the CNFH AMP will acknowledge, identify, study, and evaluate uncertainties regarding the operation of a large scale fish hatchery in a watershed being restored for natural salmonid populations. Through the CNFH AMP, responsible agencies and stakeholders will gain an improved understanding of the Battle Creek watershed that will enable them to better assess whether an alternative management approach to managing the CNFH would achieve the goals and objectives of both the Restoration Project and the CNFH. The CNFH AMP will complement the Restoration Project AMP and together, the two plans will form an integrated and cooperative framework for adaptive management in Battle Creek.  

Developing CNFH AMP 
The CNFH AMP is in development, but a current overview summary can be viewed at the following link: October 2013 – Current Overview Summary of CNFH AMP.  

Who is involved in the AMP Process?
The CNFH AMP is being developed with input from -  

A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), currently comprised of representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, National Marine Fisheries Service, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Battle Creek Watershed Conservancy, who provides institutional knowledge and perspectives and technical expertise.

A Science Review Panel, an independent panel of fisheries experts who provide outside technical and scientific input into the AMP process.

The Public, who provides input into the AMP process during initial AMP scoping, after the release of the public draft AMP, and after release of the final AMP.



For additional information or assistance, please contact
Trang Nguyen, Battle Creek Technical Specialist - (916) 978-5336

Last updated on: March 5, 2015