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Read this newsletter with photos and video clips, as well as past issues on our website: www.washingtontrout.org/newsletters.shtml
Wild Fish Runs, January 2003
News and updates from Washington Trout
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For more information on any of these topics, please check out our website at www.washingtontrout.org.
Wild Fish Runs is a bi-monthly publication for Washington Trout’s members and supporters to provide program updates and networking assistance. Washington Trout is a conservation-ecology organization dedicated to the preservation and recovery of Washington’s wild fish and the habitat they depend on. Since 1989, Washington Trout has sought to improve conditions for all of Washington’s wild fish through research, advocacy, and habitat restoration. Washington Trout is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
Cherry Valley Restoration Alternatives:
Cherry Creek is the Snoqualmie River’s downstream-most major tributary; its location provides high recovery-benefit potential for listed Puget Sound chinook and other salmonids. An agricultural drainage system consisting of 10,200-m of ditched channels, a 2,100-m levee, and a pumphouse – disconnects lower Cherry Creek from its floodplain in order to provide flood protection to the farmers that work the valley. The drainage system disassociates Cherry Creek from important salmonid rearing- and spawning-habitat creation and maintenance processes. The pumphouse impedes access to 12,000-m of spawning and rearing habitat, requires significant maintenance and is unscreened, causing direct mortality of juvenile chinook and other salmonids.
Funded by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Washington Trout in collaboration with Drainage District #7, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, and affected landowners, is developing ecologically sound solutions for restoring lower Cherry Creek floodplain processes, while addressing the needs of the Drainage District and affected landowners.
The feasibility study entails determining how the valley functioned historically; collecting and modeling elevation, groundwater, sediment-transport, hydrologic, and flooding data; and assessing Drainage District #7 needs. Recent floodplain water-quality, channel cross-section, and fish-species composition and distribution data will be incorporated into the study. WT will present the evaluated restoration-alternatives to project collaborators, and seek consensus on selecting an appropriate alternative. Upon final selection, WT will develop a construction design and seek additional funding for permitting and implementation.
This winter, Washington Trout, working with sub consultant Pacific Groundwater Group, is monitoring the height of the groundwater in Cherry Valley using remote data loggers deployed in groundwater wells at six sites throughout the valley. WT is also monitoring the depth, extent, and rates of ingress and egress of floodwaters in the valley, and will continue to do so during throughout winter/spring 2003-flood season. With assistance from sub consultant R2 Resource Consultants, these data will be incorporated into a computer model that will portray how flood events affect the hydrology of Cherry Valley given its present-day drainage system, and assist with the development of restoration alternatives that are more fish-friendly but still provide the Cherry Valley landowners with the flood protection they need.
Mapes Creek Habitat Assessment:
As part of an ongoing contract with Seattle Public Utilities, Washington Trout has been conducting an assessment of the Mapes Creek Watershed in the Rainier Beach Neighborhood of Southeast Seattle. The Mapes Creek watershed originates in a forested open space adjacent to a City of Seattle park, Kubota Gardens. Just downstream of this open space the waters of Mapes Creek are incorporated into a series of artificial ponds streams and waterfalls within the manicured grounds of Kubota Gardens. Downstream of the park, Mapes Creek flows into a residential neighborhood before it is directed into a culvert which runs under a mixed urban use area and into Lake Washington.
Mapes Creek is a good example of the issues that face small urban streams. Washington Trout crews discovered 10 barriers to fish migration including perched culverts, a series of poorly maintained concrete weirs, and the artificial channels in Kubota Gardens. The watershed is also suffering from a massive load of fine sediments that have choked the natural streambed’s substrates. On top of these issues in the free flowing reaches of Mapes Creek, the final thousand yards of Mapes Creek has been diverted into a culvert that receives stormwater runoff from a large portion of the Rainier Beach neighborhood. Given these issues it is not surprising that Washington Trout crews did not find any salmonid species currently occupying the watershed. In fact the only fish observed in the system were the ubiquitous three-spined stickleback and Japanese Koi in the Kubota Gardens Ponds.
