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

Fish migrate into upper Elwha River for first time in century – PDN

And so nature continues to heal itself, with a bit of dynamite help from us.

Fish have migrated into the upper Elwha River for the first time in a century.  Olympic National Park biologists confirmed last week that two radio-tagged bull trout had migrated from the lower river through the former area of Glines Canyon Dam and reached at least as far as Rica Canyon above the former Lake Mills, some 15½ miles from the mouth of the Elwha River.  Four bull trout had been detected earlier as they passed a telemetry station upriver from the former Glines dam.  Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Read the rest of the story at

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140907/NEWS/309079918/fish-migrate-into-upper-elwha-river-for-first-time-in-century

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the PDN.

Agencies review Puget Sound hatchery plans – Tacoma News Tribune

This has been a highly contentious issue, with lawsuits by environmental groups trying to stop all hatchery releases and the sports fishermen and the Tribes opposed to that. The environmental groups have very solid science showing that when you compare rivers like the Skagit and the declines over 70 years to almost no steelhead, with similar rivers in Oregon, like the Umpqua, which have seen virtually no change in steelhead production over the same period in time with no hatchery fish released, it begs the question of ‘why not ban all hatchery fish for a 10 year period?” The courts seem inclined to go along with that arguement. For some of the Tribes and the sports fishermen, it  seems as if science doesn’t matter, and that they want to fish to the last wild fish. They may get their wish. As one scientist said at hearings in Olympia on this last spring, “Without wild steelhead, you will not have hatchery fish.” So if you lose the wild run, it’s game over. 

How Puget Sound fish hatcheries will operate in the future could be determined by an environmental impact statement now being developed. As part of that process, NOAA Fisheries is holding public workshops this week to discuss the draft environmental impact statement that assesses alternative operations of salmon and steelhead hatcheries around the Sound. The proposed action alternative in the draft would operate hatcheries under two state and tribal resource management plans developed jointly by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Puget Sound treaty tribes, according to a NOAA news release. The proposed action would maintain hatchery production at current levels. Jeffrey P. Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/09/03/3359645_agencies-review-puget-sound-hatchery.html

Update on the Elwha Dam Removal – PDN

Report on the river now that the final dam has been blasted away. Still some cleanup but the end is in sight. 

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140828/NEWS/308289985/now-that-the-dam-is-gone-debris-lingers-on-the-newly-freed-elwha

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