Monday, February 28, 2011

Two Oregon Bills Propose Restarting Non-native Summer Run Plants


Two bills, SB 643 and SJM 16 currently under consideration in the Oregon state senate are proposing that ODFW initiate summer run steelhead hatchery programs on the Molalla and Little North Fork Santiam. Summer run steelhead are non-native to both the Santiam and Molalla and this is a bad idea. The Molalla is currently managed as a wild fish river and has been one of the bright spots in the recovery of ESA listed steelhead in the Willamette system. ODFW researcher Kathryn Kostow has shown that non-native summer steelhead programs depress the productivity of wild winter steelhead. Given the abundance of other summer steelhead hatchery programs in the area there is absolutely no need to further jeopardize wild winter steelhead recovery in the Molalla and Little North Fork.

The language of the two bills:

See the Kostow paper here:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lubchenco in the Oregonian

Judge Redden will rule on the BiOp this spring

With the recent spate of high profile coverage and a significant court decision looming this spring, Jane Lubchenco head of NOAA today published a guest column in the Oregonian. In the piece she outlines the improvements made to the plan inherited from the Bush administration, calls for an end to litigation and the adoption of the current plan. The administration has made some positive progress on the Columbia and Snake rivers, but improved tributary habitat, hatchery reforms and increased monitoring to inform adaptive management can only go so far towards improving ESA listed salmon and steelhead runs. In the meantime improved fish passage and favorable ocean conditions have allowed some fragile populations to begin rebuilding. Ocean conditions though are variable and the degree to which wild salmon can continue to recover in the Snake and Columbia with inevitable changes in the ocean environment and climate change remains unknown. The fact remains that the four Lower Snake dams remains the single greatest obstacles to recovery. Updates to the BiOp have largely occurred behind closed doors and have failed to include states, tribes and organizations which have challenged its legitimacy. It is time to have a transparent and inclusive discussion on the Lower Snake dams and find a solution that ensures the future of the region’s economy and wild salmon. The benefits and costs of the current hydro-system must be studied and addressed, and community involvement is essential. Let the residents of the three effected states, tribal nations, towns and counties decide what is best for the Snake.

Read the Column here:

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/02/columbia_river_salmon_letting.html

Historic Steelhead Abundance in Puget Sound


A new paper out this week takes a good, empirical look at historical abundance of steelhead in Puget Sound. The research done by Nick Gayeski, Bill McMillan and Pat Trotter uses commercial fishery records from the late 1800s and concludes that current steelhead populations in Puget Sound range from approximately 1-4% of their historic levels. The authors had river specific catch data for the Nooksack, Skagit, Snohomish and Stillaguamish and had aggregate data for the rest of the sound. Then using estimated catch rates and an assumed average steelhead size from 7-9.5 pounds they were able to model a range of likely historical run sizes.

They estimate that historically the rivers of Puget Sound supported 485 to 930 thousand winter steelhead. River specific estimates for the Nooksack, Skagit, Snohomish and Stilly were 101-169 thousand, 70-149 thousand, 114-224 thousand and 52-100 thousand respectively. The authors then compared steelhead declines to estimates of habtiat loss and conclude that while steelhead populations have declined approximately 98% in the Puget Sound, roughly 66% of the historically available habitat remains accessible. These estimates do not account for changes in the quality or capacity of the freshwater habitat, but highlight the degree to which population densities of steelhead have declined. The paper is also a stark reminder of the inadequacy of current escapement goals which are typically well below 10% of historic abundance levels as recovery targets.

Read the paper here:
Gayeski et al. 2011 - Historic abundance of Puget Sound steelhead

Friday, February 25, 2011

TNC Protects 3000 Acres on Washington's Clearwater River


Last week the Nature Conservancy Announced that it had purchased 3088 acres on Washington's Clearwater. The purchase was a part of a larger initiative to purchase and protect large tracts of land along some of the more intact salmon bearing ecosystems remaining in the Lower 48. The Clearwater is a tributary of the Queets River and is home to relatively healthy runs of Winter Steelhead, Coho and Chinook. The hope is that by protecting the habitat in perpetuity wild salmon can continue to thrive in the Queets/Clearwater drainage. Almost all of the Queets watershed is protected in the Olympic National Park. More information in a Seattle Times article:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014314229_clearwater24m.html

and at The Nature Conservancy's website:
http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/washington/misc/art33147.html

