Thursday, July 30, 2009

Encouraging Letter From WDFW

A week or so ago we posted asking readers to submit comments to the Director of WDFW, the Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Governor asking them to support rule changes proposals to create Wild Salmonid Management Zones. Yesterday I got this very encouraging email from Heather Bartlett the WDFW Salmon and Steelhead divison manager, it appears the effort is underway to designate some Wild Salmonid Management Zones. So far however these are only words and it is imperative that we keep the emails coming, tell WDFW that we want to prioritize wild fish, and protect the last best river systems for wild fish only. See the original post here.

Hello Mr. Atlas,

Thank you for your email to the Director’s office dated Monday July 20th with regard to the adoption of a number of Wild Salmonid Management Zones across the state. The director’s office forwarded your correspondence to me for a direct response back to you.

One of your closing points sums up the development or designation of wild salmonid management zones well, and that is that the department has acknowledged the benefit of developing such locations across the state and identified it as a specific strategy to be implemented as a means of protecting wild fish from the influence of hatcheries.

We concur that hatchery fish can pose risks to wild fish and within that context, are working across the state to identify populations that would be good candidates to be managed as wild salmonid management zones. The characteristics that would make geographic locations good candidates for wild salmonid management zone designation include sufficiently abundant and productive natural population that can be self-sustaining in the future. And, though fishing is not inconsistent with wild salmonid management zone designation, the opportunity for fishing can be directly influenced by the presence or absence of hatchery fish because of fishing impact limits associated with wild fish through federal ESA take coverage. As I’m sure you would agree, most wild populations today cannot support directed fisheries, so the department anticipates implementing wild salmonid management zones on a single species basis to afford protection and meet conservation objectives on a species by species basis.

The Department’s Fish and Wildlife Commission is currently reviewing a Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy that contains among other things implementation of Wild Salmonid Management Zones. The current DRAFT of the policy can be found at the following link

The department received many proposal to designate certain areas as Wild Salmonid Management Zones. A minimum requirement for these areas, as mentioned, are no hatchery releases specifically associated with the species designated. Fishing regulations can then be adopted to reflect a management strategy geared towards wild fish protection. Catch and release of wild fish and the use of selective gear would be consistent regulations with wild salmonid management zones. I want to acknowledge up front that the sport regulation process only deals with changing sportfishing rules and that no formal designation of wild salmonid management zones occurs in this process alone. However, sportfishing rules can be changed to reflect greater emphasis towards the protection of wild fish and there were proposals submitted by constituents that we concur should be considered. These will be out for public review and comment to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in September.

The department will continue to work towards formal identification of wild salmonid management zones for steelhead through the development of regional steelhead management plans as called out for in the Statewide Steelhead Management Plan. As we implement hatchery reform across the state, populations for other salmonid species may also be identified.

Thank you for taking the time to communicate with the department on your interests in the development of wild salmonid management zones. If you have questions or additional thoughts, please contact me at 360-902-2662.

Heather Bartlett
Salmon and Steelhead Division Manager -Fish Program
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hydropower Industry seeking Aggressive Expansion

In an era of climate change and unstable supplies of Middle Eastern oil, hydropower companies are hoping to more than double their capacity by 2025. An interesting article in the LA times this week describes the strategies and tradeoffs of expanding hydropower. With many dated dams around the region slated for removal new dam projects remain unlikely, however energy companies are hoping to get more energy from existant projects often at the expense of fish. While developing carbon free energy is theoretically a good thing it is not if it comes at the expense of migrating fish. It is critical that as we seek to expand our production of green energy throughout the country that advocates of wild fish and rivers remain vigilant against projects that would place fish in danger. See the LA times artcile here.

A Couple of Interesting Pieces on Fish Farming

A frequent blog topic here, fish farms pose one of the biggest threats to the future of Georgia Basin wild salmon. We recently reported that in the Broughton Archipeligo sea lice numbers were down in 2009 following the fallowing of a number of fish farming operations in the area. While lower numbers of sea lice are good news for this years outmigrant smolts, the farms will be active again next yaer and the long term outlook remains bleak for wild fish until farming practices are changed. See more in the Campbell River Courier Islander

We also have been covering the ongoing developments in a series of new aquaculture leases being issued to the Norwegian Company, Greig Seafood. The leases are set to be in Johnstone Strait one of the most important migratory coridors in Southern British Columbia. See a pieces by Ray Grigg in the Courier Islander for some perspective on exactly how big the problem of Salmon Farming really is.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Really Good Skeena Blog