Island County Stream Assessment:
Washington Trout has been contracted by Island County to perform comprehensive watershed assessments within Maxwelton watershed on Whidbey Island and Chapman and Kristoferson watersheds on Camano Island. The project includes assessing the quantity and quality of fish habitat in each watershed to identify and prioritize restoration and protection opportunities. Additionally, WT will assess fish passage and drainage function of the county culverts in each watershed in order to develop preliminary design plans and cost estimates for fixing fish passage problems. Throughout the process, WT will convene public meetings to involve the Island County public and educate them about their freshwater resources and the fish and wildlife that use them. Work began in late fall of 2002 and will continue through spring of 2004.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has selected Washington Trout to evaluate the fisheries benefits arising from NFWF-funded fish passage restoration projects in the Pacific Northwest. The evaluation will entail assessing the success of approximately sixty NFWF-funded fish passage restoration projects located in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Michigan. WT will evaluate fish passage projects using the original project proposals and the final reports submitted to NFWF. Additionally, WT will interview project sponsors and, where warranted, perform project site visits to determine benefits to fish. In its final report to NFWF, WT will summarize lessons learned by project sponsors and make recommendations to the Foundation regarding the selection of future fish passage projects. The project will occur in 2003.
The Hidden Cost of Your Salmon Fillet:
Last time you enjoyed salmon at a restaurant or purchased it at your grocery store, more likely than not it was Atlantic salmon, born and raised in the net pens of a salmon farm, instead of wild Pacific salmon. It’s that perfect shade of dark pink, remarkably cheap and available year-round. But there’s a hidden cost behind that farmed salmon fillet as the business of farming salmon poses a tremendous risk to our wild salmonid populations, the health of our marine environment, and us. Some of the top concerns include infestations of sea lice, outbreaks of diseases, abundant use of antibiotics and pesticides, impact on surrounding marine life due to direct dumping of wastes and toxic materials into the surrounding waters, unsustainable production of the fish feed, and the potential impact escaped non-native species could have on native fish populations.
Salmon farming in Washington took off in the early 1980s, when several Norwegian companies decided to begin operations here. There are 9 farms operating in Washington, all of which are located along the Puget Sound. Currently, farms are located at Port Angeles, near Hartstene Island, Cypress Island, Bainbridge Island, and Hope Island, with private hatcheries near Rochester and Oakville. In British Columbia, there are 91 salmon farms in operation, the vast majority of which are located around Vancouver Island. Norway, Scotland and several other nations with large salmon aquaculture operations have suffered enormous environmental problems due to the industry, and there is already cause to believe that our region may suffer the same fate unless substantial protective measures are taken. For more information on the problems already arising with salmon farms, visit the WT website at www.washingtontrout.org.
On Wednesday, January 15th, an International Day of Action Against Fish Farming Expansion is being held around the world. In Seattle, the protests is being held at the
North American PanFish HQ, 4250 8th Ave NW Seattle, and will begin at 2:00 pm.
For more information contact Anne Mosness at email@example.com.
For more information about the Day of Action, click here.
Defending Against Clean Water Act Rollbacks:
October 18th, 2002 was the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, one of our nation’s most important pieces of environmental protection legislation. Not only has Washington State and the rest of the nation failed to meet the Act’s goal and policy of making our lakes, rivers, and estuaries safe for swimming and fishing by 1983 and to eliminate all surface water pollution by 1985, but the Bush Administration announced on Friday, January 10th a pair of actions that would take Clean Water Act protections away from many of our nation’s streams and wetlands.
The rollback removes Clean Water Act protections from isolated, intrastate, non-navigable waters that have been under CWA jurisdiction on the basis of the “Migratory Bird Rule,” which protects waters used as habitat by migratory birds, endangered species, or to irrigate crops sold in commerce. The other action announced on January 10th was an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that will call into question the definition of “waters of the United States,” which is the language used in the CWA to determine what waters fall beneath its jurisdiction. This review has the potential for removing Clean Water Act protection from additional types waters, including tributaries to navigable waters, waters that flow for some length through manmade structures such as ditches or pipes, and adjacent wetlands.
