Friday, September 28, 2012

Seattle Times Op-Ed: EPA Must Stop Pebble Mine

A good Op-Ed published in the Seattle Times this week joins Senator Maria Cantwell in calling for the EPA to use their veto authority to stop the proposed Pebble Mine. The mine would be built in the heart of Alaska's productive Bristol Bay region threatening the largest, most sustainable sockeye fishery on the planet. The fishery provides thousands of jobs, and much of the commercial fleet is based in Seattle, making the protection of the Bristol Bay region vital to the region's economy.

Read the editorial here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kitz Weighs in on Columbia Salmon

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has had a busy late summer and fall working on salmon issues. Not only is he spearheading a solution to the stand off between sport fishing, conservationists and commercial gillnetters in the Columbia, last weekend he weighed in on the long running battle over the future of Columbia and Snake River salmon. The state of Oregon is a litigant in the long running lawsuit challenging the validity of the Columbia BiOp, and in a guest editorial to the Oregonian, Kitzhaber calls for an end to the litigation and a collaborative process between all stakeholders that can lead to a lasting solution for the Columbia.

Read his editorial at the Oregonian website:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Klamath Seeing Record Chinook Returns

The Klamath River was once one of the worlds greatest Chinook producing rivers, and while a century of dam building, irrigation withdrawls, and over harvest has diminished the system, it remains a prolific  producer of the King of Salmon. This year, buoyed by a strong parent cohort, and good marine conditions, the Klamath is expected to see a total run of around 1.6 million Chinook, with an estimated 380,000 fish expected to make it through the fishery.

More information in the Eureka Times-Standard

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Away in the Field...In the Meantime

Apologies for the lack of updates, we're away in the field this month chasing salmon around the Central Coast of British Columbia. Rest assured we'll let you know how it goes when we return. In the meantime keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming September/October issue of The Osprey. The upcoming issue features some excellent content. Here's a summary of the content:

  • Benefits of Columbia River Spill by Margaret Filardo of the Fish Passage Center
  • Fraser Sockeye Research Providing Insight into Decline by Doug Braun and Brendan Connors
  • Anadromy in Rainbow/Steelhead by John McMillan
  • Mining Threatens BC's Babine Lake by Will Atlas and Ken Rabnett
  • The Way Forward for Wild Salmon by  Jim Lichatowich  and Bill Bakke
Visit our website to check out back issues and learn how you can subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue of the Osprey. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oregonian Article on Columbia River Tribal Fishery

An interesting article out Tuesday in the Oregonian tells the story of tribal commercial fishermen on the Columbia. The feature article which includes some nice photos, explains that the tribes are increasingly focused on improving the quality of their product and marketing their fish effectively throughout the region. This years projected return of fall Chinook to the Columbia is around 660,000 and tribal fisherman hope to harvest about 150,000 of the returning fish. However, the harvest goals must also be carefully balanced with the challenge of limiting by-catch of other, more fragile runs in the Columbia and Snake.

More information in the Oregonian:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WDFW Issues Draft Hatchery Plans for Lower Columbia, Comments Due October 5th

Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued draft Hatchery Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) for hatchery operations on the Lower Columbia. The plans outline WDFW's intended hatchery activities that may impact ESA listed salmon and steelhead stocks in the Lower Columbia region. While it may seem like run of the mill bureaucratic process, HGMPS are intended to provide assurance to the Federal Government (NOAA) that WDFWs hatchery operations will not jeopardize wild populations and as such HGMPs should be held to the highest biological standards.

Among the proposals that don't pass the sniff test on the Lower Columbia are continued releases of non-native hatchery fish into the Coweeman, South Fork Toutle, and East Fork Lewis. Each of these systems lack collection facilities for returning hatchery fish meaning that any fish that go unharvested in sport fisheries spawn in the wild, reducing the productivity, diversity, and long term viability of threatened wild steelhead in the Lower Columbia. Hatchery releases in watersheds without collection facilities are supposed to be prohibited by the Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, and have been eliminated in Puget Sound following the listing of steelhead under the ESA. Unfortunately on the Lower Columbia, the epicenter of Washington's crazed hatchery addiction, similar measures have not been taken despite the ESA listing.

The state's own data suggest that large numbers of hatchery fish are likely spawning in the wild, and recent estimates have suggested that as many as 70% of spawning steelhead in the East Fork are of hatchery origin.

WDFW is accepting comments on the draft HGMPs until October 5th at 5PM. Please take a few minutes to tell the state to discontinue hatchery outplanting in the Coweeman, SF Toutle, and EF Lewis to protect ESA listed wild fish. 

Comments can be sent via email to

OR mailed to WDFW at

Hatcheries Division
600 Capital Way N.
Olympia, WA 98501

Read all the Lower Columbia HGMPs here:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

May the Rivers Never Sleep by Bill and John McMillan

From the Amato Books website:

Bill and John McMillan share a view of rivers, salmon, steelhead, and the Pacific Northwest. The father and son have found a common bond in rivers, and this bond is clearly reflected in their writing and photography. Few people are so enamored with the life and history of rivers and salmon. 

The essence of May the Rivers Never Sleep is the physical and biological tapestry of river time—month by month, a concept fostered by Roderick Haig-Brown. Well-respected anglers in their own right, Bill and John have spent thousands of hours viewing rivers and fish, above and below water. Their revelations from snorkeling in rivers have led to its spread as a tool of science to protect fish, rivers, and related wildlife. The essays and gorgeous photographs in this book reflect Bill and John’s lives largely spent on rivers as anglers, naturalists, and scientists—men struck by the wonder of the life of rivers. Pick up this book and be transported to the lush rivers of the Pacific Northwest—anytime, anywhere. 

In a not to be missed event, Bill and John will be doing a book signing and reading December 7th at REI in Seattle. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Video Online from Latest Salmon Restoration Federation Meeting

Video from the talks from the latest Salmon Restoration Federation meeting which brought together experts and luminaries in the field to discuss the growing dam removal movement is now available online. Among the more interesting talks are one by USGS Scientist Jeff Duda on the Elwha dam removal process and some of the science that's being used to inform our understanding of fish recovery in the basin. The website also has good talks on dam removal in the Rogue, Sandy, and Klamath. 

Check the video out here:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Paradise Lost by Craig Orr

Searching through the archives and came across this piece by Craig Orr. Originally written in 1994 for the premier issue of the now defunct Wild Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon Magazine. Orr examines the history of Vancouver Island's many steelhead streams beginning with the untrammeled and bountiful wilderness first encountered by Roderick Haig-Brown as a young man to the modern day. Vancouver Island has been ravaged by logging, most of which occured between the 1960s and the 1990s when the impacts of logging were already well understood. Despite the concerns of anglers and conservationists that the many unique and precious runs of salmon and steelhead would be wiped out, logging practices were atrocious, and many streams were logged right to the banks.

Despite the damage done by the logging industry some systems have begun to recover and there is hope that the lessons learned from the last wave of destructive timber harvest will limit damage in the future.

Paradise Lost by Craig Orr