The mission of the OHRC is to understand the mechanisms that may create differences between hatchery and wild salmon and steelhead, develop approaches to best manage any differences in order to meet fishery and conservation objectives, and help Oregonians understand the role and performance of hatcheries in supporting and protecting Oregon's native fish. The OHRC will foster and support a wide range of research and education projects and provide unique state-of-the-art facilities, including four simulated streams.
The OHRC is strategically located in the Alsea Basin, surrounded by streams and close to coastal fisheries that offer natural laboratories to study the life cycle and interactions of wild and hatchery fish and their management on a broad “basin-to-landscape” basis. The site also is close to other scientific institutions such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center and Oregon State University.
- Understand mechanisms that may create differences between hatchery and wild fish.
- Determine the process and rate by which wild fish may change in the hatchery environment within and across generations.
- Determine the process, rate and pattern by which hatchery-produced fish adapt to the natural environment at each life history stage.
- Determine the possible genetic and ecological consequences of hatchery fish and their releases on native fish at each life history stage.
- Develop approaches to manage hatchery fish that conserve and protect native fish.
- Determine hatchery breeding, rearing and release practices that allow hatchery-propagated fish to both contribute to fisheries and facilitate the conservation and recovery of naturally produced native fish.
- Identify possible effects, both locally and on a landscape scale, to natural ecosystems associated with different types and levels of hatchery production and identify approaches to manage these effects.
- Identify hatchery practices that may need to be altered in response to changes in the natural environment and other external factors.
- Identify breeding, rearing and release protocols that minimize possible adverse impacts on the natural ecosystem.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of producing hatchery fish, relative to other strategies, as a means to achieve commercial, recreational, conservation and ecological objectives.
- Determine the effects of hatchery operations (for example: flow alteration, effluent water quality, pathogens, migration and spawning distribution, etc.) on native fish, aquatic communities and their habitats.
- Educate the public on the relationship between hatchery and wild fish, the connection between fish and watershed, estuarine and ocean systems, and the implications for fish management and stewardship.
- Provide educational facilities and programs for K-12 students.
- Design and manage the facility to provide an environment of passive and active learning for visitors.
- Conduct undergraduate and graduate programs and classes at the facility.
- Provide opportunities for educators and others to use the OHRC for meetings, workshops and programs that further public understanding of the relationship between fish and watershed health.