Columbia River salmon fishing closed.

OLYMPIA – Starting Thursday (Sept. 13), fishing for salmon will be closed on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Hwy 395 in Pasco under new rules approved today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon

Deep River in Washington and other tributaries in Oregon (Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough) are also closed to salmon and steelhead angling.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) already prohibited steelhead retention in much of the same area of the Columbia River several weeks ago, and the new emergency rule closes angling for both salmon and steelhead in those waters as well.

Bill Tweit, Columbia River fishery coordinator for WDFW, said the counts of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam are 29 percent below preseason forecasts, and on-going fisheries are approaching the allowable catch limits under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

“We recognize that this closure is difficult for anglers, but we have an obligation to meet our ESA goals so that fisheries can continue in the future,” he said.

Tweit said the upriver fall chinook run provides the bulk of the harvest opportunity for fall fisheries, but that returns in recent years has been declining due to unfavorable ocean conditions. The preseason forecast for this year is 47 percent of the 10-year average return of upriver bright fall chinook.

The new emergency fishing rule is posted on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Pesticides and salmon: Can we see a light at the end of the tunnel? – Watching Our Water Ways

Once again, the National Marine Fisheries Service has determined in official findings that three common pesticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — raise the risk of extinction for threatened and endangered salmon. By extension, for the first time, the agency also concluded that those same pesticides threaten Puget Sound’s endangered orca population by putting their prey — chinook and other salmon — at risk. This politically and legally charged issue — which has been around for more than 15 years — has gone beyond a debate over potential harm from pesticides. It also raises uncomfortable questions about whether our society will follow science as we try to solve environmental problems. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2018/01/16/pesticides-and-salmon-can-we-see-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel/

Coho salmon jumping Salmon Cascades on the Solduc River – by John Gussman

Take two minutes to watch this. This is one of the reasons we are fighting against net pens and for wild rivers and our wild salmon, while we still have them. Thanks to John Gussman for shooting and sharing this.

 

Governor’s Results Washington Initiative – Environment and Puget Sound Recovery

Governor Inslee has as program called “Results Washington” One of it’s goals is to restore Puget Sound. Here’s a very good video on the reporting on September 27, 2017 to the Governor on progress and areas where we need to improve. Worth the watch if you are involved in work to help restore the Sound.

Sustainable Energy/Clean Environment — Welcome and agenda review, Governor’s opening remarks, Alignment of Puget Sound Recovery & Results Washington (protection/recovery of shellfish beds/habitat, pollution prevention from storm water runoff), Strategies and challenges for collective, cross-sector efforts to recover the Puget Sound ecosystem, closing comments.

Watch it here:   https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2017091075

http://www.results.wa.gov/sites/default/files/G3%20Agenda%202017-09-27%20%28Governor%27s%20Results%20Review%29.pdf

An excellent overview of the state of the salmon in Puget Sound

Chris Dunagan is one of the best reporters in the Pacific NW covering the Salish Sea. Here’s a great overview of the state of the salmon.

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

In recent decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. In this article, we look at how scientists are gauging their progress. Are environmental conditions improving or getting worse? The answer may depend on where you look and who you ask. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/is/salmon-recovery

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules – AP

Ah yes, some of the folks in Eastern Washington and Idaho, people who’s livelihood was created by the tax payer funded dam projects that irrigated the dry eastern side of our state are back wanting the Feds to kill off the remaining runs of salmon for their short term benefits. These people, who have continued to complain for decades about the intrusion of the very government that created the dams and their farms, now wants it’s help again. This time to overrule the laws that protect our remaining runs of salmon. One of the big supporters of these folks has been Rush Limbaugh, among other radical right wing folks. You can bet your bottom dollar that if this committee ever comes to fruition, there will be not a single environmental representative on it.

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-administration-urged-to-avoid-salmon-protection-rules/

Thoughts on Salmon– Saving them, catching them

This week’s editorial by People For Puget Sound’s Tom Bancroft, addresses the question, “Is Salmon Extinction the Option?”

How are salmon doing in Puget Sound?  Turns out, Chinook salmon are not doing too well according to a report recently released by NOAA, not any better now than 10 years ago when salmon species in Puget Sound were listed on the Endangered Species List. NOAA’s recent report highlights that we are still losing more habitat than restoring and have not addressed toxic pollutant runoff to a sufficient level to reverse the adverse effects of toxic pollutants on fish survival.

The causes are many. Growing population around the Sound, destruction of salmon habitat, sometimes by people with the best of intentions, sometimes by raw greed, sometimes by lack of regulations and sometimes by lack of enforcement of the regulations. A century of storm water runoff that will take a century more to fix. And lets’ not forget that all major sewage systems, even treated, are dumped into the Sound.

It’s not enough to say that we want to save the salmon, a huge public resource that could have been managed for generations to come to have low cost protein, but we have squandered that opportunity decades ago, and now it’s time to do what we can to bring them back.

The Good News:

Watching the salmon derby winners on the Strait of Juan de Fuca bring in good sized fish, really huge for these days, In Gardiner, in February, 18 to 20 lb fish were caught, in Anacortes 16 to 18lb fish were caught, and in B.C. at the Juan de Fuca derby outside of Victoria, the top fish was 40 lbs, and the top ten all topped 25! This derby has raised over $200k (Canadian) to support salmon enhancement activities.

The study by NOAA that Tom mentions in his blog, states that “The Co-Managers (the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Puget Sound Treaty Tribes, collectively) met or exceeded the harvest management performance measures required in the 2004 Harvest Management Plan.

But there are deep concerns, the study states:

  • Habitat is still declining.
  • Habitat protection still needs improvement
  • Habitat restoration is heavily tilted towards capital intensive projects (think Elwha Dam).
  • Funding levels are inadequate to achieve restoration of Chinook populations.
  • Staffing for core programs remains insufficient.
  • There is no process in place to recognize changes that are being made to recovery plan strategies as implementation proceeds. 
  • The Hatchery programs remain critically underfunded.

How big could Chinook get? In 2008 a California Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist found what is thought to be the largest Chinook in modern times. It had spawned and died, and it’s body was found.

chinook-giant-salmon-battle-creek-1-emailsize

Unaltered photo of actual Chinook body found in California in 2008. Notice the kind of habitat behind them. It’s not developed.

Your support in helping local officials and non profits that are working to achieve these goals, including adoption of strong Shoreline Master Programs and Critical Areas Ordinances go a long way to helping protect our remaining salmon habitat and someday possibly seeing Chinook such as this in our Olympic Peninsula streams. 

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