Just recently we became aware of a Skeena Fisheries blog, managed by the North Coast Steelhead Alliance. The blog is updated frequently and has lots of good information on the conservation, science and politics of North Coast Salmon and Steelhead Fisheries. Check it out at

Fraser River Sockeye Run a Bust

In a year that biologists and managers had predicted strong returns, the Fraser River Sockeye run is going bust. Fraser Sockeye abundance normally cycles on a four year basis, and while this year should have been a strong run the fish are yet to materialize leading to a significant downward revision in the run forecast. The Fraser has multiple distinct runs of Sockeye, all of which appear to be seeing lower than expected returns. With recent high temperatures, Summer Sockeye the largest component of the run will be subject to potentially lethal river temps over 20 C. While it is impossible to blame one factor for the poor returns, development of fish farms in the Georgia Strait is likely sevely impacting outmigrant sockeye smolts and in recent years high prespawn mortality in adult sockeye has meant that many fish aren't even reaching the spawning grounds. High prespawn mortality has been attributed to in river temperatures however some researchers believe disease may be contributing. Salmon farms along the migratory corridor may be increasing the incidence of disease among returning adults. See more information in the Vancouver Sun.

Shifting baseline Historic Abundance on the Columbia

While biologists and managers are celebrating a relative strong return of Sockeye to the Snake River system this year, some perspective is in order. Returns to Redfish lake alone once numbered over 40,000 today we celebrate a thousand fish. While they may be temporarily spared from extinction it is critical that as advocates we don't loose sight of the historic baseline, however distant it might seem. See a couple of interesting pieces from Save our Wild Salmon's website.

Redfish Lake Sockeye

Run Forecasts and Recent Disappointments

Monday, July 27, 2009

Meeting July 30th to discuss Coho Harvest

If you submitted comments, or if you care about the fact that ODFW has petitioned NOAA to open harvest on 4 ESA listed stocks of Oregon Coastal Coho you should try to attend this meeting. While it is short notice, there is nothing as powerful as showing up for a meeting and telling managers face to face what it is you believe they should do to protect our wild salmonids. Details on the meeting.

-Thursday July 30th at the Newport Pig-N-Pancake from 1Pm to 4Pm. Those interested in attending need to RSVP to Lance Kruzic at and cc

-If folks have any questions or comments they can call either Lance Kruzic at 541-957-3381. Questions can also be sent via email.

While Thursday is obviously difficult for alot of working people it is imperative that people turn out and tell NOAA that there is opposition to opening a kill fishery on ESA listed fish.

Record Coho Run Expected For Columbia

Over 700,000 Coho salmon are predicted to return to the Columbia this year making it the best year for Coho since 2001. While it is still early to tell, excellent ocean conditions and flows during the juvenile outmigration in 2007 should mean a great run of Coho to the Columbia system this year. Consequently the limit for hatchery coho on the lower Columbia will be 6 fish this season. Summer Steelhead numbers have also been ramping up and the return is expected to be close to the 10 year average of 350,000 fish, through Thursday the 23rd 35,000 unclipped fish had passed Bonneville with more to come throughout the late summer and early fall. Fall chinook are also expected to make a strong showing this fall with over 500,000 fish expected to return to the Columbia system. While the forecasts are encouraging, the actual returns remain to be seen, preseason run forecasts for Spring Chinook were considerably overstated. See more information at the Columbia Basin Bulletin.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seattle Times Opinion Piece on Snake River Dams

Residents of Lewiston and Clarkston are asking for a clear resolution to the Snake River dam issue. While political interests jockey to decide the future of the dams, the communities most impacted by their presence and potential removal wait in limbo. With the increasing likelihood that the dams will come out, they are asking for help transitioning away from a shipping based industry. See the editorial at the Seattle Times.

Mortality Spikes for Outmigrant Chinook at McNary

McNary Dam is a notorious fish killer on the Columbia River. With the recent heat wave in the Pacific Northwest mortality of outmigrant fall chinook spiked to over 17% last week. Monitoring the juvenile survival using PIT tags managers believe the high mortality to be due to heat shock as the juvenile fish pass from cold water spillways into warm water areas. The period of high mortality was well above the legally mandated 6 percent acceptable mortality, forcing managers to increase the amount of spill to reduce mortality through McNary. Among the stocks affected are ESA listed Snake River Fall Chinook. See the full story at the CBB

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hemlock Dam Removal Webcam

Hemlock dam on Trout Creek, the Wind Rivers most important spawning tributary is finally coming down this summer. Now with a web cam from the University of Washington and the US forest Service you can track the progress of this exciting project. See the webcam here. You need the latest version of Java to view the cam.

