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Ya wanna talk Environmental Stuff...

1614 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Angie
Since the shhhhhhh topic is dedicated to letting everyone and their brother in on the arrival of our "special little deer creek friends" I decided to continue the wonderful debate on how crediable the WDFW is.

Since I worked in the Environmental industry for 3 years, here's what I observed going on.

And none of you are going to like it.

1. The government has decided to do some actual real scientific studies on our salmon because of the " Almost Endangered Listings" this has lead to the following:
a. A clamour for government contracts
b. A huge surge in the marine side of environmental consulting
c. Over studying the problem

2. Over studying the problem. We all know what it takes to save the salmon (take all them nets and drop them in acid vats, pretty picture ey?). Why do you ask is it taking so long?

a. Let's milk it to death
b. Let's not come to any conclusion (see a)
c. Let's concentrate on something we can really milk... HABITAT RESTORATION! Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, $$$$$$

Because it would be really easy to just stop all netting and fishing for five years now wouldn't it. Let's see them put that report together?

So if you want to know what's going on right now with our government handling the crisis, they are figuring out how to restore the habitat.

When I tried to submit an article to the DJC environmental section about "What good does it do to restore habitat when they can't get to the already existing habitat to spawn anyway?" it didn't get published.

So that's where they're at, when they actually get to the WHY they aren't returning, that will be when the funding and all the habitat is restored and the dollars have run out. Estimates on that? I have no idea.

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Angie -

Do you consider removal of dams to provide free passage to the headwaters habitat restoration or do you consider it something else besides habitat?

I ask because if you look at dam removal or the technique of creating free-flowing branches of rivers around dams used in Europe under the category of "habitat restoration" then I would contend that habitat restoration is most important.

We have never fished a population to extinction, but we have made many runs extinct with dams. That's not to say we haven't fished them to within an inch of their lives, we've done that many times. My point is, habitat is very very important if you include dams in the equation.

I wasn't including dams in that rant but development, logging, etc...

But you've made a very good point.

Removing dams I think would be the ultimate in habitat restoration because you removing what's blocking and opening up tons of river and letting things return to the way it was.

Do you think that if we say for an example removed the Ross Dam on the Skagit that the summerruns would go back up and spawn? I can't remember if it was that, that killed them off or the tribal netting in the 70s.

Do you think if we removed the Elwah dam and cloned the giant kings (this is a happy thought) that it would come back?

As for your question about European Dams, that's nice they have the water ways, but the rivers are canals now and the fish are left wide open to predators. No where to run or hide.
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I think you are overlooking a major factor.


Here in southwest Washington Hatcheries are the single largest factor in the depletion of our steelhead stocks. Most notable the Skamania hatchery fish. It is absolutely crystal clear wherever hatchery fish are planted the numbers of wild fish plumet. Whereever hatchery fish are taken out of the system wild fish rebound quickly.

A couple examples..

The Washougal. 2 major forest fires,3 dams, excessive logging, massive amounts of mining a papermill spilling raw waste into the river overfishing, all of this wild steelhead survived in numbers of at least 1500. Then in the 1960's the Skamania hatchery was built instantly numbers of wild fish declined. In 1985 WSR regs were adopted on the washougal still the fish did not recover. Now the run is almost extinct only 2-3 hundred fish a years sometimes much less.

The South Toutle.. After Mt St Helens blew the toutle was written off as dead and WDFW quit planting. Soon Wild winter steelhead were repopulating the river in increasing numbers and provided a wonderful fishery with lots of fish. Then they planted Skamania summer runs... The South Toutle wild winter run plumeted and barely provides any fishery at all now.

The Wind river. In the recent past the wild summer run on the Wind numbered i well below 100 annually. This is a run that historically was 2-3 thousand. Last year was the first year for no adult hatchery returns. The wild run was 240 fish and next year is expected to be around 400. All because of the lack of hatcher fish..

Steelhead know how to restore themselves.. What they need is not to be harvested and hot to have interactions with hatchery fish.
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HEAR HEAR! I agree, bioengineered clones are a nemesis to wild steelhead. Dams are their death traps, and hatchery fish are their droid replacements.

Imagine if our lives depended on getting home but we could not, and the few that ran the gauntlet had their children shredded in turbines. Then the neighborhood started to fill up with clones all around you. That's about what we're doing to the steelhead in the pacific northwest.

And does it make sense to interact with these precious fish? I think so. I had this conversation with a high society woman I sat next to on a rare flight in first class (mileage upgrade). She asked if C&R made sense. I thought deep about it and replied "it makes a heck of a lot more sense to me to spend a large part of my life understanding an animal, then choosing not to eat it than it does picking up a package at a supermarket, not knowing a single thing about the animal and eating it". She actually agreed.
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Hatchery Smolts Eat Wild Fry

Let's not forget about that one?

Sticks in your craw, don't it?

Let's look at times of year and numbers.

You release Skykomish 8 inch smolts (you know those rainbow trout everyone likes to catch in August), and when do the wild steelhead eggs hatch & become fry.

I have a friend that keeps sending me stuff on the salmon depletion due to "too many predators"...

He claims this is one of the biggest factors of all and I think he's right. If anyone wants me to send them the paper he helped right. Let me know, would love too.
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