Native Fish Society--a Great Group

NATIVE FISH SOCIETY CONSERVATION REPORT January 2006 By Bill Bakke, Director QUOTES ON THE STATUS OF OREGON COAST COHO: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has been busy putting together a rationalization they hope will be convincing to the National Marine Fisheries Service to not list coho salmon on the Oregon coast. Below are a few quotes regarding the status of Oregon coastal coho and some direct feedback from NMFS to ODFW regarding their “scientific assessment” of coho salmon. Memo from Dr. Usha Varanasi, NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center, to Bob Lohn, NOAA Fisheries Regional Director, Aug. 12, 2005. “Since the fall of 2004, we have observed unusually low numbers of juvenile salmon in coastal waters of Oregon and Washington. When coupled with increases in water temperatures and clarity (indicating poor primary productivity that deviates markedly from long-term averages), they suggest returns of adult salmon may be lower than expected this fall (Coho salmon), and may continue have implications for both Coho and Chinook salmon returns over the next several years.” “We are not certain what will be the full biological implications for Pacific salmon production over the next few years, but we are relatively confident that for some, such as Oregon coast Coho the negative effects could be dramatic….The various indicators developed by Center scientists suggest that recent ocean conditions will result in low returns of Oregon Coast and Columbia River spring/summer Chinook salmon for this year and possibly for the next few years.” Letter from the IMST to Michael Carrier, Oregon Governor’s Office, March 18, 2005, re: the State’s Draft Oregon Coast coho viability analysis “The [State’s Analysis] lists many exemplary policies and plans that the State is implementing to insure coho salmon rehabilitation. However, in very few cases was there supporting documentation of the likelihood of successful implementation or effectiveness. Also, possible time lags between policy or plan adoption and biological response seem not to have been factored into the analyses.” “These data on measured habitat conditions in the Coast Range indicate that habitat degradation has been significant, and habitat problems take time be [sic] corrected by restoration activities.” “[W]e disagree that the probability of catastrophic flood, drought, tsunami, or fire affecting fish populations across the ESU is minor when considered over 100 years; we think the probability of such events having population impacts could actually be significant. In addition, anthropogenic influences such as intensified logging, damming, water diversions, disease introduction, and land use change related to human population growth ESU-wide over the next 100 years could be equally or more significant.” “The [State’s Evaluation of Conservation Efforts] comes across more as an argument in favor of the decision not to list rather than a balanced analysis of the uncertainty and effectiveness of conservation efforts…it does not present an objective evaluation of scientific evidence for either the effectiveness of actions or the certainty of their implementation.” “The circular reason can be framed as: the ESU is viable; hence the habitat must be adequate. Therefore, the habitat must be adequate because the ESU is viable. This can lead to a false sense of security in determining if the ESU could be de-listed. A more accurate statement could be: the ESU might be viable, in spite of the fact that the habitat is quite marginal. (Emphasis in original). Letter from NOAA Fisheries to Michael Carrier, Oregon Governor’s Office, March 18, 2005, the State’s Draft Oregon Coast coho viability analysis “The review by our Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s (NWFSC) staff has raised issues regarding whether the Oregon’s viability criteria have been met. Oregon’s viability analysis is based on the hypothesis that coho populations are inherently resilient at low abundance. The NWFSC review posits that the empirical record is too short and the cause-and-effect relationship behind recent escapements is too poorly established to support Oregon’s hypothesis.” Northwest Fisheries Science Center report within the Letter “Nevertheless, the [State’s] report has some important limitations, and the reviewers had concerns about many of the data, methods, and conclusions. Although we have not attempted to formally re-evaluate the ESA risk status of Oregon Coast (OC) evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) coho, many of the concerns discussed below raise questions about the confidence one can have in the report’s major conclusion – that the Oregon Coast (OC) coho are not threatened with extinction.” “[I]t is hard to see how, based on data for just a few recent cohorts, one could conclude that in the future the populations will again be able to rebound in a similar fashion if and