For Now, Mega Loads Won't Use Highway 12


For the time being at least, Imperial Oil has decided it is better off not sending oversized loads of equipment through Idaho and Montana. Over the last several months residents along Idaho's scenic Clearwater and Lochsa River's have been fighting to block the use of highway 12 to ship massive loads of oil extraction equipment. Instead the oil giant will break the 33 propsed megaloads down into 60, something they have long insisted was impossible and send them North along an interstate route. The decision comes as a major victory for opponents of the megaloads, but the route of future shipments remains in question. Check out an article in the Oregonian:

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2011/02/imperial_oil_will_shrink_stran.html

More information at All Against the Haul's website:

http://allagainstthehaul.org/blog/

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

HR1 Undermines Salmon Recovery


Last week the House of Representative's passed HR1 their budget for the current fiscal year. The budget includes massive budget cuts however among the most severely impacted programs are those which protect and restore populations of wild salmon and the watersheds that support them. These programs represent a tiny fraction of the governments current expenditures and sadly are for the most part politically motivated. Among the provisions in the House's version of the budget are:

  • Stopping the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA from conducting a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protection for some wetlands and streams which were curtailed by two harmful and confusing Supreme Court decisions, Rapanos (2006) and SWANCC (2001).
  • Removing funding for the Klamath River Dam Removal and Sedimentation Study, a necessary step toward eventually removing four dams and reopening 350 miles of salmon habitat.
  • Removing the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act to veto Army Corps authorized permits for the disposal of dredge and fill material and to designate as off limits certain areas for disposal of dredge and fill material.
  • Blocking the U.S. Forest Service’s Travel Management Plans, which were developed to prevent uncontrolled off-road vehicle use from damaging fish and wildlife habitat.
  • De-funding the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, a law enacted last year with strong bipartisan support, which represents a broad coalition of restoration partners.
  • Discontinuing rulemaking processes designed to protect streams from mountaintop removal mining.
  • Eliminates funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, a highly successful, landscape scale, partnership-driven effort;
  • Cuts the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enables conservation of habitats through purchase of fee title or easements from willing sellers around the nation, by $393 million from FY 2010 levels. Potentially hundreds of acres of land could fail to be conserved if this funding cut became law;
  • Cuts the National Fish Habitat program, one of the best landscape scale fisheries habitat conservation programs in the federal government, by 28%;
  • Drastically cuts funding for Great Lakes restoration;
  • Eliminates funding for the State Fish and Wildlife Grants program, a bedrock partnership between state fish and wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
  • Cuts important Farm Bill conservation programs. Permanently cuts the Wetland Reserve Program by almost 50,000 acres and cuts the Environmental Quality Assurance Program by more than $350 million from authorized levels.
Luckily, the House does not have the final say and the budget now must go to the Senate. It is critical that Senators hear from you on these issues. Customize and send a letter at Save Our Wild Salmon's Website.

https://secure3.convio.net/sows/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=516

New Study Highlights Hatchery Effects on Wild Productivity




In one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken to examine the effects of hatchery supplementation on the productivity of wild stocks, Mark Chilcote of NOAA Fisheries in collabortation with two ODFW biologists found that hatcheries dramatically depress the productivity of wild runs of coho, steelhead and Chinook. Using populations from the Washington and Oregon Coast as well as the entire Columbia basin, they found that hatchery spawners are on average only 12% as productive as their wild counterparts and that there was no apparent benefit of using wild broodstock hatcheries. Using a model which included the proportion of hatchery spawners, the species in question, whether there is a hatchery in the basin and the number of dams the fish must migrate past, the authors were able to explain 72% of the variation in year to year recruitment. The study adds to the already large body of evidence suggesting that hatchery supplementation hinders wild populations, however it is unique in its scope.

mean recruits per spawner as a function of the proportion of hatchery spawners (Ph)

Among the most important findings of the paper is the fact that wild-broodstock hatcheries a major emphasis of recent hatchery reforms hinder wild productivity as much as segregated hatchery programs. Futhermore the authors caution that fish recovery plans should not lean too heavily on hatchery supplementation saying that reintroduction efforts should, "plan on a period of lower productivity and seek to reduce the number of generations that hatchery fish are allowed to spawn in the wild." Excellent advice, particularly considering a number of high profile dam removal projects currently on the horizon in Washington State. On the Elwha WDFW and the Lower Elwha tribe plan to release millions of smolts annually throughout the dam removal period meaning that the spawning population will be predominantly hatchery origin. It is critical that state and tribal fish managers consider the long term impact of these hatchery programs for wild populations and scale their releases accordingly.

