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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-28-2005 12:55 AM
DEERHAAWK
History

I for one am not here to alienate anyone. If I have done so I am sorry.
I am here because I am passionate about the sport and all that it encompasses. Before "we" came here to the NW or whatever other area a person might call there Home Waters, the system that you see before you each time you go fishing was in place.
It was not "Designated Critical" at that time...there was no need.
Most of that free flowing stuff is gone now, so are most of the fish that went along with it. We are left now with a small fraction, my vote goes for saving as much as I can.
It has alot to do with stewardship. Man throughout the years hasn't done a real good job with that one I'm afraid.
That says to me that I should try harder.
That says to me that there's always more to be done.
I consider myself on the same side of the bench as my brothers here on the Forum, as well as in the communities where we reside as individuals. But I am glad that we don't try to all share the same seat....truly then, we would accomplish nothing.
Flytier,
I am thankful for your perspective, as well as all the others who bother to stand up for the fish. Perhaps there is something more for me to learn from this discussion regarding critical habitat.

I fished the Molala today. This river is under incredible strain. Trash everywhere, smoldering campfires left un-attended, etc.
Yet through all this, The Fish go on, "Seemingly" un-affected, although I know better. Nature can take alot of abuse.....but not forever, and every acre we can hold on to is one more for the future.
Next time you go to the shore, bring along a trash bag and spend a few picking up.
Next time there's a meeting for cleaning up the waterway in your neck of the woods....GO!
Next time someone wants to take away more land from the already dwindling supply, stick up for the fish!
08-27-2005 05:38 AM
juro Stepping back, it's clear we all share a common love of the wild places and beautiful finned creatures that inhabit them, not the least of which are the salmonids and perhaps most of all the anadromous wild species...

however stepping back even further I think there are some 'undercurrents' at play rooted in political, social and philosophical foundations that are at odds here.

We are all entitled to an opinion, but we should be cautious not to push the underlying agendas with our brothers toward the same cause lest we alienate each other in pursuit of the same goal.

And that goes for me as well. To be brutally frank, I have no confidence whatsoever that the conservative branch of our government can make reasonable decisions that favor the welfare of our environment, any success has been entirely by accident and the fodder of calculated chest beating via propaganda while the long history of anadromous salmonid failures dating back to the very inception of the nation are perhaps the single most shameful example of man's failure to respect his surroundings in the history of salmon and steelhead. This begins with the American atlantic salmon and goes downhill from there.

Let's compare the actions and beliefs of two Secretaries of the Interior - Bruce Babbitt and James Watt... one fought and won to remove the illegal Elwha River dam that will eventually liberate one of the most abruptly incapacitated rivers on earth, rendering a run of 100 pound wild OP kings extinct. He did so with the genuine hope that the Elwha can run wild more than four miles from sea and rebound from it's century of imprisonment. Damn the special interest groups.

Watt however arrives to meet with fellow Slade Gorton (son of Gortons of Gloucester, MA) to discuss ways of opening exploitation of the last stands of old growth, now 97% depleted in Washington state and 0% having been renewed (old growth in WA is 700-1000 years old, do the math). After having shut down the national park system, proposed derailment of critial clean water and air programs and alienated even his own party peers with his ways in DC, he comes to WA not to admire our starkly beautiful places but to eyeball them for dollar value, no doubt in cahoots with Plum Creek, Intalco, BPA, and every old boy network out there.

However, I really do try to be careful not to push these beliefs (despite being easily substantiated with facts) into the discussion when at face value we all agree to protect the natural treasures. The means by which we might pursue, or the rationalization of success may differ - but with objective non-partisan cooperation both sides of the line can save wild anadromous salmonids from the heinous fate they have suffered thus far.

If we do push undercurrents we are no different than gear vs. fly guys who won't pull together for a cause. IMHO the key is objectiveness, and holding back on those extra posts that are clearly rooted in bi-partisan beliefs.

As administrator of this site, just as Watt said he would err on the side of exploitation verses preservation I will say "I will err on the side of the proven party", but will make every effort to avoid any need to even consider that by remaining objective and I hope we all can try as well.

