New viruses discovered in endangered wild Pacific salmon populations | UBC Science – Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia

As if we needed another problem for our dwindling salmon stocks to face, now this.

New viruses discovered in endangered wild Pacific salmon populations
— Read on science.ubc.ca/news/new-viruses-discovered-endangered-wild-pacific-salmon-populations

Pink salmon numbers may threaten other North Pacific species – AP

The pieces to the salmon puzzle continue to come in from the various angles of research being done. The scientists in this article don’t claim to be have the sole answer but are raising questions that run counter to the narrative that the hatchery supporters want to tell. This is healthy debate and given the stakes for our last great fishery, are worth putting more money into determining whether these root causes or not.

Biological oceanographer Sonia Batten experienced her lightbulb moment on the perils of too many salmon three years ago as she prepared a talk on the most important North Pacific seafood you’ll never see on a plate — zooplankton.

https://www.apnews.com/e589a757f4fd48869af6e17845c5c857

And this follow up story showed up from KUOW

‘Slowly slipping away.’ Fewest sockeye salmon ever counted at Ballard Locks

Sockeye salmon are returning to Lake Washington in the smallest numbers since record-keeping started.

As of early August, 17,000 sockeye had returned from the ocean, compared to hundreds of thousands inat their peak years.

https://kuow.org/stories/slowly-slipping-away-sockeye-numbers-at-ballard-locks-reach-record-lows

COHO SALMON FOUND IN LAKE SUTHERLAND – NW Treaty Tribes

The good news keeps coming. Wild coho have found mixing with fix that had been moved into and out of the hatchery during the dam removal.

During the tribe’s annual monitoring of Indian Creek, which connects Lake Sutherland to the Elwha River, the tribe found smolts up to 10 inches long in the tribe’s fyke net. Coho smolts are typically half that size.

Read the rest of the story here:

https://nwtreatytribes.org/coho-salmon-found-in-lake-sutherland/

Washington state to regulate federal dams on Columbia, Snake to cool hot water, aid salmon – Seattle Times

In a move that might be the beginning of the State finally deciding that they are going to need to manage the Columbia River dams, this has been announced.That our state has been ignoring the temperatures in the Snake and Columbia for decades while billions of salmon fry and mature salmon have perished is another block in the wall of shame that has led us to this point.

Dams and climate change are the leading cause of high temperatures in the Columbia and Snake rivers that are killing salmon, according to an EPA draft analysis. Now the state wants to get involved.

And to drive home the point of the Lower Snake River Dams (LSRDs) let’s review the information that has been put together by DamSense.org

The 4 LSRD’s have a benefit to cost ratio of 15¢ on the dollar, forego about 4,000 jobs and $500 million in direct expenditures and about $20 million per year that could go to State School budgets, when compared to the benefits of a free flowing river.
The cost of producing power (that is surplus and rarely available for meeting peak demands) adds significant pressure to BPA’s dire financial situation causing rate increases and diverts funds from other dams and restoration work. In the last 93,000 hours of production, the 4 LSRDs produced only 2 hours of power needed by BPA customers.

…The 4LSRDs provide no flood protection. Irrigation to a small number of farms on Ice Harbor pool can easily be upgraded as a mitigation feature of breaching.

Inland waterborne transport on the lower snake of wheat has declined significantly over the last 10 years as Washington State (through its grain shuttle service) and farmers are finding it cheaper to ship by rail. Petroleum shipments up the lower Snake virtually ceased several years ago with the only remaining terminal located at mile 1 on the lower Snake River which is NOT impacted by breaching of the 4LSRD’s

Prepared by J Waddell, Civil Engineer, PE, USACE Retired

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/washington-state-to-regulate-federal-dams-on-columbia-snake-to-cool-hot-water-check-pollution/

 

State discusses killing seals and sea lions in Puget Sound

Perhaps the most controversial idea out of the Orca task force has been the notion of killing sea lions and seals to help salmon survive. Like many ideas, this one is simplistic and has the greatest appeal to people who don’t want to spend much time thinking about whether something works or just makes you feel like you are doing something. Fish and Wildlife are holding meetings to gather information on whether or not this really is an idea with merit. Biologists who study the food chain aren’t so sure. If you think you already know the answer, then you should read this article. “There is no guarantee of a response by the salmon in terms of returning adults.” And you know what an assumption is, it’s a word made up of and makes an “ass of u and me”. Let’s put the science of this in it’s rightful place, which is at the head of the train and not tow it along in our ill informed wake.

