Strong pink salmon run expected in 2015, as well as chinook in the ocean and Columbia River – Olympian

Good news for Chinook, less so for Coho.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife Monday in Olympia released the forecasts for salmon runs in Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean and Columbia River.… Slightly more than 900,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River this year. That would be the third largest run on record since 1938, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator. The ocean abundance of Columbia River coho this year is expected to be nearly 777,000 fish, down from 964,000 last year. Jeffrey P. Mayor reports. (Olympian)

http://www.theolympian.com/2015/03/02/3603215_state-salmon-forecst-meeting-underway.html

Puget Sound salmon face more ups and downs in river flows – Phys.org

Good news and concerning news from some recent science.

Many salmon rivers around Puget Sound have experienced increasing fluctuations in flow over the past 60 years, just as climate change projections predict – and that’s unfortunate news for threatened Chinook salmon, according to a new analysis of salmon survival and river flow. More pronounced fluctuations in flow can scour away salmon eggs and exhaust young fish, especially when lower flows force adult fish to lay eggs in more exposed areas in the center of the channel. The new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology says such increased flow variability has the most negative effect on salmon populations of several climate factors considered. (Phys.org)

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-puget-salmon-ups-downs-river.html

Chinook salmon could be wiped out by 2100, new study claims -CBC

Whether or not this research is correct, the general trend does not look good for Chinook. On the Dungeness River, for example, even with 25 years of recovery work, they are not seeing Chinook return as expected. In Canada, the huge growth of Vancouver, the vast clear-cutting and mining going on in spawning streams coupled with a lack of any enforcement in protecting those streams and rivers  seems to be a precursor to the kind of destruction of habitat as Western Washington witnessed a few decades ago.

New climate-change research involving a University of British Columbia scientist predicts that one of the West Coast’s most prized salmon stocks could be wiped out over the next 85 years. A study has concluded that there is a five per cent chance of a catastrophic loss of the chinook salmon by 2075, and a 98 per cent chance the population will suffer catastrophic losses by 2100, if climate change warms the water. An international research team looked at the ability by the chinook to adapt to warming water temperatures caused by climate change. (Canadian Press)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/chinook-salmon-could-be-wiped-out-by-2100-new-study-claims-1.2881635

Dungeness watershed projects get a funding boost – Sequim Gazette

And closer to home (from the previous article), work being done by the Dungeness River Management Team which includes a diverse group of people (including Tribes) to push forward to keep restoring the lower portions of the Dungeness.

Efforts at the Dungeness River watershed to reduce flood risk, conserve water and restore habitat will push forward into next year after receiving $7.5 million in state funding through the Floodplains By Design initiative. The grant administered by Adam Sant for the Washington Department of Ecology allows for officials with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Clallam Conservation District, Clallam County and the North Olympic Lead Entity for Salmon to continue their collaborative work on the lower Dungeness restoration project. (Sequim Gazette)

 http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/284687621.html

For background on this, I was commissioned to produce a video on the overall work of the DRMT by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe last year. If you want to see it, go to their site, and choose either the long or short version from the right hand side.

http://home.olympus.net/~dungenesswc/

Lyre River Property Purchased for Conservation Area

Great news from the North Olympic Land Trust. If you have not been to the Lyre, it’s a beautiful small river out west of PA.
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A 280-acre property that is important to several salmon species and wildlife will be permanently conserved, thanks to its recent purchase by North Olympic Land Trust. The property abuts the Lyre River on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 20 miles west of Port Angeles. This property features an important estuary at the mouth of the Lyre River, streams, wetlands, tidelands, kelp beds and bluff-backed beaches. It also includes a large upland area with a diverse forest at various ages of growth.

“The Land Trust has been working with community partners for years to conserve this property,” said North Olympic Land Trust Board President Karen Westwood of Sequim. “This is the largest land protection project in the Land Trust’s almost 25-year history and will be a terrific place for the community to enjoy local forests and shoreline.”

The Land Trust and local partners bought the property with grants from the state’s Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Fund, Marine Shoreline Protection Fund, and Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program. The Land Trust also contributed its own money. The previous land owner has also provided a donation to pay for ongoing stewardship of the property. Critical partners include the North Olympic Peninsula Lead Entity, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Puget Sound Partnership, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the Makah Tribe.

This project was ranked eighth among regional large-scale capital projects for 2013-15 PSAR funding by the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council. This ranking was based on impact to salmon recovery, project readiness, and how the individual project would advance Puget Sound Action Agenda targets.

Planning is underway for the use of the property. Visitors will be able to park about a mile from the beach and walk in from there. Visitors can enjoy day-use activities such as birdwatching, wildlife viewing, surfing, picnicking, and beach walking. The area will be closed to all motor vehicles.

This property purchase is a win not only for the community, but also for the mission of the Land Trust: conservation of open spaces, local food, local resources, healthy watersheds and recreational opportunities. Long-term goals of the Land Trust are to conserve lands that sustain the ecological and economic vitality of the communities of Clallam County.

The Lyre property includes the 3,000th acre that the Land Trust has conserved in Clallam County. This property will join other areas permanently conserved by the Land Trust through ownership, including properties on Elk Creek, Siebert Creek, and the Pysht River. The Land Trust also conserves land through voluntary conservation easements with private landowners. These agreements are in place on properties across the county, from the Bogachiel River to the Miller Peninsula.

This purchase pushes the value of total land conservation by the Land Trust to more than $14 million since 2007. For every unrestricted dollar donated by supporters to run the Land Trust, the organization has conserved $16 of land in Clallam County.

Record North Pacific temperatures threatening B.C. marine species – CBC

Global warming continues, with no concensus by the leaders of the planet to do anything quickly, if at all. The recent agreement between the US and China won’t do anything for decades, if it even is acted on by our Congress, which is unlikely.

The North Pacific Ocean is setting record high temperatures this year and raising concerns about the potential impact on cold water marine species along the B.C. coast, including salmon. Ocean surface temperatures around the world this year reached the highest temperature ever recorded, due in large part to the normally chilly North Pacific, which was three to four degrees above average — far beyond any recorded value. Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the warmth along the North Pacific coast is very unusual. (CBC)

 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/record-north-pacific-temperatures-threatening-b-c-marine-species-1.2845662

Death by dirty water: Storm runoff a risk for fish  – Bellingham Herald

As if you needed to better understand the importance of rain gardens, stormwater runoff and salmon, after my last post, here’s the next thing in my inbox. Another recent experiment that shows the affects that stormwater has on aquatic species.

Just hours into the experiment, the prognosis was grim for salmon that had been submerged in rain runoff collected from one of Seattle’s busiest highways. One by one, the fish were removed from a tank filled with coffee-colored water and inspected: They were rigid. Their typically red gills were gray….. This was the fate of coho salmon exposed to the everyday toxic brew of dirt, metals, oil and other gunk that washes off highway pavement after rains and directly into Puget Sound. Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/11/16/3977239_scientists-study-stormwater-deadly.html

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