Sediment Sampling Critical for Gold Ray Dam Removal

Scientists are studying the layers of sediment that have built up behind southern Oregon's Gold Ray Dam. The 105 year old dam which was decommissioned but not removed 37 years ago may be slated for removal, that is if the sediment built up behind the dam isn't too full of contaminants. If tests show acceptably low levels of contaminants such as mercury, arsenic and pesticides the dam could be removed and the river allowed to naturally transport the trapped sediments. If levels are too high to meet EPA guidlines the project could be delayed. Sediment behing Savage Rapids dam, located just down stream and removed this year met EPA guidelines. Currently money is provided for the removal by the federal stimulus, however it must be used before the end of 2010. Should Gold Ray be removed the Rogue would flow freely for 157 miles to the Ocean. See the Oregonian Article

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lower Sea Lice Levels in Broughton Archipeligo in 2009

Good news for salmon populations in the Broughton Archipeligo. Like many populations of salmon in the Georgia Strait, Fraser region outmigrant salmon are forced to pass countless salmon farms during their outmigration. One of the biggest problems with the salmon farming industry is the high consentration of parasitic copepods known to the public as sea lice. Normally not found in high concentrations on smolts, they are capable of killing the young fish when their numbers are unnaturally high.

Research done this year by Marty Krkosek and DFO researcher Brent Hargreaves indicates sea lice concentrations for the season were down in the Broughton Archipeligo, an important salmon producing region which has been plauged by sealice outbreaks in the past. The lower levels of sea lice are being attributed to CAMP or the Coordinted Area Management Plan where a number of salmon farming operations were fallowed prior to the spring juvenile migration. By strategically fallowing certain farming operations scientists hope they can minimize the impacts of Atlantic Salmon farming on wild Pacific Salmon in the region. See the press release at the Georgia Strait Alliance.

Also see information and a video at their website about the effort to force the fallowing of five salmon farming operations to protect outmigrating Fraser River Sockeye.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Worlds Oceans see Warmest June Ever

The worlds oceans, and land masses are getting warmer. Big trouble for coldwater fish like salmon and steelhead. The Oregonian reported Friday that ocean temperatures this past June were the highest on record, breaking the previous 2005 record. The combined ocean-land temperature was the second highest on record and El NiƱo has returned, indicated by 6 months straight of higher than normal SST (Sea Surface Temperature). For those who doubt climate change these should be sobering facts, climate change is the biggest challenge that wild salmonids face and it is important that we as advocates include climate change on any list of priorities we have. See the article at the Oregonian.

Rebecca Miles Named head of Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission

Nez Perce tribal leader Rebecca Miles was named last week as the head of the CRIFC an association of Columbia River tribes tasked with protecting tribal fishing rights, and resources in the Columbia system. Having previously served as the Nez Perce Tribes general council chair, and on the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee, Miles 36 is one of the youngest ever elected to head the CRIFC. Significantly, her tribe the Nez Perce is most profoundly effected by the Snake River dams and they have been one of the only holdouts against the 2008 BiOp which failed to identify the dams as a primary cause for Salmon decline in the Columbia. See more information at the Columbia Basin Bulletin

Monday, July 20, 2009

Record Returns for Imperiled Idaho Sockeye

Through monday 1013 Sockeye have passed lower Granite, a record return exceeding even last year. While a return just over one thousand fish is far from noteworthy in historical terms it represents a major gain for the Sockeye population in Redfish Lake a run of fish which as recently as 2007 had returns in the single digits. The numbers appear bouyed by a federal captive breeding program designed to increase the numbers of fish, as well as good outmigration and ocean conditions. See the full article at the Columbia Basin Bulletin.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Naches River forest protected

The Nature Conservancy recently led efforts to purchase over 2,600 acres of forest in the Naches watershed of the Yakima River. The group successfully obtained funding from state and federal sources to make the $3.27 million purchase from Plum Creek. The Naches is an important tributary of the Yakima for steelhead and other listed species. See the press release here. If you're interested in more regarding the status and recovery potential of the Yakima River see the most recent edition of the Osprey for an in-depth article.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Support Wild Salmonid Management Zones

Around the state of Washington the widespread practice of hatchery supplementation is having a severe detrimental impact on wild salmonids. Through interbreeding, competition, predation, and disease hatchery supplementation limits the productivity of Wild Salmonids. Furthermore the fitness and survival of hatchery fish is considerably lower meaning that the number of adults returning per each smolt released is very low when compared to wild stocks. Unfortunately, for too long hatchery supplementation has occurred in nearly every watershed in our state and along with the host of other problems including environmental degradation and overharvest it is leading to further declines in wild populations.