.02
08-27-2005 12:45 AM
flytyer Deerhaawk,

I agree wholeheartedly that we need to have healthy discussion on topics such as this, which are of great importance to the survival of the anadromous fish in the PNW. At the same time, we need to also recognize that the inclusion of non-anadromous bearing streams or areas of anadromous bearing streams that did not historically support anadromous fish in a critical habitat area may not be the best use of a critical habitat designation since it can't be clearly demonstrated in an empirical manner that not designating them as critical habitat will be detrimental to the fish.
08-26-2005 11:20 PM
DEERHAAWK
The Pastor

New Pastor comes to the Church (bear with me) First Sunday, and each sunday after he gives his sermon..... the same sermon as the week before! At first the congragation is attentive, then curious, then anoyed, and finaly downright P.Oed.
When approached by the leadership about this behaivior, Pastor says " I keep giving the same sermon untill everyone gets it!"
Education.
Just for shirts and grins tonight I looked at the stats for the forum.....we had 23 guests, 10 more than members signed on. Somewhere out there in cyberspace is someone who did not catch last springs posts on this. Somewhere out there is someone who dosen't even know that there is such a thing as Critical Habitat!
Somewhere out there is the young man or woman that is going to carry the torch for us when were to old and grumpy.
That is the person that I hope when someone asks "Why are we cleaning up-taking care of-writing our congressmen/women about" this stream-river-lake-roadside- camping area- chose one, they turn and say "Because I read somewhere that people cared enough, and we should to"
This discussion, pro and con, back and forth, between caring individuals is what inspires, is what gets things done. WE are the cop on the corner for the fish, and you know, it's alright to be in that position whatever our views!
Each time we get our dander up about enviromental matters, I learn something.
I know I dont have all the answers, but I gain more from each debate, which helps me build a more informed, wellrounded attitude towards the opposition, who suprisingly have some good points themselves.....albeit not very often
Why Bother?
Cause it's the right thing to do.
How simple is it?
It's as simple as saying "Enough already!" at the very least until things can be debated and sorted out.
In my research, I am seeing a much broader initiative here than meets the eye!
Its not just about the ESA, or Salmon, or the Sky-Blackfoot-Quinny, but about the system as a whole! And there are those out there that would just as soon see us roll over, play dead and close our eyes to all this.
If we did?
You would awake from your slumber some day, grab your rod, and find that the river of your youth is just that.....
A fond memory!......

We cannot let Ctritical Habitat be brushed aside like so much dirt, in the name of someones "Progress"
Dont forget.... Salmon was the first to step forward!

Deerhawk
08-26-2005 09:00 PM
SSPey flytyer, if you assume that I know memorize all that's been written here before, that's quite an assumption So I did go back on your recommendation and I found a helpful summary post by Juro.

What is critical habitat?

Under the federal Endangered Species Act, critical habitat is defined as: (1) the specific areas within the geographic area occupied by a federally listed species on which are found physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species, and that may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographic area occupied by a listed species, when it is determined that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
http://www.savetheredwoods.org/mill_...W/glossary.htm


Given that definition, the current reversal of critical habitat designation is clearly against the spirit of the law. And this administration is responsible for that reversal, plain and simple.

I don't see that I flamed you in all three posts, but I did challenge you to back up your claim. A claim that you still have not addressed adequately. Can you provide any marginally tractable documentation that indicates that MOST of the critical habitat in question does not have, and did not have, anadromous fish due to natural barriers? Your case studies are informative, but they hardly speak to "most" of the habitat in question.
08-26-2005 08:24 PM
flytyer William,

I grew up in the anthracite coal country of Northeastern Pennsylvania (I left there at age 25 back in 1978) and saw hundreds of miles of rivers and streams be devoid of any life because of acid mine drainage from the coal mines and coal processing plants called coal breakers. I also spent a lot of time exploring small streams in Montana during the 12 years I lived there from 1979 to 1981 and saw a lot of mine tailings problems in the now ghost town mining towns, not to mention to huge problem in the Clark Fork River from the copper mining and smelting in Butte and Anaconda Montana area.