when they reach low escapements. The empirical record is too short and the cause-and-effect relationship between recent escapements are too poorly established to provide any sort of certainty that the populations will always prove to be that resilient in the future. Another, and arguably more realistic, view is that each time the population/ESU reaches record low escapements represents a roll of the dice regarding future viability; the more often the population is allowed to reach such dangerous levels, the more inevitable extinction becomes.” “This is not a very precautionary model….Sustainability is a coin-toss.” “[T]he synthesis report section on fish passage relies on vague assertion and speculation rather than referenced facts. There is no demonstrated scientific basis for the claim of “substantial progress” on fish passage issues, yet it appears to be the basis on which fish passage was given a risk factor rating of “low”. Vague, unsubstantiated assertions such as this serve to undermine the overall credibility of the report.” “More generally, the synthesis report again makes dramatic conclusions without supporting data. It concludes, that the ESU is viable yet also concludes that coho streams are characterized by “general scarcity of large instream wood, lack of large conifers in riparian areas, reduced interactions with off-channel habitat and the presence of fine sediment in gravels.” “Overall, because of the various findings summarized above, we have substantial concerns about the report’s population scale conclusions and therefore we have concerns about the report’s overall conclusions that the ESU is not at risk.” Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NMFS) comments on habitat “The synthesis documents recognize that the lack of instream [Large Woody Debris] LWD is inhibiting the recovery of coho, yet have proposed a riparian management plan for state and private forest lands that will greatly reduce the amount of LWD available to fall into streams. “We found the synthesis documents (and many of the technical reports) generally deficient on most subject matters. The types of problems described for the subject matters we did discuss can generally be assumed to be applicable to other subject matters as well.” “This document [on agricultural practices] was not informative and it was difficult to judge how the department [Oregon Department of Agriculture] measures the impacts of agricultural practices on coho streams or the effects invasive species have on coho populations. Moreover, the tone of the document implies protection of farmers and ranchers rather than species.” (Kaitlin Lovell a member and Salmon Policy Coordinator for Trout Unlimited supplied these interesting tidbits.) Les Helgeson, NFS Native Fish Steward on the Oregon coast, provided a few more observations regarding the coho salmon assessment. - NOAA Fisheries only cites population status through the year 2003 thereby omitting the sharp declines observed over the last two years as you have noted. - NOAA Fisheries refers to Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Funds (PCSRF) funds allocated though the same time period supporting alleged recovery but ignores the recent 50% reduction in the PCSRF, not to mention the additional $2 million "earmark" for Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association’s (NSIA) hatchery fish marking on the Columbia. NOAA Fisheries relies heavily on PCSRF allocation and the state's planning process to justify the decision so this is a very big hole in their argument. In the end, the state is now left without adequate funding even if we do come up with a credible recovery plan. The decision is therefore every bit as flawed as the last one when NOAA Fisheries supported the otherwise vague and under-funded Oregon Plan. The $12 million in salmon recovery funding (PCSRF) that Oregon was to get was cut in half and $2 million went to fin marking of hatchery fish in the Columbia, leaving $4 million available for salmon habitat work that was to go to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to support the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. (Note: The NOAA Fisheries did not list the Oregon Coastal coho salmon under the ESA and cited the Oregon Plan as sufficient to recover the species. As Mike Carrier, Governor Kulongoski’s natural resources aid said recently, coho recovery is based on hope and faith. Oregon’s coho plan has become a faith based one.) BROWNSVILLE DAM REMOVAL IMPORTANT TO WILD SALMON RECOVERY ON THE CALAPOOIA RIVER:On January 11, 2006, at a joint meeting with the Calapooia Watershed Council, the Brownsville Canal Company board voted unanimously to initiate the grant request process which will ultimately result in removing the historic Brownsville Dam on the Calapooia River. If all goes as planned, removal work would begin in July 2007 with completion in 2008. Removal & restoration costs could approach $500,000. The