The implications these proposed actions could have for Washington’s wild fish populations are tremendous, and Washington Trout is actively working to help fight the rollbacks. WT will collect and submit field data and specific examples of the precious waters and habitats that could be damaged or lost if Clean Water Act protections are removed, and how that will impact important habitat for native wild fish. WT has been working with American Rivers (www.amrivers.org) and will work to assist other organizations on campaigns to defend the Clean Water Act. Read more about these developments on our website, www.washingtontrout.org.
WT 2003 Wild Fish Soiree and Auction:
Planning has begun for the 2003 Washington Trout Wild Fish Soiree and Auction, which will be held Sunday May 18th at the Pickering Barn in Issaquah. We are looking for a few good (actually, great) volunteers to be on the Auction Volunteer Committee. The committee will help solicit donations, follow-up with contributors, sell tickets/tables to the event, and help with set-up on the day of the Auction! If you want to get involved with the committee, contact Leah Hausman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (425) 788-1167.
VOLUNTEERS WHO WORK 20 HOURS OR MORE TOWARDS THE AUCTION WILL RECEIVE DISCOUNTED OR FREE TICKETS!
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation for the live or silent auction, please contact the WT office at (425) 788-1167 or email email@example.com.
Want to get more involved with Washington Trout? WT appreciates your support and can use your volunteer help in a number of ways including the annual WT auction, educational programs, mailing and office assistance, staffing booths at public events, and participating in membership campaigns and other special events. Check out the website for more information on volunteer opportunities and our calendar, which lists upcoming WT and other organizations’ events, meetings, classes, etc. Please contact Leah Hausman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an events you would like mentioned in Wild Fish Runs or on the website!
The events of other organizations posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Washington Trout. WT includes this information as a networking and community service.
The 2003 Mountaineers Northwest Environmental Issues Course
Become a fully informed advocate for the Northwest’s natural resources by taking the Mountaineers’ Northwest Environmental Issues Course. This course provides lectures and field instruction designed to provide participants with tools and awareness that they can then use to protect the natural resources of the Northwest. Students examine the often conflicting interests of forests, water, wildlife, growth management, consumer spending, energy, and more through lectures by local environmental experts, group discussions, and other activities. The course runs 9 weeks, February 5 – April 9. Lectures go from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Mountaineer’s Club House, 300 3rd Ave W, Seattle. The course costs $45 for Mountaineer members, $50 for non-members. $10 discounts available to students, senior citizens, and $5/each to those who sign up in pairs. Registration begins in January. For more information, please contact Laura Hastings at email@example.com or call The Mountaineers headquarters at (206) 284-6310.
“The Restoration Toolbox”
Mark your calendars for "The Restoration Toolbox", the 2003 Society for Ecological Restoration-Northwest Chapter and the Society of Wetland Scientists-Pacific Northwest Chapter Joint Regional Conference. The Conference will be held March 24-28, 2003 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Conference session topics will include restoration education, riparian, wetlands, monitoring, plant materials, oak/prairie restoration, and much more! The conference will include workshops, field trips, three days of practical sessions, and a large exhibit program focusing on tools of the trade. For exhibitor and registration information, call 206-543-5539 or 1-866-791-1275 toll free, or visit them online at http://www.sernw.org.
WT Opens South Sound Office:
Washington Trout is pleased to announce the opening of its South Sound branch office, located along the banks of Olympia's Green Cove Creek on Cooper Point. The establishment of the strategic Olympia branch office will provide WT with a broader geographic base for research and restoration project activities, as well as an increased ability to stay in tune with the federal, state, and tribal entities that have significant Olympia offices. The branch office is fully networked with Washington Trout's Duvall headquarters, so mailing address, phone, and email contact information for all staff will remain the same.
WT Wish List
WT is putting together a list of items that would really help us out in the hopes that you have one lying around, just waiting to be donated to a worthy cause. Right now the item topping our wish list is a paper shredder. So if you have and would like to donate a paper shredder to WT, please give the office a call at (425) 788-1167.
You can do your usual online shopping and help support Washington Trout by shopping through the WT shopping village at GreaterGood.com. Choose from more than 100 brand name retailers like eBay, Amazon.com, PetsMart, The Disney Store, Dell, Lands’ End and many more. Up to 15% of everything you buy benefits Washington Trout. To go directly to the WT shopping village, visit http://www.greatergood.com/partner/washingtontrout.