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Wild Fish Runs, November 2002
News and updates from Washington Trout
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Icicle Creek Fish Passage and Restoration Project:
Washington Trout has been advocating for the restoration of Icicle Creek and the removal of fish passage barriers at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery since our involvement with this project began in 1998. This past February, USFWS finally produced their Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), detailing various restoration alternatives, and the Record of Decision was reached in May, selecting which restoration option would be pursued. However, the chosen alternative carries a price tag of 5 million dollars, essentially ensuring that it will never be funded and ultimately tossed aside. The Icicle Creek Watershed Council is now proposing an Interim plan, which would cost a mere $10,000 in start up and $1000 annually. This plan would provide fish passage most of the time until USFWS gets funding to implement the FEIS plan. Implementation of the Interim plan could begin immediately, with removal of the offending dams and weirs occurring as early as next summer.
Several structures at the Leavenworth hatchery (2 dams and 3 weirs) have been blocking passage for three listed fish – chinook, steelhead, and bull trout – to over 21 miles of mainstream and 20 miles of side channel pristine spawning and rearing habitat on upper Icicle Creek for 63 years. WT Board Member Dick Rieman is actively involved with the Icicle Creek Watershed Council, a local citizens group formed in 1997 to work with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the restoration project. The Seattle PI published an article on October 30th about the Icicle Creek project and local volunteer interest in restoring historical fish passage. To read it, visit http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/93367_joel30.shtml.
Three years ago, Washington Trout received a grant from EPA to hire Dr. Mark Lorang of the Flathead Lake Biological Station, Division of Biological Sciences, at the University of Montana to research and write a paper analyzing potential sedimentation impacts of removing the dams on Icicle Creek. The approximately 36,000 cubic meters of sediment trapped behind the dams has been a major issue for officials involved with the restoration project. Lorang’s study found that any sedimentation impacts would be minor and that Icicle Creek is capable of naturally flushing the sediment trapped behind the dams. WT recently funded Lorang to present his paper at the Binghamton International Geomorphology Symposium, held in Bloomsburg, PA on October 11-13, 2002. The topic of this year’s Symposium was “Dams and Geomorphology.” The science presented in Lorang’s paper has played a critical role in revealing the benefits and dismissing concerns for removing the barriers and restoring Icicle Creek.
Seattle Public Utilities Spawning Surveys:
For the past three years, WT has been contracted by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to perform salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat spawning and redd surveys in five of Seattle’s urban watersheds. Once again, WT will be performing the surveys this fall, winter, and spring to continue collecting valuable data regarding the numbers, species, and distributions of anadromous and adfluvial (lake-run) fish that are spawning in Thornton, Pipers, Longfellow, Fauntleroy, and Taylor creeks within the city limits. These data, coupled with habitat, fish passage, and fish distribution data collected by the City and by WT, will be synthesized into an urban watershed analysis to provide information for SPU urban creek management decisions regarding restoration and enhancement priorities.
WT crews have been surprised to document significant numbers of coho, chum, and chinook salmon and adfluvial cutthroat trout using the spawning habitat within some of Seattle’s urban streams. Efforts are underway to determine how many of these fish are hatchery and/or wild strays from other watersheds, and how many represent self-sustaining populations within the City streams.
Perhaps the most remarkable finding of the spawning/redd surveys to date has been WT’s observation of previously undocumented high levels of coho pre-spawning mortality rates (adult coho that die in the creek prior to spawning). Similarly high rates of pre-spawning mortalities have not been observed by WT crews during spawning surveys in other, more rural, regions of the state. As might be expected, the coho prespawning mortality appears to be positively correlated with the concentrations of human use and development within the watershed. The survey findings have led to a full battery of coho carcass examinations in a cooperative effort between WT, SPU, and the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Montlake. While the biological assays will be ongoing in 2002/2003, the exact cause of the pre-spawning mortality has yet to be identified. One important result has been the banning of the use of all herbicides and pesticides on all City of Seattle owned properties as implemented in the summer of 2002.
Tolt River Snorkel Surveys:
(L-R) October Snorkel Crew – Micah Wait, Jamie Glasgow, Joseph Starstead (SPU), Albert Ponio (SPU), and Kurt Beardslee
The Tolt watershed joins the Snoqualmie River in King County at the town of Carnation, approximately 25 miles east of Seattle. The Tolt supports populations of all five species of salmon native to the northwest, as well as steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, resident rainbow and cutthroat trout, bull trout, brook trout, mountain whitefish, and sculpin.
WT has been performing snorkel surveys within the Tolt watershed to document the numbers and origin (hatchery or wild) of adult steelhead that utilize the North and South Forks of the Tolt River. The surveys, which began in 1989, are performed monthly between June and November (as flows permit) on two index reaches, one on each fork. Additionally, the entire anadromous reaches of the two forks are surveyed every September. During the surveys, WT staff are often assisted by volunteers from several local agencies and organizations, including Seattle Public Utilities, the City of Seattle, the University of Washington, King County, and others.