Brownsville Canal Company owns the dam and 3-mile-long canal which once served 19th century flaxen and woolen mills in Brownsville. The mills are long gone but the canal, which flows through a small city park and a deep swimming hole made by the dam are valued by local residents. The 110 feet long dam extends bank to bank, is 14 feet wide and 7 feet high (in winter). However, in summer it is raised with flashboards to a height of 12 feet to divert 2.5 cfs of water into the canal. A very rudimentary fish ladder blasted in the bedrock provides marginal fish passage when the flash boards are in place. But from September through June the flash boards are removed so the fish ladder is usually dewatered. Migrating ESA-listed winter steelhead and spring Chinook salmon must make the seven-foot jump then negotiate the 14-foot-wide expanse of high velocity shallow sheet water on top of the dam. Steelhead seem to have had less trouble passing the dam than the Chinook but both are delayed in passing the dam except on those occasions when water levels are within a very narrow range. Some steelhead are delayed enough that they are known to spawn below the dam. Juvenile steelhead and salmon from the upper watershed drift downstream below the dam; these fish then are unable to move back upstream to cooler waters in summer when the middle and lower river warms. The Calapooia River originates low in the western Cascade Mountains and is a relatively small stream with an average annual flow of around 900 cfs. The river is 72 miles long and the Brownsville Dam is at the midpoint near river mile 36. Water quality is generally good except for summer temperatures that routinely exceed 70 degrees in the lower 2/3 of the river. The temperature at the Brownsville bridge was 81 degrees in September 2003 when the flow dropped to 11 cfs. Only the uppermost 20 miles of the Calapooia currently provide acceptable spawning and rearing habitat and conditions (water temp.) for salmonids. Weyerhaeuser Co., which owns most of the upper watershed, completed a watershed analysis in 1998 and has spent over $2 million on habitat and passage improvements (road culverts). There now appears to be ample habitat to produce many more adult salmon and steelhead if passage problems downstream could be resolved. Recent ODFW estimates are that 50 adult Chinook and from 250 to 750 steelhead return in an average year. The runs were once much stronger but a combination of dam-related mortality [at Brownsville dam and Sodom dam (located 10 miles downstream)] and habitat degradation (loss of deep holding pools due to decades-old road-related erosion) in the upper watershed have caused the runs to decline and the two dams continue to prevent recovery. There are also anecdotal accounts of poaching when adult salmon & steelhead are confined below the dams or in the fish ladders. Other native fish found in the Calapooia are cutthroat trout, brook lamprey, 3-spined stickleback, dace and Oregon chub (historic). Non-native fish are confined mostly to the lower 30 miles of the river and include smallmouth bass with largemouth bass, bullhead, crappie, bluegill and carp in the lowest reaches. The pedigree for the Calapooia's spring Chinook salmon is somewhat clouded. During the 1970s there were a few years with no adult Chinooks or Chinook redds observed and during that period pre-smolts, smolts and adult spring Chinook from the Santiam Hatchery were released so the current run is considered to be of hatchery origin by ODFW. The winter steelhead have never been augmented and are considered to be 100% native stock. There was widespread opposition to removal of the dam when the topic was first discussed by the Watershed Council beginning about 3 years ago. But when it became known that the canal could still have water (via pumping or gravity feed), that the public would still have access to the dam site (Linn County Parks Dept is interested in the land for a picnic and river access area), that the Canal Company members (about 50 individual landowners along the canal and the City of Brownsville) might be liable in the event of 3rd party ESA enforcement action, and once grant funding sources covering removal costs were identified, opposition faded. Under the scenario the canal company approved, funding will be provided via grants primarily from the Oregon Lottery and the federal Open Rivers Initiative. The alternative to removal would be for the dam's owners to pay for a new and improved fish ladder suitable for use at all water levels by adult and juvenile fish. This option would also cost close to $500,000 but would have to be funded by the canal company members. At present the canal company has trouble paying the $700 annual liability insurance premium so the decision to take the grant money was, as the local Brownsville Times newspaper editor wrote, a "no brainer". The other dam problem on the Calapooia River involves two small dams, one just above I-5 where 