State wildlife commissioners heard testimony Friday about whether a seal and sea lion cull could help save salmon, and thereby restore food to the starving Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW)…. “It’s important to set the stage that this occurs in a very complex ecosystem and it is a very complex food web,” said WDFW Research Scientist Scott Pearson…. “If you want a 25 percent reduction in the total juvenile Chinook consumption by seals, we have to reduce this number of 19,000 seals down to 14,300. If you subtract this number from this number, that’s how many we have to remove 4,700 seals, and we have to annually remove 530 seals per year to keep it at that level,” Pearson said. But the problem is, salmon also face a slew of other challenges, including hydropower, hatcheries, habitat, disease, and contaminants. Scientists told commissioners they don’t know whether killing seals and sea lions will do anything at all…. “In my opinion, even if the seal consumption were somehow reduced or eliminated, there is no guarantee of a response by the salmon in terms of returning adults,” said WDFW Research Scientist Joe Anderson. Alison Morrow reports. (KING) See also: Puget Sound resident orcas limited by social behavior  Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

State discusses killing seals and sea lions in Puget Sound 

PSI COLLABORATOR RECEIVES NSF GRANT TO STUDY COHO DEATHS – Puget Sound Institute

Good news. A grant has been awarded to do deeper research into road runoff and how it kills salmon. It will include citizen scientists to help find the specimens and alert the researchers to die offs.

PSI collaborator Ed Kolodziej has received a $330,000 National Science Foundation grant to expand his research on toxic pollutants in Puget Sound. Kolodziej’s project will identify chemicals in stormwater that are killing coho salmon and endangering some spawning runs. The project includes a collaboration with citizen scientists who will alert project members to salmon die-offs as they are happening. Kolodziej’s team will then collect water and tissue samples from these sites that they will analyze using at the labs of PSI’s parent group the Center for Urban Waters.

Read the full story here:

https://www.pugetsoundinstitute.org/2018/08/psi-collaborator-receives-nsf-grant-to-study-coho-deaths/?utm_campaign=grants-and-funding&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

Chef Renee Erickson pulls king salmon from menu after learning of starving orcas – KUOW

It seems there is something happening, right now. I called for looking into a moratorium on chinook harvest in the Salish Sea and just off the coast, and now (totally separate from my article) Canadian environmentalists and a restaurant in Seattle are also calling for a  halt for the demand for Salish Sea chinook. I’m reaching out to a Seattle fisheries expert who claims it won’t matter. We’ll see if he has time to help me and you understand why.  More to follow.

A Seattle restaurateur has stopped offering chinook salmon at her restaurants. Renee Erickson, chef and owner of a group of restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, said she made the decision after learning about the plight of J50, the young, ailing orca whale.

http://kuow.org/stories/chef-renee-erickson-pulls-king-salmon-from-menu-after-learning-of-starving-orcas

and

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-chef-renee-erickson-takes-chinook-salmon-off-menus-to-help-ailing-puget-sound-orcas/

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon spawn fierce debate over protecting endangered species, thanks to a single gene-Science Magazine

interesting news…big possible impacts for dam removal projects.

…Researchers had concluded that the Klamath’s spring-run Chinook are genetically similar to fall-run Chinook.

New research findings, however, are forcing scientists and federal officials to revisit that decision. In 2017, researchers announced that they’d identified a single gene that appears to control whether Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead, a closely related species of rainbow trout, migrate upriver before or after reaching sexual maturity. They concluded that the genetic change that produced spring-run Chinook occurred only once in the species’s history.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/salmon-spawn-fierce-debate-over-protecting-endangered-species-thanks-single-gene

Thousands more trees planted on Tarboo Creek during Plant-A-Thon – PDN

In one day, 180 volunteers planted 4,300 native trees and shrubs along Tarboo Creek. The Northwest Watershed Institute’s Plant-A-Thon, an annual event since 2005, was held this year on Feb. 4. Volunteers from area schools worked to restore salmon and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce climate change impacts, by planting 2,300 native trees, and installing 2,000 live stakes of willow and other native shrubs along Tarboo Creek, said Jude Rubin, director of stewardship and public involvement for Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI). The Plant-A-Thon has become the largest environmental service project in East Jefferson County, Rubin said. (Peninsula Daily News)

https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/life/thousands-more-trees-planted-on-tarboo-creek-during-plant-a-thon/

Jimmy Come Lately Salmon Report

Also in from Al (and Cheri) Latham. For those of you not aware of Jimmycomelately creek, it is in Blyn near the Tribal Center for the Jamestown S’Klallam. The Tribe has done a great job of restoring the run at the creek, and maintains a fish trap to count the returning salmon each fall.