I witnessed a huge fish kill after a short, intense cloudburst on the Upper Clark Fork in 1989 because it washed heavy metals, cyanide, and arsenic from the "slickens" along the river into it. I also witnessed what happened to the Blackfoot River in the early summer of 1990 when the old 7-Up Pete mine tailings pond located upstream of the town of Lincoln, MT broke and dumped heavy metals, cyanide, and arsenic into the big Blackfoot and killed fish all the way to Milltown dam some 90 miles downstream. This "event" took a long time for the river to recover from this and only recently has become a decent fishery again.

These things have made me very aware of the dangers of development such as mining in upstream areas. That is why I mentioned the Mining Act of 1872. It allows individuals or mining companies to stake a claim for the metals or minerals found, patent the mine site (meaning it becomes their propery), and then mine it if they get permission to do so while not even having to pay royalties on the metals or minerals extracted. That is something only Congress can change.
08-26-2005 07:50 PM
flytyer Steve,

I don't like to do this; but since you have questioned my integity and directly flamed me instead of speaking on the issue in all three of your posts, which is very different from the way Deerhaawk, OC, dc_chu, and Juro did things, here goes.

If you go back and read what Keith Jackson posted when this topic came up this past winter/spring, you will see that as far as WA State goes, the streams, rivers, and drainages that were to be removed from the critical habitat designation indeed were areas that did not have anadromous fish in them. That is also why I provided the examples of the Snoqualmie River above the falls, the Skagit River tributaries above the dams (which were built above where anadromous fish had access due to the severe hydraulics of the long catarac at that point in the river, which was a natural barrier to anadromous fish), and the Skagit River tributaries that didn't have anadromous fish in them being removed from the critical habitat designation.

This is why I commented in my first post on this thread that this subject was covered in more detail before in the hope that folks would take the time to search for it, read what was posted before on the topic, and then add to the discussion instead of covering what was covered before or having the thread turn into a flame fest of emotional reasoning.

Also, the maps in the link you provided in your prior post had nothing in them on what areas have been or are now considered critical habitat. Therefore, they are not very useful to this discussion on the changes to how much land area has been designated critical habitat.

Folks,

Remember there is nothing wrong with disagreement and telling someone you disagree because this adds to a discussion and allows more information to be provided on a given issue or topic. However, doing so requires that we state our position(s), provide some rationale for what we post, and not make personal attacks (also known as flaming) because we disagree with what someone posted.
08-26-2005 07:42 PM
inland Russ,

I understand where you are coming from. But I don't agree with it. In a few areas it won't impact much. But overall I can think of hundreds of scenarios that aren't going to do the ecosystems any favors. Crappy water quality starts somewhere. The higher in the drainage it starts the more it impacts. Things flow downhill. A green light to go back to more destructive land uses is only going to make things worse.

This is nothing more than political games. Optimistically we can hope the next regime is more ecologically sound. There's always hope...

William
08-26-2005 05:24 PM
SSPey yeah, ok, but none of that speaks to the veracity of your claim that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by flytyer
most of the so-called critical habitat that was removed for salmon and steelhead recovery was in river and streams (or portions thereof) that never had salmon or steelhead swimming in them because of natural barriers.
.... did you make up that statement?
08-26-2005 04:49 PM
flytyer Puget Sound and the Columbia basin have had a lot of alterations to natural water flow and ability of anadromous fish to ascent the rivers because of dams. And it is very unlikely that those dams will be coming down. Before folks go ballistic on the current administration, keep in mind that these fish blocking dams were built long before this administration was in office and most were built when the so-called "fish friendly" federal and state administrations were in power. These dams that have blocked anadromous fish (or made it much more difficult for them to get over them and upriver or through them and downriver) have had a detrimental effect on fish runs.

Keep in mind that the governors of both Washington and Oregon were opposed to the extra water being spilled over the Columbia dams this summer, and both are supposedly "fish friendly". There is also the problem of whether policy ought to be formulated by biologist, politicians, courts, or interest groups.