4-mile-long Sodom Ditch bifurcates from the main channel (and now carries 90% of the flow) and the other below the I-5 crossing on the de-watered main channel. Both dams have inadequate fish ladders and are associated with the historic Thompsons Mill, an 1858-vintage gristmill that uses water power to operate. The mill's water right is the most senior in Oregon and conveys the right to all the water in the river. The mill and control of the two dams (and the water right) were purchased by Oregon State Parks Dept. last year. State Parks acknowledges the passage problem and has pledged to find a solution and soon. The most likely scenario is replacement of the Sodom Dam with a new control structure with adequate fish passage facilities, possibly by 2008 concurrent with removal of the Brownsville Dam. So, there is good news for the Calapooia's native fish. The days are numbered for the major remaining passage problems and recovery of both winter steelhead and spring Chinook runs seem closer. The Calapooia Watershed Council continues active involvement in other habitat and passage improvement projects throughout the watershed. The future appears brighter for the river and its fish. By John Perry 2005 WAS THE WARMEST YEAR IN A CENTURY: The year 2005 was the warmest year in over a century, according to NASA scientists studying temperature data from around the world. Climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City noted that the highest global annual average surface temperature in more than a century was recorded in their analysis for the 2005 calendar year. Previously, the warmest year of the century was 1998, when a strong El Nino, a warm water event in the eastern Pacific Ocean, added warmth to global temperatures. It is significant that global warmth has returned to about the level of 1998 without the help of an El Nino. The result indicates that a strong underlying warming trend is continuing. Global warming since the middle 1970s is now about 0.6 degrees Celsius (C) or about 1 degree Fahrenheit (F). Total warming in the past century is about 0.8° C or about 1.4° F. "The five warmest years over the last century occurred in the last eight years," said James Hansen, director of NASA GISS. They stack up as follows: the warmest was 2005, then 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Over the past 30 years, the Earth has warmed by 0.6° C or 1° F. Over the past 100 years, it has warmed by 0.8° C or 1.44° F. Current warmth seems to be occurring nearly everywhere at the same time and is largest at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Over the last 50 years, the largest annual and seasonal warmings have occurred in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Peninsula. Most ocean areas have warmed. Because these areas are remote and far away from major cities, it is clear to climatologists that the warming is not due to the influence of pollution from urban areas. Sources for this article are: Science Daily The original news release can be found here. ALASKA SALMON STREAMS ARE TOO WARM: Over the past six years Alaskan scientists have been measuring water temperatures on the lower Kenai Peninsula, including the Anchor River. Their findings are worrisome and they have concluded that stream temperatures have reached levels that are unhealthy for salmon and steelhead. The state standard for spawning areas is 55 F but in 2005 temperatures were above the standard for more than 80 days. The scientists say that warm water can damage salmon egg incubation, fry, reduce disease resistance, the availability of oxygen and nutrients. And impede salmon migration. Read the article: 2006 SPRING FISHERY IMPACTS ON ESA-LISTED WINTER STEELHEAD: Fortunately, the ODFW and WDFW agreed that ESA-listed winter steelhead would not be harvested at a rate higher than an incidental kill rate of 2%. If you remember, NFS fought the proposal to triple the kill rate on winter steelhead in 2005 and against all reasonable odds we prevailed when the Oregon fish and wildlife commission voted to retain the 2% incidental kill rate. This decision was fortuitous because the wild steelhead runs continued their decline in 2005 and the reduced kill rate saved a lot of spawners. In response to the 2006 regulation decision, NFS recommended that a more conservative approach be adopted by the states in regulating the kill of ESA-listed steelhead. It is only logical to kill fewer wild steelhead when these runs are predicted to continue to decline in 2006. NFS is grateful to the states for adopting a 1.5% kill rate as the guideline for the 2006 spring fishery. This rule will only assist recovery of wild steelhead. The debate over the allocation of the harvest between sport and commercial fisheries consumed the commissions this year as sports anglers and the Northwest Sport Fishing Industry Association tried to retain their 60% of the harvest share and the gillnetters tried to get the harvest share at the 