Dear Jimmycomelately Creek friends:

It does not look like we will be setting any records at for summer chum returns at Jimmycomelately Creek this year but this is a strong run.  The daily counts have been fluctuating  between 40 and 100 per day with no real change in stream flow – which remains very low.  The count now stands at 2,342 with three or so weeks to go.  Next week I will be able to tell you just how far upstream some of them went. We’ve had quite a few visitors this season and there is still time for more!

jcl-salmon-reportsalmon-on-jcl-sept-2016jimmy-come-lately-sept-2016

State, tribes reach agreement on Puget Sound salmon fishing plan – AP (KOMO News)

State and tribal fishery officials said Thursday that after weeks of negotiations they’ve agreed on a plan that will allow for a 2016-2017 Puget Sound salmon-fishing season. Recreational and non-tribal commercial salmon fishing in Puget Sound has been closed since May 1, after the state and tribes failed to come to an agreement over annual catch limits. That prompted concern that a fishing season might not happen this year. The agreement still needs federal approval, but John Long, salmon fisheries policy lead for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said anglers can start planning to fish for salmon this summer. (Associated Press)

http://komonews.com/news/local/state-tribes-reach-agreement-on-puget-sound-salmon-fishing-plan

Also this more in-depth article, with a silly photo from Alaska, likely.

http://www.capitalberg.com/salmon-season-puget-sound/29327/

Homer writer Eva Saulitis gracefully authored the process of her death – Alaska Dispatch News

A moving piece, combining two things close to my heart. Nature, and death. Nature for the obvious reason, and death for the not so obvious. Having supported a number of people, including my late wife, father, mother and some friends through the process of dying, I feel it to be more of a friend than foe. Here’s a great story about someone I never knew, but hope that this piece brings some peace, and opens new ways of understanding and coping with death. An important part of this story is that Eva felt that she had to escape the hospital. That is exactly what I’ve counseled everyone I’ve been with through this journey. Doctors rarely understand how to do the most Buddhist act of all, which is to surrender. Death is about surrender. Surrendering is power for the dying. It’s allowing a person to have control over and make the decisions about  the one thing  that we have to do on our own, which is  to die.  Our medical society has become a money machine, and medical staff many times don’t have the choice to allow the patient to surrender to death, as it means an end to the revenue stream of the organization. They plead the Hippocratic Oath as a shield rather than a guidepost. There are exceptions, of course. But it’s been my experience that our hospitals work to postpone death to wring every cent from the patient’s insurance.  It is a bad situation, and I’ve seen it in every hospital I’ve been in. Hospice is not often valued as an option, only as a menu choice for those who have a taste for it, never really promoted as a choice.  In America, you have to fight to die as you wish. And even if the patient does fight, often because culturally it’s not acceptable to die, their family fights their decision. We  have a long way back to be able accept death  into our culture.

Writer Eva Saulitis composed her progress toward death as gracefully as one of her poems, right up to her last breath, which she breathed with her family at home in Homer on Saturday afternoon.

Saulitis, 52, wrote in ADN’s We Alaskans about her approaching death from breast cancer in September and in a book she finished on the subject, titled “Becoming Earth,” to be published by Boreal Books.

Read the whole story, by Charles Wohlforth here:

http://www.adn.com/article/20160120/homer-writer-eva-saulitis-gracefully-authored-process-her-death

 

Millions of B.C. salmon mysteriously ‘just disappear’ in troubling year – Globe and Mail

More bad news for our fishing fleets.

Although spawning salmon are still returning to British Columbia’s rivers – including some, surprisingly, to urban streams – early returns indicate another troubling year, despite some bright spots…. There were good sockeye salmon returns to the Great Central Lake system on Vancouver Island and to the Nass River on the North Coast, he said. But contrasting that were very poor returns on the Fraser River, where only about two million sockeye returned, far short of the more than six million predicted in preseason forecasts. Even more dramatic was the collapse of the pink salmon on the Fraser, with only about five million fish showing up when more than 14 million had been forecast. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/millions-of-bc-salmon-mysteriously-disappear-in-troubling-year/article27089342/

UW Study finds stormwater runoff killing salmon and other fish – UW

It seems to me that there has never been a clearer outcome of a study that allows us take simple action to save our salmon runs. Rain gardens anyone?

