The DRA and the Hatchery vs. Wild Fish Debate
The DRA’s position in this debate can be easily summarized.
Quite simply, it’s not the issue we are concerned about right now.
We are trying to protect the lower Deschutes River for all fish: wild and hatchery spring Chinook, fall Chinook, the resident native red band trout, lamprey, sculpins, and yes, wild and hatchery steelhead. All of these fish depend on the food chain that starts with aquatic plant life in the lower Deschutes, and that plant life supports the aquatic macroinvertebrates that fish feed on. Aquatic vegetation and aquatic insects are dependent upon good water quality to support the web of life in the lower river.
We created the DRA to understand and protect that food chain, and the water quality it depends upon.
Some from outside of our organization have the perception that we are only affiliated with organizations that promote and protect wild fish. The DRA is not a part of any other organization; we are an independent conservation organization. Like with all conservation groups, the DRA has members and advisers that belong to other groups. We did not discriminate against anyone because of their affiliations, nor shall we. Rather we accepted their voluntary membership based on their desire to protect the lower Deschutes and the expertise that they brought with them. We have a highly qualified and experienced panel of science advisors, and we have a Board of Directors that is uniquely qualified to lead our organization. It is those qualifications that led to membership in our organization, not organizational affiliations.
Anyone who has spent time on the lower Deschutes River in the past three years knows that there are major changes happening. Aquatic insect hatch timing has changed, some hatches have for all practical purposes disappeared, and then there is the recent proliferation of potentially harmful algae.
These are the problems we are focused on, and it is those problems we aim to solve. Please look for our 2014 Science Plan to see what our focus is. We are doing this for the benefit of all Deschutes River fish and the benefit of all anglers.
President of the DRA Board of Directors