Read the paper here:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1234/FishStudies/chilcote2011.pdf

Monday, February 21, 2011

Columbia, Snake Salmon in the New York Times


An article in today's New York Times explores the complexity of the issues on the Columbia and Snake River where power generation and barging provided by 13 mainstem dams have helped drive Sockeye, Chinook, Steelhead and Coho to Endangered Species act listings. The article also touches on recent developments in the controversy over using the Snake River as a corridor for shipping large amounts of coal and equipment to the tar sands. Many worry that these interests will work to impede progress on dam removal once they are entrenched on the Columbia.

Check out the article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/science/earth/20columbia.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=us

Monday, February 14, 2011

Osprey Vol. 68

The winter edition of the Osprey is now available. In this issue:

  • Washington's Statewide Steelhead Management Plan. Still waiting for implementation three years later.
  • The Future of Salmon Farming. Disease and Sealice issues come to a head
  • The Enbridge Pipeline threatens the Skeena, Fraser and BC Coast.
  • Still Fighting For Columbia Basin Salmonids
  • Central Valley Salmon, History and Recovery.
  • Wild Steelhead Refugia
Check out our website to subscribe to the Osprey and to read back issues:

http://www.ospreysteelhead.org/subscribe.htm

Weekly Action List 2/14/2011

Please take a few minutes to make your voice heard on these important issues.

Central Valley Salmon Under Attack. A rider to the House appropriations bill proposes to gut protections for ESA listed salmon and delta smelt in the Central Valley and block the implementation of the BiOp. Write your congressman and tell them to defend the ESA and wild salmon in the Central Valley.

Write your Representative:

More info:
http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/2011/02/house-rider-bill-weakens-esa.html

Washington's Senators obstructing progress on the Snake River. In a revealing editorial in Sunday's Oregonian, author Paul VanDevelder delves into the behind the scenes role Gary Locke, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray have played in obstructing progress on Snake River Dam removal. It's time for Washington's Senators to stand up for wild salmon rather than industry lobbies. Write President Obama, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and tell them we want a free flowing Snake River.

https://secure3.convio.net/sows/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=507

read the editorial:
http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/02/the_reckoning_a_looming_decisi.html

Steelhead OFF the Menu! We've compiled a list of restaurants, grocers and seafood vendors currently selling wild steelhead. Please take the time to call, email or visit these businesses and ask them to stop serving wild steelhead.

more info and the list:

http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/2011/02/wild-steelhead-on-menu.html

Save the Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is far from perfect but a proposal to merge the department with two other agencies and take power away from the fish and wildlife commission wont make things any better. The commission has the power to hire and fire the director, putting that power in the hands of the Governor would further politicize fish management in Washington State.

More info:

Customize and send a letter to your state rep:


Wild Fish First on the Sandy. The Sandy River near Portland Oregon is home to listed Chinook, Coho and Steelhead. Despite millions of dollars invested in habitat recovery and dam removal in the basin over the last decade ODFW continues to treat the watershed like a hatchery raceway and wild stocks slide further into decline. As recently as the 1980s the Sandy saw returns of more than 4000 winter steelhead per year, today the run is only about 1000 fish and continues to decline. Visit the Native Fish Society's website to tell ODFW, put wild fish first on the Sandy.

http://alerts.nativefishsociety.org/campaign/3-save-the-sandy

More Delays for Condit Dam? Condit Dam on Southwest Washington's White Salmon River has blocked wild salmon and steelhead for more than 97 years. It has been scheduled for removal since 2006 but a series of delays have pushed the the removal back until this fall. Now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is threatening to delay the project again. Write them and tell them how important this project is for our region and for wild salmon. Enough waiting, Condit Dam must come out in 2011.

customer@ferc.gov

Protect Puget Sound From Oil Spills. Each year more than 15 billion gallons of oil are shipped through the Puget Sound however government agencies are woefully unprepared to address the possibility of a spill. Sign People for Puget Sound's Petition asking Washington State legislators to provide better funding and regulations to ensure that a catastrophic oil spill never occurs in the Sound.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5430/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3619

More info:
http://pugetsound.org/programs/policy/action-alerts/011011oil/

Wild Steelhead Coalition on Puget Sound Closures


From the WSC website.