In response to these challenges many scientists, advocates and anglers have called for setting some river systems aside from hatchery supplementation. Focusing on those river systems which represent important spawning tributaries in a region, the most intact habitat, distribution and abundance of wild spawners and finally those which host a particularly valuable diversity of life histories or species. These special Wild Fish only watersheds are called Wild Salmonid Management Areas and adopting this sort of riversystem scale of conservation is the best way to ensure we have viable wild salmonid stocks now and forever.

This past Fall a group called the Steelhead Summit Alliance met to discuss the implementation of these WSMZs and to prioritize watersheds for protection, using a scientifically based set of criteria they chose 19 watersheds and wrote formal rule change proposals to the state of Washington asking for WSMZ designation. Among the watersheds they chose are some of our states most productive and most imperiled, the Hoh, Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Snoqualmie, Deer Creek and many more. With the state currently reviewing these rule change proposals it is critical that the public shows support for the process so please take a few minutes to write the fish and wildlife commission, WDFW and the Governor and tell them to please adopt the WSMZ rule changes.

A few talking points.

-hatchery fish have considerably lower fitness in the wild meaning their offspring survive poorly, even when one parent is wild. When they spawn with wild fish they reduce the fitness of the entire wild stock through genetic introgression

-hatchery fish are larger than wild smolts when they outmigrate and may be major competitors for resources in the early marine environment. Survival in the early marine environment is thought to be critical for overall survival from smolt to adult.

-there have been a number of incidences of hatchery facilities releasing diseased fish in recent years, posing an unacceptable risk to wild stocks.

-harvest pressure targeting hatchery fish has a severe impact on wild stocks and has led to a major shift in Steelhead spawn timing. Diversity is critical for adaptation with environmental change.

-hatcheries may support much larger numbers of predators than a wild population can sustain. As a consequence unnatural predation pressure may limiting wild stocks.

-Finally, the state has long acknowledged the need for these actions. The HSRG stated that widespread hatchery supplementation poses a serious threat to wild steelhead and salmon and the state steelhead management plan called for the creation of wild fish management zones to protect the integrity of wild populations.

More information and access to the rule change proposals at WDFWs website

Contact WDFW at:

Contact the Fish and Wildlife Commissioners at:

Governor Gregoire

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Salmon Virus Could threaten West Coast

A virus known as infectious salmon anemia of (ISA) has been decimating Chilean salmon farms. Chile, once the worlds largest producer of farmed salmon has seen a 67% decline in its salmon production in large part due to the virus. Originally from Norway, the virus has been transported around the world with salmon farming operations and may threaten our wild salmon in the North Pacific. Should the virus spread to the large salmon farming operations in the Strait of Georgia the effects could be disastrous. See an article about ISA in daily finance

Bonneville Fish Cam

For all the fish junkies out there who want to waste their time in the office drooling over fish, the Army Corp of engineers may have the answer. The Bonneville fish cam, situated on the Oregon side of the Bonneville fish ladder the web cam automatically updates every minute or so providing a view of whatever is swimming past. As we near the height of the steelhead run, expect to see big numbers of bright fish crowding through the ladder at

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Survey on WA Fish and Wildlife Commission webpage

The Washington Fish and Wildlife commission is asking for public input as they seek to fill the vacant Directors post. By taking the short survey on their website you can tell the state that we want a Director who will put science and conservation at the forefront of WDFWs agenda. Fill out the survey here.