50%-50% level. As has been reported in the press, a member of the Oregon fish and wildlife commission is now targeted for a boycott by the sport fishing industry because he voted to reduce their harvest share. Some members of the NFS are angry with us for not getting involved in this fight. The NFS does not get involved in gear fights. When it comes to allocation we are concerned about the allocation to the spawning grounds. We nagged the ODFW staff and commission for a spawner abundance goal for McKenzie River spring chinook for years. We have also asked the NMFS for harvest accounting so that harvest delivers on the recovery goals by species and watershed. Our interest is strong native runs that can support a fishery as one but not the only benefit. The failure to get abundant spawners has an impact on how many fish are available to the competing fisheries. There are priorities and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead is our first priority. The tasks involved in recovery of healthy, abundant wild salmon and steelhead populations are many and they are complex. But it is easy to state in simple terms what ought to be done. It is obvious that hatchery and harvest reforms must be part of the recovery mix along with removal of dams for Snake River runs. These actions go hand in hand and doing one at the expense of the others is not sufficient to rebuild these wild runs. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOLDEN TROUT: “…past and present stocking policies and hybridization with introduced rainbow trout currently threaten the genetic integrity of California golden trout populations across all of their range,” said the authors of a recent study of golden trout (Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 2006). Prior to 1876 fish from Golden Trout Creek were introduced into the fishless Cottonwood Lakes. Beginning in 1918 the Cottonwood Lakes fish served as the source population for fingerling golden trout planted in waters throughout California and a number of other states. These fish were spawned and reared at the Mt. Whitney Hatchery. “In the 1930s hatchery workers began to notice changes in the appearance of Cottonwood Lakes golden trout, raising concern about the purity of the broodstock,” say the authors. It is believed that rainbow trout fingerlings that were also raised at the hatchery were mixed in with golden trout and transferred to Cottonwood Lakes. This mixed population was then used as the source for stocking golden trout in their native range as well as transferred around the world over the next 75 years. The authors conducted an investigation of the genetic status of golden trout populations in Golden Trout Creek and its tributaries using nuclear microsatellite DNA markers. The native habitat for golden trout is confined to a relatively small area including Golden Trout Creek and the South Fork of Kern River. The authors identified the Volcano Creek population as the only pure form of golden trout remaining in this native habitat. The California Department of Fish and Game is presently working to prevent further introgression of rainbow trout alleles into the Golden Trout Creek system. The state is removing “introgressed fish” and discontinuing all fish transplants into any of the lakes and creeks associated with the Golden Trout Creek watershed. Similar introductions of domestic rainbow trout have been responsible for the loss of historic native populations in Oregon. The Alvord Cutthroat was hybridized with rainbow trout introductions and is considered extinct. The ODFW is presently constructing barriers to prevent the spread of non-native trout in southeastern streams to protect remnants of Lahontan cutthroat trout a threatened species. A barrier was built by ODFW in cooperation with PGE on Trout Creek (Deschutes basin) to prevent hatchery steelhead strays from interbreeding with wild steelhead in that stream. The use of hatcheries to spread fish among watersheds has been and remains a major reason for the loss of indigenous native fish populations including salmon and steelhead as well as resident trout. NFS checked with ODFW and found that there is no rule that would control hybridization of native fish populations by introduced non-native fish of the same species. LES HELGESON’S NATIVE FISH STEWARDSHIP REPORT: NESTUCCA NATIVE BROODSTOCK RESPONSE: I worked with Bakke to produce a response to an Oregonian article touting wild broodstock. First year returns from the Nestucca steelhead program were dismal and returns this year are off to the same start. In fact, the once popular December Three Rivers fishery has vanished with significant impacts to anglers and local businesses. But ODFW would once again have us believe the “run is on it’s way”. Ironically, the State has been conducting an assessment of the Nestucca program at the behest of NFS. This is perhaps the State’s first ever assessment of wild broodstock compared to “old” stock beyond the