Data collected during this long-term project demonstrated that, during the early 1990’s, the abundance of steelhead in the forks of the Tolt was low and declining. These alarming findings motivated the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) decision to close the anadromous reaches of the forks of the Tolt to recreational fishing in 1991. Since then, there has been a variable but generally increasing trend in the number of steelhead using the forks of the Tolt. These data are supplemented by redd survey data collected by WDFW.
Because numerous factors affect the survival of salmon and steelhead (harvest rates, ocean conditions, streamflow conditions, predation, competition, etc.) data collected over many years are necessary to draw conclusions regarding population abundance trends. The most recent Washington Trout snorkel surveys in the Tolt basin were conducted on October 14th and 15th, and were to count the number of adult Summer Steelhead. On the 14th, crews surveyed the South Fork Tolt and observed 40 total Summer Steelhead. Of that 40, 29 were Wild, 2 were Hatchery and 9 were of Unknown origin. Crews surveyed the North Fork Tolt the following day and observed 23 Summer Steelhead. Of those, 9 were Wild, 13 were Hatchery, and 1 was of Unknown origin. This is the 13th consecutive year of surveys. Overall, there has been a general positive trend or increase in the wild populations. More information about trends from the past thirteen years will be posted shortly on our website.
Cedar River Freshwater Sponge:
On a July 24th snorkel survey in the Cedar River watershed, Washington Trout researchers ran across an atypical sight hidden beneath the clear flowing waters of the Cedar River. A number of freshwater sponge colonies were attached to the cobbles at the bottom of the stream. They were strikingly similar in appearance to their better-known marine counterparts and consisted of a large white and green porous mass with a texture similar to a bathing sponge, punctuated with larger openings. With 20 combined years of snorkeling the rivers of Washington, none of the WT researchers had ever observed freshwater sponges. It was a fascinating discovery for all involved. WT Conservation Biologist Micah Wait researched the find, and sent video and slide samples to Dr. Henry M. Reiswig at the Khoyatan Marine Laboratory, a noted expert on freshwater sponges. Dr. Reiswig identified the sponge as Eunapius fragilis, a widely distributed species that occurs on most continents and is common throughout most of North America. To see photos and underwater video clips of the sponge on our website, visit http://www.washingtontrout.org/vidsponge.shtml.
Lake Joy Creek Culvert Removal and Site Restoration:
October 19th Work Crew (L-R): Bob Charles, Mike Shea, Jeannie Shea, Ben White, MaryLou White, Al Osgood, Sharon Osgood, Randy Miller, Mike Osgood-Graver and Jake the Dog.
Washington Trout in partnership with the Lake Joy Community Club recently completed the Lake Joy Creek Culvert Removal and Site Restoration project. The culvert was the most significant passage barrier in the Lake Joy system, impeding coho salmon, steelhead and resident cutthroat trout access to Lake Joy and its tributaries. The culvert was identified as a problem during a 1996 Washington Trout culvert survey of the Snoqualmie watershed. WT and the Lake Joy Community Club came together shortly after that, however, there was no immediately available funding and the project was put on hold. Earlier this fall, WT received a unique donation from the Washington Department of Natural Resources and a generous grant from the Trout and Salmon Foundation that made the project possible. The culvert was removed on October 8th and on Saturday, October 19th, WT staff and volunteers with the community club replanted the work site with native vegetation. On November 4th, The Valley View ran an article on the completion of the project. Read it at www.washingtontrout.org/lakejoy.shtml.
ISRP Denies Support for 2003 Tangle Net Fishery:
The Northwest Power Planning Council’s Independent Science Review Panel has recommended that funding be denied for continuation of a combined WDFW-ODFW “Tangle Net” Demonstration Fishery on the Lower Columbia River. WT has recommended in submitted comments and public testimony that the demonstration fishery be discontinued. While WT supports the development of conservative, selective-fisheries techniques, we believe that managers have not adequately demonstrated that the tangle-nets are an effective tool for protecting listed fish while allowing harvest.
Lower Columbia River fisheries are managed jointly by WDFW and ODFW under the Columbia River Compact. In September, Compact Managers recommended continuing the demonstration fishery in 2003, with some significant changes. The 2003 fishery will restrict tangle nets to a maximum 4Ľ” multi-filament mesh, an improvement from the 5˝” monofilament nets allowed in the 2002 fishery, which contributed to the high by-catch and mortality rates on listed salmon and steelhead. Meanwhile, the Compact also submitted funding requests to the Power Planning Council to further study tangle-net impacts, and to conduct and manage the “demonstration” fishery until 2007.
WT Resource Analyst Nick Gayeski submitted comments to the ISRP, which reviews funding requests to the Power Planning Council for scientific credibility, recommending that the Panel reject the proposal for the full-scale commercial fisheries. The ISRP final report specifically cited WT’s comments in recommending that the commercial fishery not be funded. The Panel expressed a lack of confidence “that the work will be conducted according to scientific standards,” and said it was “particularly surprised” that the Compact did not even attempt to address WT’s comments.
WT does not oppose further small-scale evaluation fisheries, but more evaluation and refinements of tangle nets should be required before allowing full-scale commercial fisheries to proceed. While the Compact’s proposed gear restrictions are a step in the right direction, they only address one of several problems with this fishery technique.
The ISRP recommendation by itself may not stop the fishery. The Power Planning Council will make its funding determinations next month, and it can follow or reject the Panel’s recommendations. Likewise, the Washington and Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commissions will decide late this year or early next whether to follow or reject the Compact’s recommendation to authorize the 2003 fishery. WT will use the ISRP’s findings and recommendations to continue lobbying the Council and the Commissions to enact and fund responsible harvest policies in the Lower Columbia.
Wenatchee River Salmon Festival:
WT staff Leah Hausman, Micah Wait, Ann Whitney, Kurt Beardslee, Candace Beardslee and volunteers Marilyn and Vaughan Tuohy represented Washington Trout at the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival, September 19-22, at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery. The WT booth was the “2002 Wild Salmon Homecoming Poster Contest” for children to paint or draw posters of how happy wild salmon will be when they can finally go home again. The booth was a tremendous success with nearly 500 entries into the poster contest and a great time had by the children, staff and volunteers alike.
This year’s winner is 10-year-old Caitlin Stumpf from East Wenatchee, and she will receive a $100 gift certificate for art supplies to McDee’s Art Center in Wenatchee. Caitlin’s poster will be turned into a WT Celebration Poster and used to promote our involvement in next year’s festival activities. We will be meeting with Caitlin and her family soon to present her with her award and gift certificate.
As WT and others look forward to new developments in the Icicle Creek Fish Passage and Restoration Project, perhaps the children’s posters of happy salmon returning to pristine habitat after 62 years were a good omen for Icicle Creek wild fish.
Cooperative Watershed Research Symposium:
Washington Trout was invited to participate in round-table discussions with 42 researchers from the private, non-profit, and public sectors at an innovative forum organized by the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Fisheries Science Center. The Cooperative Watershed Research Symposium was held October 21-23 at the Sleeping Lady Conference Center in Leavenworth. Scientists and policy advisors from NMFS, US Geological Survey, US Forest Service, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, the NW Indian Fisheries Commission, and private and non-profit entities attended the conference, including: Mary Ruckelshaus, Risk-Group Team Leader, NMFS Science Center; Robert Bilby, Environmental/Aquatic Biology Team Leader, Weyerhaeuser Corp.; Pete Bisson, USFS; Reg Reisenbichler, USGS; and Zan Augerot, Conservation Programs Director, Wild Salmon Center.
WT’s Director of Science and Research, Jamie Glasgow, attended the three-day Symposium, taking part in discussions, panels, and work-groups. Participants worked to identify pressing fisheries research needs in the Northwest, prioritize those needs, and foster relationships among researchers to develop specific study designs to address them.
Northwest Salmonid Recovery Conference:
WT Resource Analyst Nick Gayeski and Director of Science and Research Jamie Glasgow gave presentations at the Northwest Salmonid Recovery Conference, held in Seattle on October 22-25.The Conference, hosted by the Northwest Environmental Training Center, brought together a broad audience of approximately 100 professional and agency representatives involved with habitat restoration and related salmon recovery efforts.
On October 22, Gayeski’s presentation described the close relationship between the diversity of salmon populations and the diversity of available habitat. Gayeski focused on the need to preserve and/or reestablish floodplain-habitat complexity that can provide for the needs of several salmon species at the full range of their different life history stages. The presentation also emphasized significant harvest issues, explaining the critical role of returning adult salmon in delivering marine-derived nutrients to freshwater ecosystems, increasing the productivity of those ecosystems.
Glasgow presented on WT’s Weiss Creek Restoration Project on Thursday, October 24. The Project restored an approximately one-mile section of Weiss Creek’s historical channel, significantly increasing the quantity and quality of low-gradient rearing habitat for salmon and trout in the Weiss and Snoqualmie basins (see http://www.washingtontrout.org/weiss.shtml). Glasgow presented project background, goals and objectives, an overview of the implementation of the project, and project monitoring results, stressing the importance of long-term monitoring. The presentation highlighted the Weiss project’s significance as a model for future resort\oration efforts, demonstrating that fish habitat restoration and agricultural practices are not mutually exclusive.
