Friday, December 26, 2008

Gregoire proposes increased spending on Puget Sound recovery

Despite difficult financial times, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is hoping to increase spending on Puget Sound recovery by roughly $51 million dollars over the next two years. Gregoire has championed the cause of restoring Puget Sound, still the budget shortfall is predicted to hit other environmental and resource management projects hard over the next couple of years. Cutbacks may include, fewer Fish and Wildlife enforcement officers, and a smaller budget for environmental research at the state level. Read Seattle Times coverage here.

NY Times piece on ocean acidification

As atmospheric carbon concentrations rise, the oceans are absorbing more and more CO2. This absorption may lead to massive changes in the chemistry of the oceans, affecting marine food webs from plankton to large fish and squid. Read New York times coverage here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Seven State Salmon hatcheries on the chopping block

With massive shortfalls in the state budget governor Gregoire is planning to close at least seven state salmon hatcheries. The state has long relied heavily on hatchery production to mitigate for lost wild production. This sort of fisheries welfare program is unsustainable both economically and ecologically and hatcheries have in many ways exacerbated declines in wild stocks. Hopefully the trend of closing hatcheries continues. Read more about the budget shortfall at the Tacoma News Tribune.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama names NOAA director

Obama taps Jane Lubchenco to head up NOAA. She appears to be a highly respected scientist, conservation minded, and probably knowledgeable of steelhead issues considering she is a professor at OSU. See WA Post article:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bush administration seeks to weaken ESA

The Bush administration issued revised ESA regulations, weakening protection for endangered species and limiting the power of the ESA to mandate for climate protection. See seattle times coverage here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good news for Skagit Salmon

Farmers and Tribal Fishing interests are near a deal that would lobby to convert 200 acres of state land back into tidal estuary. Restoration work like this creates vital habitat for juvenile Chinook which are ESA listed in Puget Sound as well as pink and chum salmon. See the seattle times aritcle here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wenatchee River acclimation pond

Chelan County PUD, WDFW and TU are all working on building a steelhead acclimation pond on the wenatchee river. Currently they outplant fish raised out of basin and as a result they see very high stray rates. They hope the acclimation pond will bring more hatchery steelhead back into the river, allowing for future fishery openings, see the article here...

The whole logic of this project and the management of the wenatchee river seems perverse. Agencies and utility groups are talking out of both sides of their mouths. On one side they say, "we're opening the river to allow for harvest of hatchery steelhead in order to reduce their impact on the ESA listed wild steelhead." on the other side they say, "we see alot of these hatchery fish straying, we'd like to be able to open the fishery so we will encourage MORE hatchery fish to return to the river." This is not a strategy for recovering wild fish, but instead a way of continuing the status quo by keeping fishing groups quiet while they allow wild fish to go extinct.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Clean Water Act back in the Supreme Court

The Supreme court heard arguments on Tuesday about whether powerplants ought to be required to use the "best available technology" to minimize harm to aquatic communities. Check out the NPR coverage here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Study finds many california salmonid species are facing extinction

A new study by Peter Moyle, a professor of conservation biology at UC Davis says 20 of 31 salmonid species and subspecies looked at are facing extinction in the near term.

Welcome to the Osprey blog!

Welcome to the Osprey blog. In the coming months and years we hope to be your source to up to date news concerning wild steelhead and salmon around our region. Also, look for big changes in our website in the coming month as we seek to create a bigger online presence for our newsletter and cause. In the meantime check out our Osprey archives, there you will find over 20 years of newsletters with articles written by the likes of Bill McMillan, Pete Soverel, and many other angling and conservation dignitaries from our region.

some good news at WDFW

a change of leadership at WDFW is in the works. With Koenings out we can only hope the next director will make wild fish more of a priority.