Governor Ted Kulongoski signs bill to fund Klamath Dam Removal

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed a bill into law Tuesday that will provide most of the funding for the removal of 4 Klamath River dams and restore access to 300 miles of spawning habitat. The funding comes from an electricity surcharge of about $1.50 per month on residential consumers. The plan is expected to generate about 180 million dollars over the next 10 years with California committing about 20 million. On Tuesday Represenatatives from California, Oregon, PacifCorp, The Obama administration and others met to discuss plans for a final binding agreemend due on the dams in September. See the Oregonian for details.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sockeye ReIntroduced to Yakima System

After over 100 years of absence, the Yakama nation in cooperation with a host of agencies is reintroducing Sockeye Salmon to the Upper Yakima system. The large headwater lakes of the Yakima System once supported up to a quarter of a million spawning Sockeye annually, and for the Yakama peoples the Sockeye were an integral source of food and an important part of their culture. When the headwater lakes of the Yakima were damed without consideration for fish passage facilities the Sockeye were erradicated. With construction plans underway for fish passage at Cle Elum, Kachees, Kacheelus, and Bumping Lakes the tribe got the go ahead to take 500 pairs of migrating adult sockeye from Priest Rapids dam in an attempt to reestablish a spawning population in the Cle Elum system. The results will be closely monitored and the reintroduction will be ongoing provided the Columbia system has reaches its escapement goal for Sockeye. See more information at the Yakima Herald.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nominate Steve Buckner to WDFW Columbia Advisory board

WDFW is accepting nominations for a new citizens advisory board on the Columbia River system. The Columbia once was the greatest salmon nurseries in the world supporting Millions of Chinook, Coho and Steelhead every year. A century and half of dam building, overfishing and habitat destruction has brought the system to its knees and today multiple species are either listed or extinct in certain portions of the drainage. Given the Biological and Cultural importance of the Columbia system, and the ongoing challenges of harvest, hydro and a broadbased reliance on hatchery supplementation it is imperative that we work together as a conservation community to nominate individuals who will work tirelessly on behalf of wild fish. Steve Buckner is just the guy, please write a letter to WDFW telling them that Steve would be a huge asset to the state as a member of the new advisory board. A few key points on Steve for those who wish to write on his behalf:

-Steve has lived in Washington State for 12 years
-He lives and guides on the Cowlitz River where he has been for 9 years.
-He is well informed and deeply concerned about the challenges facing the wild rivers and fish in the Columbia system.
-He has guided in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska giving him insights into the complexities of fisheries management throughout the Northwest.
-He is a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers.

All the other information you will need to submit a letter on his behalf can be found at WDFWs website. His address, phone number and references will already have been submitted to protect his privacy.

Mail letters to WDFW, they must be recieved by July 15th.

Heather Bartlett, Salmon and Steelhead Division Manager
600 Capitol Way N.
Olympia, WA, 98501-1091

Monday, July 6, 2009

ODFW proposes direct harvest on ESA listed Coho

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has moved to allow direct harvest on ESA listed coastal Coho stocks in the Coos, Coquille, Yaquina and Nehalem. Now it is up to NOAA to approve or deny the harvest fishery. The fishery is proposed solely on a modest recovery following collapse of Oregons Coastal Coho Salmon. The State of Oregon established a maintenance spawner abundance of 200,000 Coho in Oregon's Coastal streams, this years predicted return is 211,000 providing very little margin for error. Additionally these numbers accept a shifting baseline of lower abundance, historically around 2 million Coho were thought to return annually to Oregon's Coastal Rivers.

Please write NOAA and tell them not to allow this negligent fishery to happen. Send your comments to by July 17th.

More information is available at Russell Bassets blog

and at the Native Fish Society

Stimulus money made available for removal of Gold Ray dam

Dams are falling left and right on Oregons Rouge. The Rouge, one of Oregons most productive and important salmon rivers has seen a number of dams dismantled in the last few years, and work began last month to remove Savage Rapids one of the most harmful to fish in the region. Now the federal government has allocated another 5 million dollars for Jackson County to take out Gold Ray dam, another antiquated, harmful dam in the Rouge system. Gold Ray a relic from a bygone era does not generate electricity, divert irrigation water, or provide flood protection and many believe it is time for it to go. While the county remains uncertain about their desire to remove the dam, the funds are available and will be gone if they go unused by 2010. With the removal of Gold Ray the rouge would flow unimpeded for 150 miles from Lost Creek dam to the Pacific. See the full article in Southern Oregon´s Mail Tribune.

