Monday, March 10, 2014

WDFW Takes Important First Steps In Designating Lower Columbia Wild Steelhead Genebanks

Despite some loud, opinionated opposition from some in the fishing lobby, WDFW made the right choice this week in announcing that they will move ahead with the designation of three wild steelhead genebanks in the Lower Columbia. Under the plan, the department will be discontinuing the release of hatchery steelhead in the East Fork Lewis as well as the North Fork Toutle and its major tributary the Green River. They have also officially designated the Wind River a wild genebank. The Wind had been managed as a defacto wild steelhead refuge since 1997 when hatchery plants were discontinued there, and since that time wild steelhead in the Wind River have made a remarkable recovery.

More information in a press release from WDFW:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Proposed BC Bill Would Allow Industrial Development in Provincial Parks

From the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society:

On February 13th the Province introduced legislation that could weaken the Parks Act significantly, allowing for greater impacts in BC’s parks to occur. CPAWS takes any changes to this Act very seriously, as it underpins the integrity of our entire provincial protected area network.

According to Bill 4, the revised Act would allow the Minister of Environment to issue park use permits for feasibility studies relating to the "location, design, construction, use, maintenance, improvement or deactivation" of roads, pipelines, transmission lines, telecommunications infrastructure, and other projects. This is a clear threat to the integrity of our protected areas system, as it essentially writes a blank cheque to industry to consider opening  up any given protected area for industrial use.

Another of the main changes is that the Act would no longer prohibit impacts in parks less than 2,023 hectares in size.  That’s almost the size of Cypress Bowl Provincial Park, or five times the size of Stanley Park.

We call upon the BC Government to reconsider these changes and to respect the integrity of the Parks Act and the protected areas that it defends. We urge our members and the public to write the Minister and let her know your views on these proposed changes.

Take Action and tell the Provincial Government to put a stop to this disastrous bill.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Increased Winter Time Flow Boosting Hanford Reach Wild Chinook

A new study has documented dramatic increases in the number of juvenile Chinook produced in the Hanford Reach following a series of agreements that have led to increased winter flows. Flows in the interior Columbia were historically very low during winter, and the agreements have created artificially high flows during the period when fry are incubating in river gravels designed to maximize fry survival. Historically, the abundance of wild fall chinook in the Columbia would have been supported and maintained by fish spawning throughout the mainstem and its many tributaries. However, with the construction of mainstem dams starting the in 1930's all of the mainstem spawning habitat has been lost with the exception of the Hanford reach which now supports the largest remaining spawning aggregation of wild fall chinook in the Columbia. Consequently, managers have been looking for ways to maximize productivity in this population and have apparently been successful at doing so using artificially high winter flows.

More information in the Columbia Basin Bulletin: