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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, September 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.
In order to characterize summer water temperatures in the Dosewallips estuary, Washington Trout has placed six water temperature data loggers throughout the river’s delta. The data will be used to identify summer cold-water refuge, and areas that most benefit from riparian revegetation. The first multidisciplinary Dosewallips Estuary Restoration Team meeting is planned for late September – team members will include representatives from Washington State Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes, the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, Jefferson County, Point No Point Treaty Council, and the Conservation District.
WT Executive Director Kurt Beardslee pointing to a temperature logger installed on 7/22/03. Temperature loggers will collect baseline data prior to project implementation.
Deer Harbor is located on the southwest corner of Orcas Island in the San Juan archipelago. A small seasonal stream, Fish Trap Creek, flows off the low hills in the harbor’s uplands, entering the harbor from the north. In a partnership with the Samish Tribe, Skagit Conservation District, San Juan County, Smayda Environmental, People for Puget Sound, and Island residents, Washington Trout will assess the current condition of Fish Trap Creek with respect to salmonid spawning and rearing potential.
Simultaneously, other members of the project team will ascertain the nature and extent of ecological changes in Fish Trap Creek’s estuary in the recent past (25-200 years) from historical records, archaeology, and sediments; evaluate the extent to which existing vegetation bordering the estuary contributes to maintaining water quality, water quantity, water temperatures, sediments and nutrients appropriate for salmonids; and model how the presence of the Deer Harbor bridge and associated infrastructure has affected historic estuarine processes. Together, these data will be used to identify activities that would improve salmonid habitat in Fish Trap Creek and its estuary.
Over the last month Washington Trout researchers have traveled from the tidally influenced spruce rainforests at the mouth of the Columbia River to the burning forests of West Glacier Montana in the Columbia’s headwaters. The purpose of these travels was to visit National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) funded culvert projects in order to determine the conservation benefit derived from these projects. NFWF has contracted WT to provide a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness of the NFWF’s support of culvert removal projects intended to improve fish habitat through the removal of barriers to fish passage, and the replacement of culverts contributing to elevated stream sedimentation.
In August WT’s Director of Science & Research Jamie Glasgow and Conservation Biologist Micah Wait visited six culvert sites in the Hungry Horse Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest, where they navigated around forest roads closed due to fires and were told to stock up on bear spray because the grizzlies were riled up. They saw projects that opened passage for adfluvial cutthroat trout and bull trout in tributaries to the Hungry Horse Reservoir, and hiked to culvert removal sites associated with road decommissioning projects for the grizzly recovery program. In September, Wait and Dale Russell spent a day driving up the Columbia and documenting culvert removal sites in Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, and Klickitat counties. Over the course of the day they saw culvert removal sites associated with the Columbia Land Trust’s restoration of the Grey’s River Estuary in the mouth of the Columbia, were able to witness the construction of a massive arch culvert on Monahan Creek in the Cowlitz watershed, and toured the remnants of the Champion Pacific International Mill in the rural community of Klickitat, where a concrete sluiceway through the mill is blocking access to habitats in the Snyder Creek watershed for federally listed Columbia River steelhead.
Construction of a very large arch-culvert on Monahan Creek, a tributary to the Cowlitz River. This project is one of the 66 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation-funded culvert projects that WT has been contracted to assess.
Schoolhouse Creek Restoration Project:
In late July, Washington Trout Director of Science and Research Jamie Glasgow along with Paul Devries of R2 Resource Consultants surveyed the Schoolhouse Creek project site to characterize site conditions at summer low-flow, as they will be in 2004 when the restoration project is implemented. A series of soil cores were dug to determine the location of the groundwater table, data which will aid in planning the project design and construction logistics.
Tolt River Underwater Videography and Snorkel Surveys:
Washington Trout performed underwater videography surveys to document fish species composition, habitat preferences of juvenile salmonids, and relative densities of the species in those habitats, in the lower Tolt River. The surveys were completed in June of this year, and now Washington Trout personnel are reviewing hours of footage to determine how many fish, and what species of fish, are in each of the habitat types surveyed.
The August Tolt steelhead snorkel was performed on the 13th. Consistent with the July findings, snorkelers documented very low numbers of adult steelhead in the North Fork and South Fork Tolt index reaches – likely the result of the dry summer we are experiencing.
Island County Watershed Survey:
Fish distribution and species composition surveys in Maxwelton watershed on Whidbey Island and in Chapman watershed on Camano Island were completed in June – Washington Trout is now creating a GIS using those data. Washington Trout’s Field Biologist Mary Lou White and Director of Science and Research Jamie Glasgow presented the fish survey results to Island County, Snohomish Conservation District, and Maxwelton Salmon Adventure representatives. Washington Trout is now performing qualitative habitat surveys in the portions of the two watersheds where access has been granted by landowners. Aerial photographs, elevation models, and other remote data sources will be used to characterize habitat condition where Washington Trout crews do not have permission to access. The fish, habitat, and eventual fish passage and spawning survey data will be used to identify and prioritize opportunities to restore channel processes in the two Island County watersheds.
In August, Washington Trout’s Executive Director Kurt Beardslee and Conservation Biologist Micah Wait traveled to the Middle Fork Boise River basin near Atlanta, Idaho to attend the annual meeting of the Salvelinus confluentus Curiosity Society (ScCS). The ScCS is an informal group of managers, researchers, and other who are interested in Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) conservation. The meeting consisted of two half days of workshops and one day of field activities. Topics covered during the workshops included the ecology of bull trout in marine waters and the management of nonnative species that adversely affect bull trout.
Currently, nonnative species are managed in a reactive way, through eradications and attempts to slow their spread. Yet, exotic species are still regularly stocked in watersheds that are home to threatened and endangered native species. WT would like to see changes in the policies that allow for the introduction of nonnative species such as brook trout into watersheds that are habitats for federally listed bull trout. Brook trout decrease the genetic viability of a bull trout population through hybridization, and also affect a population by preying upon juveniles and competing with bull trout for habitat and food resources. While in the field, Beardslee came face to face with the sterile product of a cross between brook trout and bull trout while snorkeling in the pristine habitat of the upper mainstem of Middle Fork of the Boise River. Wait spent the day collecting genetic samples and expanding the known range of bull trout in Decker Creek, a tributary to the Yuba River, also in the Middle Fork Boise River basin. Recent fires in the area brought new issues to light for Beardslee and Wait, and these, along with an expansion of the exotic species management discussion, will be touched upon in an article about the ScCS meeting in the next WT newsletter.
Micah Wait and a team of biologists from the Rocky Mountain Research Station, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Burns Paiute Tribe head into the Decker Creek watershed to sample Bull Trout. The Decker Creek watershed burned completely in 2000, but the Bull Trout population is doing well and the fire has provided an abundance of large woody debris to the system.
On August 1, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife accepted public comments regarding 79 salmon and steelhead Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) developed by WDFW for submission to the National Marine Fisheries Service. NMFS will review the HGMPs to determine whether state hatcheries in Puget Sound can operate with ESA authorization.
Washington Trout prepared and submitted comments regarding HGMPs for WDFW’s chinook, coho, and steelhead hatchery programs in Puget Sound. The comments reflect several general concerns that we identified throughout all or many of the documents. These include:
· The HGMPs fail to adequately define clear program goals, justifications, or performance standards and indicators, and do not describe any detailed monitoring and evaluation protocols or timetables;
· A number of erroneous and/or unsupported assumptions run throughout the HGMPs;
· Many of the HGMPs contain critical deficiencies and omissions;
· There is a consistent failure to quantify, as required, the estimated take of listed Puget Sound chinook;
· The overall size of the chinook hatchery program in Puget Sound is far too large with respect to any reasonable “acceptable levels” of competition, predation, and related genetic and ecological impacts upon indigenous wild chinook;
· The overall size of the coho and steelhead hatchery programs in Puget Sound are far too large with respect to any reasonable “acceptable levels” of competition, predation, and ecological impacts upon indigenous wild chinook;
· The HGMPs are often in direct conflict with critical elements of WDFW’s own Wild Salmonid Policy.
The HGMP process is intended to determine if individual hatchery programs can be operated without unduly threatening chinook recovery, by evaluating several broad factors and weighing them against each other. The benefits from a particular hatchery program and specific proposals to minimize risks and monitor impacts to listed chinook can be compared against the current health of the affected population and the potential for the program to harm wild chinook.
Unfortunately, the information provided by WDFW that would address these factors is cursory, vague, and often inappropriate. The HGMPs rely on assertions that various practices will minimize adverse effects, without any explication, citation, or other support. Available evidence that challenges or contradicts these assertions is rarely if ever acknowledged or addressed. Levels of risk are consistently ignored, discounted, or acknowledged as unknown. The HGMPs don’t commit to any readily identifiable, measurable performance standards or indicators, and no program-specific monitoring plans or timetables are identified or described for meeting performance standards or reducing impacts. While acknowledging the problems, WDFW fails to address how individual hatchery programs are harming listed chinook through competition, displacement, and predation in juvenile life stages, and through competition and spawning interactions during adult life stages. The HGMPs do not adequately describe or quantify program benefits.
Washington Trout’s comments reflect our concern that the overall scope and scale of the Puget Sound hatchery program is simply too large to responsibly accommodate the level of uncertainty presented in the HGMPs. We offered recommendations where appropriate, and references that support the comments and recommendations. WT believes the HGMPs are inadequate to warrant ESA authorization, and suggested that WDFW withdraw many of the applications for significant revision, if it can provide the necessary information. If the necessary information is unavailable at this time, we suggested that WDFW reconsider some of the particular programs, either discontinuing or significantly scaling them back until it can provide the pertinent information.
In mid October WDFW will publish substantive responses to all comments received during the public-comment period. The comments and responses will be submitted to NMFS for review with the HGMPs. This process is intended to ensure that each HGMP is as thorough, accurate, and as biologically and legally credible as possible, make hatchery management more transparent, engage the interested public, and influence needed improvements in current hatchery practices.
Background information about Washington Trout and Native Fish Society’s chinook and coho/steelhead lawsuits, the WT/NFS/WDFW Settlement Agreement, and Washington Trout’s comments on the Puget Sound HGMPs are available on WT’s website: www.washingtontrout.org/pugetsoundhatcheries.shtml.
EPA Director of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds Meets with Tolt Fish Habitat Restoration Group:
On Tuesday July 15th, the Director of the EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds Diane Regas, Deputy Director Craig Hooks, and several representatives from the EPA Region 10 office met with several members of the Tolt Fish Habitat Restoration Group (TFHRG) at Washington Trout’s main office in Duvall, WA. Regas and Hooks were visiting the area, spent several days in the Region 10 office, and wanted the opportunity to get out in the field to see what watershed groups were doing to protect water quality and fish resources.
Representatives of the TFHRG present at the EPA meeting were WT’s Executive Director and TFHRG co-chair Kurt Beardslee, WT Director of Science and Research Jamie Glasgow, and Seattle City Light Fisheries Biologist and TFRHG co-chair Elizabeth Ablow. The TFHRG was the only organization that Regas and Hooks visited during their time in the area.
Regas, Hooks, and EPA representatives from Region 10 met in the WT office to discuss TFRHG projects and what the group thought was needed for water quality protection. They were then taken to a project that is currently in the design phase – a proposed lower Tolt River levy setback that is intended to restore some of the natural riverine processes to the lower mainstem Tolt.
The EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds works with government agencies and the public to protect and restore the nation’s watersheds. It was an honor for the Tolt Fish Habitat Restoration Group to have been selected among the many worthy watershed organizations and to have had direct contact with a representative at that level.
The TFHRG is a broad-based watershed organization that focuses on water quality, habitat restoration and fish-recovery issues throughout the Tolt River Basin. Its members include: King County Biosolids, King County Rivers, King County Watersheds, Seattle City Light Environment and Safety Division, Seattle Public Utilities, Tulalip Tribes, Washington State Dept. of Ecology, Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources, Washington Trout, Weyerhaeuser, US Army Reserves, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Forest Service, and the University of Washington.
This September and October, one hundred 4th and 5th grade students will learn about the importance of native plants, native animals, and healthy ecosystems by participating in the Environmental Discovery Program, a joint educational project of Washington Trout and Stewardship Partners. The EDP is a hands-on, classroom and field-based environmental education program originally developed by Stewardship Partners that brings 4th and 5th grade students from Seattle and the surrounding areas out to Oxbow Farm, an organic farm located between Duvall and Carnation on SR 203.
The program has both a fall and spring season and was offered last year as a pilot program. WT Outreach Coordinator Leah Hausman has been involved as an instructor since the first season and is now the Program Coordinator for the EDP.
The program consists of full day field trip to Oxbow Farm, a pre-field trip classroom visit, and a follow-up classroom visit. The Environmental Discovery Program is all about “discovering” the outdoors, and students take advantage of the two classroom visits and wonderful farm setting to learn about native plants and animals, go exploring on guided nature hikes, and awaken their appreciation for the great outdoors.
EPA’s Smog Proposal Meets with Opposition:
On June 2nd, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its plan to implement a 1997 8-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard. The 8-hour ozone standard was developed to be a more protective standard than the current 1-hour standard. However, the implementation proposal contains language that would actually weaken existing ozone protection measures. A coalition of clean air organizations have come together to oppose the implementation plan – Clean Air Task Force, American Lung Association, Conservation Law Foundation, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Environmental Law Center, and the US Public Interest Research Group. In an August 1st press release the coalition focused on several areas of concern with the EPA proposal including:
This move by the EPA comes at a time when “code red” smog alert days are back on the rise in 35 states and the District of Columbia. On June 27th, the EPA held a public hearing on the implementation proposal and there was a public comment period which ended on August 1st. More information can be found on the coalition members’ websites. The full press release and background information are at www.earthjustice.org/news/display.html?ID=656.
Washington Trout and Timber Creek cordially invite you to attend Visions of Nature, a benefit art show presenting works from regional and national artists, with proceeds benefiting Washington Trout’s wild fish recovery programs. The show will be held at Timber Creek, a Redmond gallery that specializes in fine art and country living accessories. Visions of Nature will feature the works of Gill Sanders, John Austin Hanna, Nancy Glazier, Tim Harris, and Tanya Hill. The show begins with an artist reception on Saturday October 18th from 2-6pm and runs through Sunday November 8th.
These artists capture their personal ‘vision of nature’ through oils, pastels, prints, and wood carvings and have earned reputations for excellence within their fields. Tanya Hill’s work was recently described by renowned environmentalist and author David Foreman as “fascinating and intriguing; capturing the spirit of the wilderness.” Al Agnew of Wildlife Art News says of Gill Sander’s hand-carved wood trout, "The wood carvings of artists such as Gill Sanders do not rely upon colors and scale patterns to make the finny creatures look alive; that flowing efficient body form is an artistic statement in itself." Many of the participating artists will be present at the reception on Saturday, October 18th.
Please join Washington Trout and Timber Creek at the artist reception and throughout the show. We hope that the Visions of Nature show will inspire you to bring a glimpse of the wild home with you and help protect the future of our wild salmon, trout, and char.
Timber Creek is a unique shop of Wildlife and Western artwork, home furnishings and gifts. The store is located in two historic log structures that have been renovated to house a most unusual collection of log furniture, Native American artwork, antiques and fine art and limited editions by such renowned artists as Gill Sanders, Nancy Glazier, John Austin Hanna, Martin Grelle and Robert Bateman. There is also a sizeable collection of original photogravuers by Edward S. Curtis. Garden ironwork, steel sculpture, woodcarvings, soapstone carvings, and handthrown pottery are among the unique gift items that owner, Rob Rose has assembled.
"My inspiration has always been nature;" says Rose, who is also a Park Ranger with the National Park Service. "The most moving moments of my life have been watching bugling elk, climbing snow -capped peaks, watching a grizzly and her cub, riding my horse on a forest trail, releasing a beautiful rainbow trout caught on a dry fly.... But these are just moments in our lives, so if I can evoke that spirit in my home by surrounding myself with things that capture moments like these, my life is just a little bit richer." "I hope that the remarkable talent of these artists will help you recall those special moments and renew your commitment to preserving our vanishing wilderness."
Washington Trout is a nonprofit conservation-ecology organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of Washington’s wild fish and their critical habitats. WT depends on support from our members and fundraising events like this. A portion of the proceeds from the show will go to support Washington Trout’s habitat restoration, research, advocacy, and community outreach programs. Visions of Nature will be held at Timber Creek, located at 25629 NE Redmond-Fall City Rd, Redmond, WA 98053. Timber Creek is open Friday & Saturday 11am - 6pm and Sunday 12-6pm.
Maplewood's K-8 6th grade classroom is looking for a variety of insect specimen that salmon eat. If someone has a dusty collection in the basement that could use a new home or members that are willing to collect while fishing it would be much appreciated. We are looking for at least 27 specimen so each student has one to study. They will be used in a science rotation and an art rotation every year. This request was submitted by Mona Fairbanks, a parent volunteer with Maplewood, a parent-coop, public school. Ms. Fairbanks is the art teacher and loves to coordinate activities with the science class. If you are interesting in helping kids get bugs, or know someone else who might, please contact Mona Fairbanks at #425-771-5370.
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 event you would like mentioned in Wild Fish Runs or on the website!
Washington Trout has a Don Hill 16 Foot Custom Guide Wood Drift Boat (Model 16ST) for sale. The boat is in like-new condition and has never been in the water. This model is described by Don Hill as the “best all-round boat.”
The hull is constructed of a single piece of ¼ inch marine plywood with a one-piece ½ inch marine plywood bottom with a custom epoxy finish. It is built with a removable front deck and knee brace, ½ inch floorboards and a sliding front seat for load balance. The chines, battens, stem and handrails are of the finest grade oak, and ribs and seats are made of clear vertical grain fir. WT’s comes with the optional front storage seat, front gear brace with deck, custom rear seat, and its own trailer.
All profits from the sale of this boat go to help fund Washington Trout’s wild fish recovery programs.
With an original price of $10,020, Washington Trout is selling the boat for the excellent value of $5000. Come see this beautiful craft for yourself, which is parked most days in front of the WT Store at 15629 Main St NE, Duvall, WA 98019. Pictures of the boat are available online at www.washingtontrout.org/driftboat.shtml. Please inquire on the boat by stopping by the store, calling us at 425-788-1167, or emailing email@example.com. You can also find out more information on the boat’s manufacturing at Don Hill River Boats.
It is that time of year again when employees have the option of directing their designating United Way dollars to the nonprofit organizations of their choice. We hope you will remember to write in “Washington Trout” in the designated giving section on your donation form. Since Washington Trout is not a United Way member agency, we do not receive any funding from the Community Safety Net fund unless individuals designate their gifts to Washington Trout. If you have any questions, please contact Leah Hausman: 425-788-1167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shop the WT Store and Support Salmon Recovery:
The WT Store is a fun way to open up the front of our office and make a space where people can come in, learn about Washington Trout, and buy something with the knowledge that all proceeds go to support WT. We have been trying to expand our inventory, bringing in new items and product lines that we think you and your family will enjoy.
We have a wide variety of items to appeal to adults, kids, and kids-at-heart: puppets; stuffed animals; scientific games and kits; tools to explore the outdoors; books to educate and entertain all age levels; Burt’s Bees and Bunny’s Bath personal products; art prints by Joseph Tomelleri, Tanya Hill, Jean Ferrier and original pastels by Tim Harris; chocolate; candles; computer map programs; cards; calendars; treats and gifts for your dog or cat; and of course, WT logo hats, fleece and travel coffee mugs.
The WT Store is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm. We are located on SR 203 at 15629 Main St NE in Duvall, WA. If you need directions to the store, please call 425-788-1167 or email email@example.com.
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.
WellSpent.Org is another great source for online shopping. WellSpent.org has thousands of products - including electronics, software, computers, tools, appliances, camping gear and much more - available at discount prices. Every purchase you make generates a donation for the non-profit cause of your choice. So visit http://www.wellspent.org/, search for Washington Trout, and help yourself to some great gifts - you'll be helping us, too!