Douglas County PUD is adjusting its agreement that allows members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation to use its fish hatchery at Wells Dam. 

Tribal members will be allowed to raise summer Chinook Salmon at the hatchery while the PUD will hold and relocate adult fish to areas on the Columbia River above the Chief Joseph or Grand Coulee dams. 

Douglas PUD spokesperson Meaghan Vibbert says the agreement will work well for both the utility and the tribes. 

"It's good for us because it helps defray some of our operating costs, and it's good for them because they get a consistent source of fish," said Vibbert. 

The Confederated Tribes are paying $344,000 to raise the fish and $30 for every adult fish the PUD relocates upstream from the dams. 

The new agreement will be in place until the end of 2023. 

Vibbert says the arrangement is possible because of the facilities the PUD has to offer the tribes. 

“We have this nice, large hatchery at our Wells Project, and so we have the capacity to do that at our facilities,” Vibbert said. “So, that’s probably the main driving factor.” 

Douglas County PUD and the Colville Tribes first entered into an agreement in 2018.  

The agreement initially allowed tribal members to use the Wells Project’s hatchery and trapping facilities to collect adult fish for study and harvest purposes. 

The Colville Tribes have undertaken projects to restore the salmon population upstream from the Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams. 

A stated goal of the tribes in 2021 was to reconnect salmon to their historic habitat and to the people. 

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