As many of you have heard by now the rivers around the Puget Sound will close even earlier than expected due to low wild steelhead returns. Jim Scott, assistant director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) said that pre-season estimates developed by WDFW last fall indicate that wild steelhead will return in numbers far short of target levels. The closures are necessary to meet the conservation objectives of WDFW’s statewide steelhead management plan and comply with provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), he said. “We’re closing these rivers early because of conservation concerns,” Scott said. “With low numbers of wild steelhead expected back, we need to take this action to protect those wild fish that do return.”

While it is a continuing bitter pill to swallow the Wild Steelhead Coalition supports the ruling as a measure to conserve wild steelhead in Puget Sound , but we continue to request the WDFW to look beyond closures as a means to conserve and recover wild steelhead. We hope this will be an increasing call for more participation in steelhead advocacy and not simply allow cynicism to cloud our thinking. No doubt this closure will result in more effort on the coastal streams and provide increased pressure on the wild fish in those systems, which are also in a downward trend. We request that anglers look beyond just simply moving their fishing efforts over to other opportunities, but step up into conservation efforts and hold the WDFW accountable to developing more conservation based steelhead management plans that focus on recovery and abundance rather than harvest allocations. Here are five actions you can take to help recover wild steelhead:

http://www.wildsteelheadcoalition.org/FiveThings.pdf

Thank You,
Jim Schmitz

V.P. Membership
The Wild Steelhead Coalition

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cantwell and Murray v. Salmon


A great editorial in the Oregonian today on the ongoing litigation over the Snake River. The article provides a unique glimpse into the political landscape and how Washington's Senate delegation of Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell along with BPA administrators have strong armed NOAA officials into supporting the Bush BiOp. While it has long been thought that Murray and Cantwell were working behind the scenes to thwart discussions about dam removal on the lower Snake the FOIA documents cited in the article end any speculation. It is extremely alarming that two senators elected in part on their environmental credentials would work so tirelessly to suppress science and dialogue in order to appease industry lobbyists. Check out the article at the Oregonian's website:

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/02/the_reckoning_a_looming_decisi.html

Central Valley Salmon Under Attack

A rider in the House appropriations bill is proposing to gut ESA protections for wild salmon and delta smelt in the Central Valley and block the implementation of the BiOp. More information in yesterdays post.

We've drafted a letter which can be sent to your congressional representative. Please write them today and tell them not to allow this sort of backhanded attack on the ESA.

Find your Representative:
https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

The Letter:

I am writing you regarding a rider in HR1 which would effectively gut ESA protections and recovery measures for Central Valley salmon. Sneaking this type of legislation into the appropriations bill is a backhanded and deceptive tactic which seeks to undermine a decade of science and recovery efforts on behalf of Central Valley salmon. I’m sure you agree that ESA mandated protections for endangered species are worth defending. Please ensure that section 1475 of HR1 does not become law.

Sincerely,

Friday, February 11, 2011

House Rider Bill Weakens ESA Protections for Central Valley Salmon


Riders attached the House of Representative's appropriations bill are attacking ESA mandated protections for Central Valley salmon by 1. Eliminating all funding for implementation of certain titles in the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, including the release of interim flows. 2. Prohibiting the implementation of BiOps under the ESA protecting delta smelt and salmon. The language in the Bills can be found

view the HR1 the house appropriations bill here:

http://www.rules.house.gov/Media/file/PDF_112_1/legislativetext/2011crapprops/AppropCRFinal_xml.pdf

Language relevant to Central Valley Salmon on page 224 (section 1475)

Write to your representative and tell them not to allow this backdoor attack on Central Valley Salmon and the ESA

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wild Steelhead on the Menu


Over the last week and a half we've been compiling a list of restaurants and grocers that are currently selling wild steelhead. Thanks to all the readers who emailed us. This list is far from complete but that highlights the fundemental problem, we will never be able to contact every restaurant that could be buying wild steelhead. Instead the problem needs to be addressed at its source, but until WDFW gets serious about ensuring that stocks with active commercial fisheries meet their escapements it is critical that we work to raise awareness in the seafood industry about the plight of wild steelhead. Below is a long list of establishments, starting with Key City Fish, the distributor who is currently supplying steelhead to most of the restaurants below. We've also included the email contact information for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's seafood watch program.

email them at: seafoodwatch@mbayaq.org and tell them steelhead should be added to the list of unsustainable seafood.