The long awaited study from the University of Washington on the toxic effects of stormwater runoff from roads is now complete. The study, which has been documented on this web site previously, showed that runoff captured from highway 520 near the Montlake Cut, was lethal enough to kill fish exposed to it.

Untreated highway runoff, collected in nine separate storm events, was universally lethal to coho relative to unexposed controls. Lastly, the mortality syndrome was prevented when highway runoff was pretreated by soil infiltration, a conventional green stormwater infiltration technology.

The study is found here https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2451727-spromberg-et-al-in-press-j-appl-ecol.html

Longer story on it at the Seattle Times.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/whats-killing-coho-study-points-to-urban-road-runoff/?utm_source=Sightline+Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline+News+Selections

Draft Environmental Review Released For Oil Terminals On Washington Coast – KUOW

Hoquim and Aberdeen ports are being slated for crude oil shipments by possible building of oil shipment facilities for trains coming from the Bakken fields in North Dakota. The plan is for 1178 more oil trains and 638 more oil tankers to be added to the Gray’s Harbor area a year. These trains would be carrying huge quantities of highly flammable crude, much the same as the oil that destroyed the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster for more on that). The plan is for up to 1188 oil trains per year coming into the area. Additionally, the Draft EIS talks about significant impact to the Quinault Tribal fisheries in the area, as the tribe will not be able to fish while boats are present, which essentially is all the time. As stated in the Draft EIS: “Tribal members would not be able to fish when ships or barges are moving through the area.” I guess it’s up to the Tribe to determine whether this particular fishery is worth fighting for, or whether there are other areas they can fish that are less impacted. It will be interesting to see what the Tribe has to say on this.

Also of interest is the trade off that the cities see in adding this highly polluting industry to their area. We all know that Hoquim and Aberdeen have been one of the poorest locations in the State, ever since the collapse of the logging industry due to the disastrous federal policies of allowing raw logs to be shipped to Japan in the 1980s. This  turned what had been an industry that was highly functioning with extraction and higher value processing jobs into a third world country where only cutting and transport of logs was done, wiping out mills across the area in short order. The Federal government green light to massive cutting with no concerns of market conditions or any need for local mills,  led to a short lived boom until the resources were gone. Meanwhile the industry blamed environmental organizations for suing to stop the destruction of all remaining forests to save what little habitat was being left due to a lack of oversight and planning by the Federal Government.

And so the proposal is to continue to eat away at locations where salmon can be fished and create a very large possible oil spill concern, one that not only would impact the Gray’s Harbor area but also the entire Washington and Oregon coast, if one of these vessels sank during a large storm due to mechanical failure. The trade off is to give much needed jobs to at least some of the people in the Gray’s Harbor area. How badly is this oil needed with the downturn in the Chinese economy, and other issues? Is the trade off of possible destruction of our recreational use of the Pacific Coast worth it to support the oil industry and it’s desire to sell their product to China and Japan? You can read and comment on the draft EIS if you wish at the link below.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/graysharbor/terminals.html

KUOW summary story:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has just released its draft environmental review of two proposed oil terminals on the Washington coast. A third proposed terminal has not yet begun the environmental review process. The terminals could be built in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen, doubling current vessel and train traffic levels there. (KUOW)

http://kuow.org/post/draft-environmental-review-released-oil-terminals-washington-coast

Drought Becomes Deadly For Olympic Peninsula’s Hatchery Fish – KPLU

The Makah have had to kill off their hatchery fish. Not enough water. Too much heat.

This summer’s extreme drought is becoming increasingly deadly for fish in the northwest.

The state department of Fish and Wildlife had already lost about one and a half million juvenile fish in overheated rivers and streams in Washington at the end of July, due to this summer’s historically warm temperatures and low water levels

KPLU Story

Wild Fish Conservancy intends to sue EPA, NMFS over farmed salmon in Puget Sound

Very glad to see the Wild Fish Conservancy take this preliminary action to begin the notification of their intent to sue Federal government agencies over their evaluations of the endangered species act. If you want to see farmed salmon banned in Puget Sound, you might want to donate to the Conservancy to help their lawsuit.

Tuesday August 25, 2015- Today, Wild Fish Conservancy sent a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) associated with the agencies’ evaluation of the harmful effects to threatened salmonids from commercial salmon farming in Puget Sound.