Hood River and it appears that the broodstock fish are performing significantly worse on the Nestucca. For example, although 730 steelhead returned to Cedar Creek Hatchery last year only 31 wild broodstock were counted. A 2004/05 creel survey revealed a similar disparity in the numbers of fish caught although by far the majority of fish caught (and released) were wild steelhead. Yet the Department, in conjunction with the press, continue to tout the broodstock program as the best thing to have happened since sliced bread in a desperate attempt to bolster license and tackle sales. Our response has been distributed to staff, the press and other interested parties. EXPANDING COOS BAY STEP PROGRAM: I reviewed ODFW Commission packet and attended the Commission meeting, presenting testimony opposing approval of lifting the 100,000 fish ceiling for Coos Bay STEP projects. Despite testimony from NFS and affected landowners, the Commission approved the request but they did so with conditions that our concerns be “addressed”. As part of their presentation, staff assured the Commission of an “extensive” public involvement process prior to actual approval of the projects (as delegated by the Commission). NFS was the sole presenter on this issue for the conservation community. We were also the sole voice for the conservation community at recent Oregon Board of Forestry hearings on the Forest Practices Act, COASTAL COHO: I prepared for and attended the Coastal Coho Stakeholders meeting. Conservation group members met preceding the meeting and agreed to delay further consideration of “desired status” pending release of the Federal Technical Recovery Team’s draft viability assessment in January. It is known that the TRT will incorporate different assumptions into their modeling “runs” and will also use additional models to verify conclusions. NFS continues to voice concerns about assumptions regarding uncertainty analysis and lack of adequate benchmarks and standards for recovery in the State’s recovery planning process. The Stakeholders Team subsequently agreed to postpone further consideration of desired status until February following release of the TRT report. I attended TRT meeting in Corvallis. Discussion centered on draft reports and finalizing summaries and conclusion sections of various documents including the co-managers draft of TRT’s viability assessment. Members expressed concern that TRT reports will generally be released after the State completes its recovery planning process, so relevance of work was questioned. NFS assured members that oversight and review is extremely important and we value their work tremendously. The team assured us their viability assessment would be released on January 18 prior to the next meeting of the Stakeholders Team. ODFW SWITCHES TO NATIVE TROUT IN CRANE PRAIRIE : This year the department of fish and wildlife will evaluate the benefits of two stocks of rainbow trout in Crane Prairie Reservoir, a productive lake in central Oregon plagued with illegal introductions of non-native fish such as small mouth bass. This has been the primary reason for the decline in the rainbow trout fishery, according to an ODFW news release. A $45,845 grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program, will help researchers understand the development of locally adapted hatchery stock from Crane Prairie redband trout as a means of preserving the genetic integrity of native fish. “We’re working to determine if trout from locally-derived broodstock of Crane Prairie origin could ultimately replace the artificially cultured hatchery stocks we have been using for decades,” said assistant district fish biologist Ted Wise. Overall, this project is consistent with the Native Fish Conservation Policy to manage non-native fish and hatchery-based fisheries to optimize user benefits while balancing the conservation of naturally produced native fishes. Hatchery rainbow trout have been stocked in Crane Prairie Reservoir since 1955. Past stocking has utilized 150,000 to 200,000 fingerlings with an average length from three to four inches. Biologists have transitioned to larger fish to avoid competition and predation from exotic species to improve fingerling survival and the fishery. In 1996, ODFW began a program to develop a new stock of hatchery fish derived from native redband trout from the Deschutes River. Eggs are incubated at Klamath Fish Hatchery and then raised to large fingerlings at the Fall River Hatchery near Sunriver and at the Wizard Falls Hatchery in Camp Sherman. Because these hatchery fish have a genetic background from native fish, they have less of an impact when mixed with native redband trout in the reservoir. Trout from this program have been stocked in the reservoir, and several other area lakes, since 1999. In order to collect necessary information, a seasonal technician will be hired to interview anglers at the reservoir during the 2006 and 2007 fishing seasons to