Please take the time to contact as many of these establishments as possible and remember a respectful, well thought out email will go a long way towards starting a constructive dialog.

Also, ALOT of these establishments can be found on facebook. A quick update on their wall with a link to the information is an invaluable way of alerting them to the situation.

For a sample letter and some talking points see our older posts:

http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/2011/01/rays-boathouse-serving-wild-steelhead.html

and

http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/2011/01/declining-but-not-listedyet.html


The List

Distributors:

  • Key City Fish. Email: info@keycityfish.com
  • ProFish, Washington DC. phone: 202-529-3003 email: support@oceanpro.com
Grocers and Fish Market
  • City Fish Company (At Pike Place Market). Phone: 206-682-9329. Email: http://www.cityfish.com/1-800-334-2669/contact.html
  • Berkeley Bowl, Berkeley CA
  • Race Street Market, San Jose CA. Phone: 408-294-6161 Email: sales@racestreetmarket.com
  • Boston Harbor Fish Market . Phone: 360-357-5670 Email: bhm@bostonharbormarina.com
  • Olympia Seafood, Olympia WA. Phone: 360-570-8816, Email: olympiaseafood@gmail.com
Restaurants:
  • Lark Creek Restaurant Group, CA. Phone: 415-655-7600 Email: info@larkcreek.com
  • Seasons and Regions, Portland. Email: seasonsregions@gmail.com, phone: 503-244-6400
  • Brasserie Pascal, Newport Beach. Email: info@pascalnpb.com, phone: 949-640-2700
  • Marzano, Oakland. Email: info@marzanorestaurant.com, phone: 510-531-4500
  • Castle Key Restaurant, Port Townsend. phone: 360-379-1990, Email: http://www.castlekeyrestaurant.com/contact.cfm
  • Teatro Zinzanni Dinner Theater, Seattle WA. Phone: 206-802-0011 Email: markus@onereel.org
  • Bayview Restaurant, Port Townsend. Phone: 360-385-1461.
  • Eureka Grill, Surprise AZ. Phone: 623-374-4409.
  • Agate Pass Cafe, Suquamish WA. Phone: 360-930-0911, Email: http://www.agatepasscafe.com/contact-us.php
  • Pike Street Fish Fry, Seattle WA. Phone: 206-329-7453.
  • Boathouse Sushi, Santa Rosa CA. Phone: 707-546-7153. Email: http://boathousesushi.com/contact
  • Ice Axe Grill, Government Camp OR. Phone: 503-272-3172
  • Bread and Ink Cafe, Portland OR. Phone: 503-239-4756
  • Absolutely Fresh Seafood, Omaha NE. http://www.absolutelyfresh.com/?q=contact
  • Flying Fish Restaurant, Seattle WA. Phone: 206-728-8595 Email: info@flyingfishseattle.com
  • Bisato, Seattle WA. Phone: 206-443-3301.
  • Travolata, Seattle WA. Phone: 206-588-0030 Email: info@ethanstowellrestaurants.com
  • Gubanc's Pub, Lake Oswego OR. Phone: 503-635-2102 Email: info@gubancspub.com

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sea Lice From Farms Found on Fraser Sockeye


In a publication out this week. Canadian researchers have for the first time shown that sealice from salmon farms transfer to Fraser River Sockeye and that Sockeye which migrate past salmon farms have an order of magnitude higher rate of infection than fish from non-farming regions. While the role of sea lice in the decline is still not fully understood, salmon farming operations are thought to be among the most likely causes of recent the declines in marine survival for Fraser Sockeye.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0016851

Monday, February 7, 2011

Protect the Fish and Wildlife Commission


With a billion dollar budget shortfall looming, state lawmakers in Olympia are looking everywhere for savings. Among the proposals is one to merge WDFW with other state recreation and resource agencies. Unfortunately that merger also would take authority from the Fish and Wildlife Commission making their role advisory only in nature. Presently the commission has the power to hire and fire the director and provide critical oversight of the department and its policies. Without them the director of WDFW would be appointed by the governor, further politicizing fish management in Washington. While the current system is far from perfect the Fish and Wildlife are an essential voice for the citizens of Washington. Visit the Puget Sound Angler's where you can customize and send a letter to state lawmakers telling them that you oppose SB 5669 & HB 1850.

