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Idaho to Open New Hatchery

flickr.com, NW Council, Tony Grover

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho fisheries biologists are getting ready to open the doors on a new $13.5 million hatchery they hope will bolster the region’s population of sockeye salmon. The formal dedication of the Springfield Hatchery near the American Falls Reservoir is scheduled for Friday.

Once open, biologists project the facility will be capable of producing up to 1 million juvenile sockeye annually for release into the lakes of the Sawtooth Valley. If all goes according to plan, The Idaho Statesman reports sockeye smolts could be released as early as 2015 — with production increasing to 1 million by 2017.

State officials say the goal is to help recover sockeye populations that have declined significantly in the last 40 years. Sockeye were protected in 1993 under the Endangered Species Act.

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