NY Times editorial on dam removal

In the last 10 years 430 dated, environmentally harmful dams have been removed in the United States. The first to go was Edwards Dam on Maines Kennebec River and since that time the West Coast has become the epicenter of dam removal. With the push for dam removal continuing to gain momentum it is time for the Snake River dams to go. See the NY times editorial here...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Redfish Lake Sockeye Run Stronger than Normal

Idahos most imperiled salmon run is having a better than expected year. Redfish lake, 900 miles from the Pacific in the Snake River drainage is expected to see a return of 300 to 500 salmon this summer, a vast improvement from 2007 when 2 sockeye returned. Buoyed by improved ocean conditions and large releases of captive bred smolts, the numbers are gradually increasing. During last years record breaking sockeye return on the Columbia 650 fish returned. Provided the captive reared fish are successfully breeding in the wild it appears for now that Redfish lake Sockeye are holding on. See the full story in the Oregonian.

Obama Administration Opinion on Columbia due in Court August 14th

The federal government is taking its time deciding what to do about the long contentious 2008 Columbia River Biological Opinion (BiOp). Last week they asked for a 45 day extension to further review their plans for the Columbia system, that period ends August 14th at which time they will, ''advise the Court of the administration leadership's perspectives on the BiOp and whether further discussions are warranted.''

In May Judge James A. Redden sent administratoin officials a letter outlining the actions he believes necessary to bring the BiOp into compliance with the ESA. Among his suggestions were committing more money for restoration and monitoring on tributaries and in the estuary, increasing flow through the smolt outmigration period, recieve independent scientific oversight and in the event that less drastic measures fail, have a contingency plan for removing snake river dams. In granting the extension Redden said, ''We look forward to the administration leadership's perspectives, and whether 'further discussions are warranted.'' See the full article at the Columbia Basin Bulletin

Friday, July 3, 2009

Work begins on Dam Removal on the Wind River

Efforts to remove Hemlock dam on Trout Creek, one of the Wind Rivers most productive Steelhead spawning tributaries began this week. Removal of Hemlock dam which has long hindered wild fish migration with its inadequate fish ladder and reduced gravel and wood recruitment in lower Trout Creek should be a boon to Wild Summer Steelhead in the Wind. The Wind was once one of the most famous summer steelhead fisheries in Washington saw a severe decline in its wild population in the 1990s. Recently numbers have made a modest recovery and biologists are hopeful that with the curtailment of the hatchery steelhead program and habitat restoration such as the removal of Hemlock dam the Wind will see a substantial recovery. See the full article at Oregon Live

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Letter From Alex Morton

Alex Morton, one BCs leading activists on the critical issue of salmon farms in the Georgia Strait wrote a letter to the Campbell River Courier Islander summarizing her feelings about the recent approval of two more massive salmon farms in Johnstone Strait. The letter is frank, poignant, and places the ownership of the problem firmly where it belongs in any the hands of the people. Read the letter, and keep fighting. With those salmon farms in place, The Georgia Basin doens't stand a chance.

Yakima Water Supply Subject of Negociations

In the arid Yakima valley where agriculture, urban development and fish all demand a portion of the rivers precious water discussions are underway to try and address chronic water shortages. After a multi year study commissioned by BLM found that new dams were not economically or environmentally feasible as an option the community has been left to weigh its options and find solutions that work for everyone, including the fish. Last Tuesday in the first of what will likely be many meetings state and federal officials met with local interests, tribal representatives and environmental groups to formulate a plan on how best to ensure a viable water supply for the valley as well as for the river and its imperiled Chinook and Steelhead. See the article in the Seattle Times.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Hearing, TIME CHANGED

Puget Sound Chinook are listed under the Endangered Species Act. Even as these iconic, keystone species face extinction, many wild populations of Chinook in the sound are still subjected to over 50% harvest. If we hope to ever see any substantial recovery of Chinook in the sound harvest practices have to change. We posted a few weeks ago about a hearing on July 10th at the Seattle Federal Courthouse. The time has changed and the judge will now hear oral arguments at 9AM. Turn out and show your support for these magnificent wild fish before its too late. See more information on Chinook salmon harvest issues at the wild fish conservancy.

Federal Judge Strikes down Bush Administration Logging Authorization

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilkens ruled Tuesday that the Bush Administration rules that would have eased logging restrictions on over 193 million acres were in violation of the ESA. The provision in question was one in the National Forest Management Act which dictates National Forest lands be managed to support viable populations of listed species such as Spotted Owl, Marbled Murrulet, Chinook, Coho Salmon and Steelhead. Bush administration officials had tried to change the rule so it required only a framework for protection rather than the actual maintenance of viable populations. The ruling comes as a relief to environmental groups around the west who have fought to protect much of the remaining old growth on National Forest lands. See more information in the Seattle Times.