Great News for Bristol Bay


The EPA announced today that they will be conducting a formal environmental review of the potential impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine project on Bristol Bay.

Sign a petition to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson HERE


Press Release:

(Anchorage, Alaska—Feb. 7, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects may affect water quality and Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery, an extraordinary salmon resource for the United States. EPA initiated this assessment in response to concerns from federally-recognized tribes and others who petitioned the agency in 2010 to assess any potential risks to the watershed.

“The Bristol Bay watershed is essential to the health, environment and economy of Alaska,” said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran. “Gathering data and getting public input now, before development occurs, just makes sense. Doing this we can be assured that our future decisions are grounded in the best science and information and in touch with the needs of these communities. We look forward to working with Alaskans to protect and preserve this valuable resource.”

In 2010, nine federally-recognized Bristol Bay tribes petitioned EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. Their concerns focused on the potential Pebble Mine project. Two other tribes asked EPA to wait for mining projects to submit permit applications before taking action.

This action today does not represent any regulatory decision by the agency; instead it represents EPA’s proactive steps to better understand the watershed and gather important scientific information. This information gathered will inform any future guidelines or actions about how to protect the waters and promote sustainable development.

Bristol Bay is an important source of wild Pacific salmon for commercial, recreational, and subsistence users. It produces hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fisheries revenues. The area may be the last major watershed in North America that produces historic numbers of wild salmon. Most of the Bristol Bay watershed is wildlife refuge or park where large development is restricted. EPA’s efforts will focus on those areas that are not protected.

EPA’s assessment is not limited to examining the effects of hard-rock mining projects, but will consider the effects of large-scale development in general.

The assessment, which will focus primarily on the Nushagak and Kvichak watersheds, will be informed by scientific peer review, tribal consultation, federal and state agency participation, as well as public and industry input.

EPA will accept and consider public input during development of the watershed assessment and will continue to work closely with tribal governments, state and federal agencies as we undertake this analysis.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Plan Draws Criticism


The Puget Sound Harvest plan is written jointly by WDFW and tribes in the area has drawn criticism from the Hatchery Science Review Group (HSRG) and fish advocates who say it allows too many hatchery fish to spawn and harvests too many wild fish. The plan is designed to guide harvest management for Puget Sound Chinook for the next 5 years. Chinook in the Sound are listed threatened under the ESA and large numbers of hatchery spawners and over harvest of wild fish are thought to be major factors in their decline. The plan then goes to NOAA for approval.

The plan as it is currently constructed allows for harvest rates in excess of 60% for some populations of chinook and stray rates in excess of 70% all but guaranteeing the extinction of wild chinook in Puget Sound. More information in the Columbia Basin Bulletin:
http://www.cbbulletin.com/405119.aspx

comment on the plan by February 22nd:
http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Salmon-Harvest-Hatcheries/State-Tribal-Management/PS-Chinook-RMPs.cfm

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Weekly Action List 2/3/2011

Please take a few minutes to make your voice heard on these important issues.

Wild Fish First on the Sandy. The Sandy River near Portland Oregon is home to listed Chinook, Coho and Steelhead. Despite millions of dollars invested in habitat recovery and dam removal in the basin over the last decade ODFW continues to treat the watershed like a hatchery raceway and wild stocks slide further into decline. As recently as the 1980s the Sandy saw returns of more than 4000 winter steelhead per year, today the run is only about 1000 fish and continues to decline. Visit the Native Fish Society's website to tell ODFW, put wild fish first on the Sandy.

http://alerts.nativefishsociety.org/campaign/3-save-the-sandy

Steelhead on the Menu? Let us know. We've put a call out to anglers and advocates, if you see steelhead in a restaurant or grocer in your community please contact us immediately. Enough is enough, it's time that we united under one banner to oppose the ongoing over-harvest of wild steelhead.

