In 2010, River Steward Spencer Miles began a grassroots campaign, Save Sandy Salmon, to raise awareness about hatchery practices that threatened the recovery of the Sandy River’s wild, native salmon. Basin wide hatchery salmon accounted for nearly 70% of the spawning fish in the watershed! In one of the largest grassroots responses in the history of Native Fish Society, over 1,000 people mailed post cards to ODFW’s Fish and Wildlife Commission and Governor Kitzhaber asking for reforms to the Sandy River’s hatchery practices in light of the precarious state of the Sandy River’s wild salmon.
Three years later, hatchery salmon represent less than 10% of the spawning salmon in the watershed, overall hatchery production has been reduced by half, hatchery programs no longer mine threatened wild fish to create their hatchery stocks and a precedent setting ruling in Oregon’s U.S. District Court found that Sandy River Hatchery programs violated federal environmental laws.
In 2013, Spencer Miles was recognized as our River Steward of the Year for his efforts on behalf of the Sandy’s
wild, native fish. The court’s ruling on our Sandy case has since been utilized to drive hatchery reform actions
region-wide: on Washington’s Elwha and Puget Sound Rivers as well as California’s Mad and Trinity Rivers.