The study seems to contradict the Hood River Study, which was more complete, longer term and most importantly dealt with an entirely different fish in an entirely different river. Read about the Nez Perce Study here.
It is interesting, it is hopeful, but the study is (to my knowledge) silent on (and this is not a criticism, just something to think about before you run off and join the dam corps) smolt to adult return rate meeting a sustainable number for eight consecutive years.
I used to hope that supplementation would work and maybe it can. It will take the Nez Perce to figure it out. I think they have two pretty positive studies involving two of their hatchery goals (fall Chinook and hatcheries that resemble free flowing rivers and now summer Chinook in Johnson Creek). I give them more credibility than many other operations because for one thing they don't look at every pebble, drop of water and molecule of air and equate it to a dollar sign. In other words they are not a part of the virus that sickens us. You know the one, this false idea that the only value things have is of a monetary nature and therefore nature is simply there for us to cash in. The Nez Perce don't think that way and they turned down the pocket liners at BPA, so there is some merit to this and other studies they have done.
My question is can it be replicated elsewhere? Can it be replicated on the South Fork, where these Johnson Creek fish get to go hang out with their buds bound for the McCall Fish Hatchery?
Another question can this be replicated and done in such a manner that we can get the appropriate smolt to adult return rate for sustainability?
Other questions (these are not only for Nez Perce, these are for everyone involved in either saving or killing off the salmon), what will it cost to ramp up, tweak and enhance our hatchery operations so that they along with the more important wild fish who only make up 20 percent of the run can come back at smolt to adult (SAR) rates large enough for sustainable runs of fish into the future? When the honest accounting is done, compare that to the cost benefit and the cost of keeping those four lower Snake River dams in place. If you are honest and not working at a place that doesn't earn its own money (BPA, Corps, BOR), the numbers you find will lead you to the right answer.
Also, consider the time we have left with our wild fish. Do we have the time to do this? Will we be shooting blindly in the dark led by only a few things this study reveals to the point that it takes far too long for us to come up with an alternative solution. Dams can be rebuilt, in the interim, breach them, give the fish a chance. If the wild salmon and wild steelhead of the Snake die off, rebuild your damn dams. If they recover, which they will, come to the understanding that we already replaced the power of those dams years ago and we don't miss them.
It is promising, but I don't believe anyone in the Nez Perce Tribe has caught the hubris that we can build a faster, stronger fish than nature. You know that hubris that has lead Pacific Northwest fisheries down the rabbit hole for the last 140 years.
Good job, now please see if it has practical application in replication and more importantly in building self-sustaining runs.
Of course, everyone watch how Bonneville Power Administration, Corps and BOR all jump on this and twist it into the second coming, which it is not.
For other good reading, Save Our Wild Salmon (pretty much nailed it again) with its truth detector on the BPA, Corps and BOR and their latest fiction novel with the words "Progress Report" in the title. You can read it here . Man, they make me wish I had a staff! It does not require my help, other than to say SNAP!