ospreysteelhead@gmail.com

More Delays for Condit Dam? Condit Dam on Southwest Washington's White Salmon River has blocked wild salmon and steelhead for more than 97 years. It has been scheduled for removal since 2006 but a series of delays have pushed the the removal back until this fall. Now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is threatening to delay the project again. Write them and tell them how important this project is for our region and for wild salmon. Enough waiting, Condit Dam must come out in 2011.

customer@ferc.gov

New Direction for the Snake River. President Obama has called for Innovation and Investment in the State of the Union. It's time we stopped wasting millions annually on the Snake subsidizing the extinction of wild salmon. Write President Obama, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and tell them we want a free flowing Snake River.

https://secure3.convio.net/sows/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=507

More info:
http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/2011/01/innovation-investment-look-no-further.html

Disease Threatens Georgia Basin Salmonids.
In a report published in Science a Canadian federal researcher documented for the first time the presence of a viral outbreak in Fraser Sockeye. The researchers found that infected fish had a 13.5 fold increase in the likelihood of prespawn mortality which has plauged the Fraser in recent years. Even more disturbing is the fact that DFO has known about the virus since 2009 and it has been linked to high early marine survival in juvenile chinook, coho and sockeye but they have thus far refused to test salmon farms. Sign Alex Morton's petition and demand that fisheries minister Gail Shea allow DFO scientists to test salmon farms.

https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dEtNMExpVGpXZ2U4R3J1dFdhQVJxU3c6MQ

More info
http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/2011/01/salmon-farms-must-be-tested-for-disease.html

Protect Puget Sound From Oil Spills. Each year more than 15 billion gallons of oil are shipped through the Puget Sound however government agencies are woefully unprepared to address the possibility of a spill. Sign People for Puget Sound's Petition asking Washington State legislators to provide better funding and regulations to ensure that a catastrophic oil spill never occurs in the Sound.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5430/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=3619

More info:
http://pugetsound.org/programs/policy/action-alerts/011011oil/


Enbridge Northern Gateway. The Enbridge corporation has proposed to build a pipeline from the Alberta Tar sands to the BC coast. The proposal would build two pipelines through some of the most unstable avalanche and landslide prone terrain in BC crossing the Upper Fraser and Skeena system before loading oil onto super tankers at Kitimat and shipping it down the BC coast. The Northern Gateway is a threat to three of the greatest salmon bearing ecosystems in the world and if the project goes forward it is not a matter of if but when a catastrophic spill occurs. Visit the dogwood initiative's website and sign their petition:

http://dogwoodinitiative.org/notankers

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hatchery Fish Impede Recovery on the Sandy

photo by David Thurman

For the last several weeks Spencer Miles an NFS river steward has been spearheading efforts to call attention to the conservation challenges facing the Sandy River. Each year over 1.2 million salmon and steelhead smolts are released into the Sandy and wild populations of ESA listed chinook, coho and steelhead all continue to decline. Hatchery programs of this type and magnitude are known to dramatically reduce the productivity of wild salmonids and with the removal of Marmot dam managers can no longer sort hatchery spawners out of the upper river. As a result stray rates of hatchery fish, in particular spring chinook have skyrocketed. The Sandy is one of the largest relatively intact watersheds on the Lower Columbia and millions of dollars have been spent over the last decade to restore its habitat. Despite the opportunity afforded by the Sandy River and the recommendations of multiple agencies and stakeholders that the Sandy be managed as an all wild river system, ODFW continues to pump more than a million hatchery fish into the river every year. Check out Spencer's blog Whitefish Can't Jump for more information:

http://whitefishcantjump.com/

Contact ODFW and tell them to put wild fish first on the Sandy:

http://alerts.nativefishsociety.org/campaign/3-save-the-sandy

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Steelhead on the Menu? Let Us Know

We've been fielding emails from concerned anglers who have seen steelhead for sale at restaurants and grocers in their community. With the outpouring of support the public showed in contacting Ray's Boathouse we're hoping to channel that into a bigger victory, getting steelhead out of all dining and grocery establishments in North America. It will be a big effort, and we need your eyes. If you see steelhead on the menu or in the seafood isle please contact us. We can be reached at ospreysteelhead@gmail.com. Stay tuned for the more information...

Thanks,
The Osprey