determine how many rainbow trout they have caught and if they are the cultured, locally-derived or naturally produced native fish. Fish from each hatchery stock have been uniquely marked with fin clips for identification. “We will be looking at the number of rainbow trout caught by anglers, their size and whether they are the old hatchery stock or the newer stock” said Wise. “While the trout are the focal point of the creel survey, information gathered will include the entire fishery of Crane Prairie Reservoir.” In addition to the R&E Program grant, ODFW, Central Oregon Flyfishers, Sunriver Anglers and Crane Prairie Resort owner and operator, Pat Schatz, also are contributing to the project. COLUMBIA RIVER WINTER STEELHEAD RUN RECONSTRUCTION: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife along with other agencies has recently developed a data base for wild winter steelhead run size and escapement spanning years 2001 through 2005. This data base includes both Washington and Oregon wild winter steelhead populations, organized by stream. This period of time includes the period prior to improved ocean conditions, the period of improved ocean survival and the sudden decline that happened in 2005. To look at the summary page please go to the Native Fish Society . If you would like to see the escapement data, I will have that data up soon. There is more information coming for other species. ODFW IS LOOKING FOR A NEW DIRECTOR: The fish and wildlife commission is presently putting together a national search for a new director for the agency. The process has been opened up to public participation, asking people for recommendations and their view of problems that need to be resolved. If you would like to provide recommendations or address problems that a new director should solve, please contact Casaria Tuttle at 503-947-6035 or [email protected] DAM AND RESERVOIR PLANNED FOR KALAMA RIVER: A 180 page report called the Columbia River Mainstem Storage Options, Washington, Off-Channel Storage Assessment Pre-Appraisal Report identifies many new reservoir sites on tributaries to the Columbia River. This work was at the invitation of former Governor Locke of Washington State. The report states: “Any new storage facility will need to obtain water in a manner that will not jeopardize fish habitat and could be used to enhance both native and anadromous fisheries” (page 13). But due to the growing number of water rights in Washington and other concerns this proposal was developed to supply more water. The report states, “As the demand for both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of Columbia River water increases and the supply remains static or, as in recent years, decrease, it becomes more important to understand both the needs and the best beneficial uses of the available supply in order to satisfy the economic, environmental and social requirements of the region.” Wild salmon and steelhead have never survived the “beneficial uses of the available water supply” especially when it comes to dams being built. Given the commitment that this plan would “not jeopardizing fish habitat” it would seem that building a high dam with a 15-mile reservoir is out of the question. But the site is viable and attractive. As one fish biologist said, “I will have to read more to find out. It is on one hand scary, and on the other hand hard to get too worked up over just because is seems so absolutely ludicrous!” Report comments on building the dam on the Kalama: “The Kalama River site is located north of the City of Kalama, approximately 13.3 miles upstream from the confluence with the Columbia River. The proposed dam site is located at river mile 13.3. approximately 2.6 river miles upstream from the Lower Kalama Falls and 2.4 miles upstream from the Kalama Falls Salmon Hatchery. The straight line distance to the Columbia River is approximately 5.4 miles. The reservoir would extend upstream to approximately river mile 28 (about 15 miles). The dam and reservoir would be located in Cowlitz County in Township 6 and 7 North. Ranges 1 and 2 East on the USGS 1:100,000 scale Mount St Helens and Vicinity, Washington-Oregon topographic quadrangle. “ Current Analysis: “The Kalama River dam and reservoir site would have a full-pool elevation at 800 feet MSL, and would inundate portions of the middle Kalama River valley. The total potential storage volume is estimated at approximately 1,185,000 acre feet. Usable storage volume assuming a 10 percent reduction of total volume for inactive and dead storage, would be approximately 1,070,000 acre feet.” The Kalama River and its wild steelhead are targeted for extinction with this proposed dam. The upper Kalama is a cold, large stream and remarkably productive. It supports a wild summer steelhead population and resident rainbow trout of noteworthy size. We have lost the Cowlitz and the North Fork Lewis now we are to believe losing the Kalama is both beneficial and necessary.