Regarding the dam spill this year (which environmental groups hailed as a victory for the fish) were considered by the biologists not to be the best way to insure the survival of the maximum number of fish in low-water years like this. The biologists were of the opinion that barging in low-water years was best. Of course, the opinnion of the biologists working in the Columbia basin was ignored because emotionally, it didn't make sense. Afterall, fish need water and if more water is spilled over the dams, the fish have to benefit, right? The opinion of the biologist didn't fit this type of emotional reasoning, so they were ignored and the judge ruled in favor of spilling the water.

Commercial over harvest and sportsfishing over harvest have also been detrimental to fish run sizes. Plus, there is the ocean, over which we have precious little control, that plays a significant role in the relative abundance or lack thereof of the fish.

Then there are things such as the Mining Act of 1872 that Congress (regardless of which party has been in control) has been unwilling the change or eliminate, which also play a role.

And we must not forget that a Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3 years ago that only things that have demonstrated, actual value can be considered in the economic value portion of a plan or designation of habitat, and it was upheld by the Supreme Court when it refused to hear the appeal by NMFS and the Forest Service of this ruling. Thus, NOAA-F and other federal and state agencies can no longer include the value of recreation unless they have hard evidence of the actual economic activity (i.e. how many dollars were generated) of that activity. This has had a majoy impact on these agencies.

There are a lot of factors involved: court decisions, legislative, interest groups (environmental, conservation, agriculture, power generation, logging, mining, and development), media, and fisherman (sportsfishers, tribal, and commercial). And we can't ignore any of them because all of them have an impact on the fish. Eliminating those areas that never had anadromous fish from the areas deemed "critical habitat" for anadromous fish hardly constitutes the sky is falling and the fish are losing even more rhetoric I've been reading from environmental groups. Simply put, doing so is emotional reasoning and as such, does not help find solutions to the problem of declining runs.

Items such as the WA State legislators or governors getting rid of sportsfishing and/or conservation friendly Fish & Wildlife Dept. Directors or Commission members cannot be ignored or put on the back burner because they are not as "big" emotionally as changing critical habitat designations. I've seen virtually nothing about this problem from the environmental groups. Likewise, fish farms can't be ignored. Nor can things like: irrigating what used to be high desert to grow grass or alfalfa for cattle (like in the upper Klamath) or holding back water to save fish that has thrived only because of the irrigation dams on the Klamath, while the native anadromous fish suffer from a lack of water in the river; or the dams on the Deschutes used for power generation and irrigation (although then we need to have electrical power generated some other way, perhaps nuclear).
08-26-2005 11:51 AM
SSPey from the Seattle Times:

In a new, narrower interpretation of the Endangered Species Act, the Bush administration yesterday said for the first time that it wants to safeguard as "critical" only those waterways currently occupied by salmon and steelhead not areas that might be considered part of a fish's historic range.


I don't want to get into a cut-n-paste war, but many quotes like the one above are floating around.

Yet, when I visit some of the most pro-wild fish extinction websites that I can find (Klamath Alliance, Pacific Legal Foundation), I am unable to find information backing your claim that "MOST" critical habitat in question occurs above natural barriers to anadromy. And even if I could find it there - which I can't - I wouldn't trust the words of these one-eyed groups any more than words from our own pro-wild-fish extinction administration
08-26-2005 11:38 AM
SSPey
Quote:
Originally Posted by flytyer
Don't forget that most of the so-called critical habitat that was removed for salmon and steelhead recovery was in river and streams (or portions thereof) that never had salmon or steelhead swimming in them because of natural barriers.

flytyer

aside from the obvious fact that water flows downhill, which raises concerns alone ....

can you provide documentation or a link showing clearly that "most of the so-called critical habitat" areas in question were never accessible due to natural barriers?

I'd be willing to get that MOST of the areas in question - and certainly ones of which I am aware in Central Oregon upriver of the Deschutes dams - come up a flaming bright RED on these maps

http://www.inforain.org/maparchive/salmon_nation.htm

08-26-2005 07:46 AM
juro I share the passion brother.

However if the habitat designations are for wild salmon and steelhead, then flytyer's argument carries water for those sections that are truly never graced by indigenous anadromous species.