On October 25, Glasgow, WT Project Manager/Field Biologist MaryLou White, and Executive Director Kurt Beardslee led a group of approximately 40 conference attendees on field visits to the Weiss Creek Restoration Area and several culvert restoration sites on the Tolt River.
Saturday, December 7 – Wild Fish Benefit Reading & Book Signing!
On Dec. 7th, North Bend author Carol Morrison will be reading from and signing copies of her most recent book, “Catching On, Love With an Avid Fly Fisher”. Reading will begin at 1:00 and will be followed by signings until 4:00. Carol will be accompanied by Ed Morrison, the subject of all that avid fly-fisher love, who will demonstrate fly-tying techniques.
Catching On takes you inside a relationship, and shows you, with humor and grace, how the author and her zealous, fish-smitten partner found intimacy and understanding in spite of—or because of—that passion. Morrison’s charming and deeply felt collection of stories has won raves from a number of reviewers. Paul Quinett, Ph.D., author of Pavlov’s Trout and Fishing Lessons, said “A Southern gal’s falling for a Northwest fishing guy, landing him on light tippet, and not throwing him back makes for a joyful and satisfying read… This book could save marriages.”
So join us at the Washington Trout Store in Duvall to listen to a holiday story, find the perfect gift for your special someone, and contribute to the recovery of Washington’s wild fish. 50% of book sales will go to benefit Washington Trout. To see the flyer and learn more about the event, visit the website at www.washingtontrout.org. For more information about Catching On and Carol Morrison, visit Freestone Press at www.freestonepress.com.
Fall Spawning Run Viewing Sites and Guidelines:
November and December are still prime times for viewing the fall salmon spawning runs. For a list and map of general viewing locations, times, and guidelines, plus viewing programs led by other organizations, visit the WT website at www.washingtontrout.org.
WT 2003 Benefit Auction:
Planning has begun for the 2003 Washington Trout Benefit Auction. We are looking for a few good (actually, great) volunteers to be on the Auction Volunteer Committee, which will help solicit donations, follow-up with contributors, and sell tickets/tables to the event. Not to mention those good, old-fashioned envelope stuffing and mailing parties, which can be a great way to meet like-minded WT members, staff, and board members! If you want to get involved with the committee, contact Leah Hausman at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. that may be of interest to you! Please contact Leah Hausman if you have any events you would like mentioned in Wild Fish Runs or on the website!
Clean Water Act Turns 30:
October 18th marked the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, one of our nation’s most important environmental protection laws. Written in 1972, the CWA made it a national goal and policy to make our lakes, rivers, and estuaries safe for swimming and fishing by 1983 and to eliminate all surface water pollution by 1985. Congratulations to Kathy Fletcher for her great article in the Seattle P-I on where Washington and the nation stand and the problems that may lie ahead for the future of this landmark legislation. Kathy Fletcher is the Executive Director of People for Puget Sound and has been a leader on Clean Water Act issues for many years. Click here to read her article. To gain a more in-depth understanding of the problems of enforcing environmental laws, read Daniel Jack Chasen’s The Rusted Shield.
Read more articles on the Act’s future:
“30th Anniversary Finds Clean Water Act in Jeopardy”, Environment News Service, Cat Lazaroff
“Bush Administration Policy Threatens Clean Water, Says New Report”, Environmental News Network, Natural Resources Defense Council,
Give a Wild Gift this Holiday Season!
Finding the perfect gift can be difficult. That illusive combination that shows how much you care, has real meaning and importance, and will enrich the life of your special someone. In this season of reflection, compassion and hope, please consider the gift of conservation – of healthy habitat and a future for wild fish – by giving a tax-deductible membership or holiday donation to Washington Trout.
Your gift membership will bring that special someone our newsletters, the Washington Trout Report and Wild Fish Runs, and a Washington Trout oiled canvass hat. For gifts of $150 or more, we will send your friend the hat and a copy of Trout and Salmon of North America, the definitive new book by Robert Behnke and Joseph Tomelleri. For $500 or more, your friend will receive the above plus a Washington Trout logo-embroidered blanket made of EcoWool, a combination of washable wool and EcoSpun recycled fabric.
To find out more about how you can support WT this holiday season while giving a unique, tax-deductible gift to a treasured friend, call the office at (425) 788-1167 or go online at www.washingtontrout.org/supportWT.shtml.
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, click on the Greater Good button or visit http://www.greatergood.com/partner/washingtontrout.
Write Us In!!
It’s the time of year for workplace campaigns like United Way and although Washington Trout is not a United Way member agency, you can still designate us as your recipient! Giving to WT through United Way is easy; just fill in the form’s designated giving section by writing in Washington Trout. If you have any questions, just call the office at (425) 788-1167. Thank you for all your support and generosity!