In 2008, EPA consulted with NMFS under section 7 of the ESA on the effects of revisions to Washington Sediment Management Standards intended to enable commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound to be permitted under the Clean Water Act.  Despite the known harm and significant risks these facilities pose to wild salmonids, NMFS determined that EPA’s action is not likely to adversely affect protected species. The ESA consultation thus concluded without preparation of a biological opinion that would fully evaluate the effects of salmon farms and impose monitoring and other requirements designed to protect wild salmonids.

Wild Fish Conservancy challenged the 2008 consultation as insufficient under the ESA.  The Court found the 2008 consultation inadequate and set aside EPA’s approval of the revised Sediment Management Standards and further ordered EPA and NMFS to reconsider whether preparation of a biological opinion is required.

EPA reinitiated ESA consultation with NMFS in 2010.  Remarkably, NMFS again determined that the Puget Sound commercial salmon farms are not likely to adversely affect threatened salmonids and declined to prepare a biological opinion.
IHN Bainbridge
In May of 2012, there was a major outbreak of the infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus(IHNV) at the commercial salmon complexes near Rich Passage at the southern end of Bainbridge Island.  The outbreak occurred at a time when juvenile salmonids were migrating through the nearshore environment near the commercial salmon facilities. It can hardly be disputed that this disease outbreak adversely affected threatened salmonids—or, at a minimum, demonstrates that commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound may adversely affect ESA-listed species.

“Atlantic salmon farms pose an unacceptable health risk to ESA-listed wild salmon in Puget Sound,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy.  “By not fully evaluating the impacts of these farms, EPA and NMFS are in clear violation of the Endangered Species Act.”

The groups are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC, in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR.

Court Filing: 60 Day Notice of Intent to Sue Letter, August 25, 2015

http://wildfishconservancy.org/about/press-room/press-releases/environmental-protection-agency-national-marine-fisheries-service-violating-endangered-species-act

Dungeness River Fish Passage Video

An update on the efforts to allow returning salmon to get up the Dungeness River. Thanks to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, who continue to show leadership and dedication to saving the historic runs of fish on the river that their people have fished forever. This is the effects of our inability to deal with the root causes of climate change, which is out of control fossil fuel use.

Dungeness River Fish Passage 2015C from NW Indian Fisheries Commission on Vimeo.

Willapa Bay plan cuts Chinook production by one-third – Longview Daily News

The scientific debate over whether hatchery fish are outcompeting natives and subsequent lawsuits, have had an effect. This is good news for wild fish and wild fish advocates. The hatchery fish have been proven to lead to disasterous results in wild fish recovery. The study on wild vs. hatchery fish in the Rogue River basin is what has prompted this. The Rogue, a river that has never had a hatchery, has seen increases in native fish, while the similar river in Washington, from an environmental POV, the Skagit, which includes hatcheries, has seen their wild fish decimated. The key event that has been shown to be the differentiator is the introduction of hatchery fish into the Skagit. Now WDFW is acting on these lawsuits.

The production of hatchery Chinook in Willapa Bay will decrease by more than one-third as a result of a policy adopted recently by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The policy, adopted in June, also is likely to decrease the number of fish commercial fishermen can catch if the commission’s action survives a legal challenge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said that they needed to adopt the new policy to avoid having the Chinook listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Longview Daily News)

http://tdn.com/lifestyles/willapa-bay-plan-cuts-chinook-production-by-one-third/article_a6887538-8afd-5432-bb91-829ee5c58c0d.html

As salmon vanish in the dry Pacific Northwest, so does Native heritage – Washington Post

A good overview of the issues for the general public. Most of us are aware of salmon, their life cycles and the tribes that rely on them. But if you know someone that lives elsewhere and is unaware of the issues, this is a good starting point. Done by a well known environmental writer from the East Coast.

As a drought tightens its grip on the Pacific Northwest, burning away mountain snow and warming rivers, state officials and Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried that one of the region’s most precious resources — wild salmon — might disappear. Native Americans, who for centuries have relied on salmon for food and ceremonial rituals, say the area’s five species of salmon have been declining for years, but the current threat is worse than anything they have seen. Darrly Fears reports. (Washington Post)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/as-salmon-vanish-in-the-dry-pacific-northwest-so-does-native-heritage/2015/07/30/2ae9f7a6-2f14-11e5-8f36-18d1d501920d_story.html

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