BUT (and this is a huge but) one of the biggest problems with watershed management is that actions are made in a small-minded manner without considering (or caring for) the impacts on adjacent waters, in this case as Deerhawk and OC pointed out being directly downstream which is the worst possible scenario.

But even when an aquifer is drained far away from the river banks it negatively affects the welfare of fragile systems. The average north american aquifer is hundreds of square miles.

Use of pesticides and fertilizers without proper buffering and precautions can devastate an entire system.

I see no point in moving backwards, regardless of whether the fish moved thru that particular section or not.

A compromise that alleviated constraints on these adjacent waters while restricting impact on the overall watershed would be acceptable. My level of confidence that special interests could maintain such respect for the overall watershed while they move toward expliotation? Very, very low.

The proof is in the pudding, history proves that humans really suck at this sort of thing.

.02
08-26-2005 12:16 AM
DEERHAAWK
Soooo....

Let's approach Flytier's 2 questions, but first a response.
Any issue dealing with the survival of endangered species, should be debated openly for as long as it takes to achieve a suitable end that will ensure the species in question has safeguards in place that will allow it to be an thriving part of it's Natural suroundings.
Obviously this is NOT the case now!

How can rivers and streams, or portions of them, that never had Anadromous fish be considered "Critical" for the survival of Anadromous species?
So you have river A, and river A has had a small run of steelhead, but only up to stream 1, because above stream 1 is a dam thats been in place for 100 years, or a 50foot waterfall, etc.
Above this obstruction is the mainstem of river A which breaks into S and N forks as well as numerous feeder streams.
Along comes the Gov, and the Gov says "Aint never seen no steelhead up in theese parts, so theese parts aint "Critical" Designation droped.
Along comes contractor Smith, buys up the land above the obstruction, cuts down all the trees and builds condos, which polutes the mainstem and wipes out alot of the feeder streams.
Meanwhile downstream the steelhead run starts feeling a little quezy and they start diein off cause the portion of the stream that they "Never used" got screwed up, and in there world everything runs downhill.
And when this happens, will you see the steelhead walkin in front of City Hall in Seattle or Portland or Sacramento with little signs sayin "Unfair to Fish"?
NOT!
We have to stand up for them
We have to make sure that no one has a chance to screw it up!

Since they never had Anadromous fish, how is removing critical habitat going to hurt them?
Same as story one, except instead of diein in the river, they die in the ocean!
It is not "Part" We have to get away from this "Part" stuff. These seperate and unique systems are intergrated with other unique systems to form a "Whole"!
If certain individuals are allowed to put these things in play, it will take ten times as long to remove them when the effects are realized.
Why when something is Good and does Good would anyone want to stop it and take a chance on making it Bad.
Beats the Hell out of me.
Puget Sound has less than 5% of its historical Salmon and Steelhead runs. The Columbia system is just as bad. Im sure it's the same for our Brothers in Fish to the south. Ive only been on this planet for 50 years, I don't know where the Salmon were 100, 200 500 years ago! Mabye they were in these streams and rivers that don't have them now.
But Ill say this, Ill bet it wasn't other fish that booted them out...
My question is, why should we remove even an inch more of Critical Habitat regardless of whether the Steelhead or Salmon visit there or not?
I am sure there is some species that would bennifit, mabye Us?
Deerhawk
08-25-2005 11:16 AM
OC What I would like to know about all this is how will it effect Salmon and Steelhead below the man made and natural barriers? Will farmers and industry be able to take more water from these areas where no fish reside thus effecting in stream flow down river where fish do exist. Will industry be able to let's say make gravel quaries or mining operations in these no fish zones thus creating run off, heavy metals and increased water temps below in summer? Will timber companies and private land owners be able to cut timber all the way to the strean bank now because no fish exist above the barrier and their property is above the barrier? My main concern is East of the Cascades here in Washington and Oregon and probably in parts of Eastern California. We must remember that water flows down hill. We must also remember that politians from all parties produce something else when mixed with water that flows down hill too, all in the name of profits for those who support them.
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