An interesting view of the world by the WDFW

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ChrisC, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Cruik Active Member

    Posts: 431
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +115 / 0
    The dam argument is a bit more complex than I feel equipped to discuss, but I agree the policy statement is pretty poorly written. Using the word 'conservative' for the coastal management plan is really a poor choice. I'm sure they meant 'conservative' to refer to the fact that it is not as extreme as the Puget Sound plan in terms of restrictions. However, 'conservative' to many people might refer to a plan more centered on species conservation, which is not the case.
  2. Klickrolf Active Member

    Posts: 491
    Klickitat, Washington
    Ratings: +95 / 0
    Don't disagree with anything you've said...except for mitigation, it's never worked and is (was) the catch-word for justifying mistakes and allowing them to continue...and I think we all know that nothing regarding anadromous PNW fisheries has ever been successfully mitigated! It's a fallacy! Chinook, sockeye and steelhead deal pretty well with dams...other anadromous species less so...but dams provide a ton of benefit, I'm not anti dams (except for some)...that's another story. Farming shouldn't have to be effected, just drop the irrigation in-take levels, the Columbia's a big river! Options exist for improvement but the same old, same old justifications and excuses continue to win the day...Why? Politics is the problem and politics never solves anything!!
  3. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,860
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +53 / 1
    Let me rephrase your sentence to HATCHERY Chinook, sockeye, and steelhead deal pretty well with dams...
  4. papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    Posts: 2,182
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +53 / 0
    If it were not for farming we wouldn't have much in the way of food, now would we?
    I'd be supprised if we could even survive without food, but then that's just me.

  5. Steffan Brown ...

    Posts: 548
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +64 / 0
    I'm curious why hatchery fish deal with dams better than native fish. I don't want to hijack the thread, so please feel free to PM me if necessary.
  6. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,860
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +53 / 1
    It's sheer numbers of releases and artificial rearing compared to a finite amount of wild fish taking the same journey, despite being better fit and adapted to negotiate the challenges on the Columbia. Essentially, "salmon without rivers" by mitigating the lost habitat above the dams by flooding the river with hatchery fish.
  7. Derek Day Rockyday

    Posts: 566
    Ratings: +141 / 0
    It's about it being expensive (only to the farmers) to cmake a break from the status quo. I wasn't sugesting that they give up all of their water rights or not send their crops to market. Just that they don't want to change the way things work in the basin. If you look at the balance sheets (again if anyone hasn't seen the Rand Institute report google "rand institute snake river dams"), it's farmers who would have to change what thier doing. Follow the money--find the road block.

    BTW...Americans would do well to eat less.

    Back to the main subject (the columbia isn't really about WDFW)

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    April 26, 2012
    Contact: Charmane Ashbrook, (360) 902-2672

    Public invited to propose
    changes to recreational fisheries

    OLYMPIA – People with ideas about how to improve state sportfishing rules can submit their proposals to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) through June 15.

    Only those proposals that are necessary for resource conservation or provide a significant recreational benefit should be submitted to WDFW, due to a moratorium issued by the Governor’s office on non-critical rule making.

    Craig Burley, fish program manager for WDFW, said people who would like to submit a proposal can use a new online form available on the department’s website.

    “We are looking to improve the rule proposal process and make it more user-friendly with this online form,” Burley said.

    The form, as well as information about the sportfishing rule change process, can be found at A printed copy of the rule change process and proposal form may be obtained by calling (360) 902-2700.

    Sportfishing rule changes developed through this process will be available for public review and comment in early September. The final opportunity to submit written comments to WDFW on those proposals will be Dec. 15.

    The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW, is scheduled to receive a briefing on the rule proposals during its December public meeting in Olympia.

    The public also will have an opportunity to provide comment on the proposed rule changes during the commission's January 2013 meeting. The commission will take final action on the 2013-14 sportfishing rule changes during a public meeting in February 2013.

    I think we should start a new thread to help craft a coherent message to send to DFW. It will help if a lot of people are mad about the same thing/use similar language.
    Tyler Sadowski likes this.
  8. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
    Ratings: +24 / 0

    Derek - appreciate you highlighting this news release.

    Unfortunately, the new web form reflects not only their tone deafness with regard to public comment, but it also just makes it more efficient for WDFW and their commission to rebute and ignore public comment and testimony. Other board members have said this - they been an active participant over the years and submitted comments, attended WDFW public hearings - only to be repeatedly ignored and feel that the entire process is only for show. Now I completely understand and agree with my participation in the process. What a collective waste of resources and our time, with little in terms of tangible results (steelhead recovery or recreational opportunity).

    As a counter example to this process, California also has Endangered Species Act designation of their North Coast steelhead as "Threatened" but still allows recreational fishing with the typical regulation as "Oct. 1 through Mar. 31. Only barbless hooks may be used" (with no wild retention). This regulation is in place for many coastal rivers with runs at a fraction of those recently closed across Puget Sound. No lengthy rule making process with bureaucratic infrastructure overhead, but simplicity that enables recreational opportunity but more importantly, an engaged constituency that is more likely to step up and respond to habitat destruction threats. The last point is where I think WDFW is entirely clueless and lacks a long term perspective - by closing key PS steelhead fisheries, it will take less than a generation for people to forget and actively care about something that once was a precious resource and experience that individuals wanted to share with their friends, sons and daughters. We all know that WDFW lacks the broader authority to regulate and address broader habitat threats and yet the agency also lacks the foresight and creative energy to enable a constituency (of those who care about steelhead) to survive. Why not just eliminate what we have in development restrictions, runoff protection since these regulations protect something that exists only on paper?

    With its 9-member commission (why do you need 9 members other than to satisfy various interests) appointed by the governor, who then appoints the director, WDFW is an agency that is unfortunately, in practice, designed for appeasement and making poor compromises. Other than being accountable to the governor, the agency is free to do as it pleases - we can't vote out the director or its commission members.

    While I will again participate in public comment, I now believe that we will have a bigger impact by asking legislators to reconsider an earlier legislative proposal to integrate WDFW into the Department of Natural Resources. One only needs to compare DNR's news releases (and their budget) to WDFW's and conclude which agency has broader impact and political clout:
    Furthermore, with the head of DNR being an elected official, he or she at least has a fair degree of accountability to the public. The last commissioner was voted out, for example, due in part to the perception that he lacked oversight of logging practices that ultimately resulted in massive slides and flooding along I-5. Additionally, the current commissioner, Goldmark has demonstrated the audacity to successfully force the attorney general, McKenna, to represent the department to help protect its public land holdings:

    I have yet to see (and do not ever expect to) anything in this regard from WDFW.
    Dehlan G likes this.
  9. Chris Bellows aka. topwater

    Posts: 1,506
    The Salt
    Ratings: +558 / 0

    correct me if i'm wrong but isn't the director appointed by the commission and not directly by the governor?

    this doesn't remove politics entirely from the process, but minimizes it a bit which was the reason behind the referendum that passed overwhelmingly removing the power of the governor to appoint wdfw's director.

    other than that i pretty much agree with the rest of your post.
  10. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Thanks - for catching that. Corrected.
  11. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,822
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +570 / 0
    Do you really think that WDFW is going to listen to some bonehead flyfisher instead of their own biologist? If you want your comment to wind up anywhere but the circular file you'd better be packin' some pretty impressive credentials...and a busload of lawyers.
  12. Klickrolf Active Member

    Posts: 491
    Klickitat, Washington
    Ratings: +95 / 0
    Too bad, you're mostly correct...but they don't listen to their own biologists either. It's not about science, it's about policy...and money.
  13. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    Sure feels like it - below was WDFW's explanation and response to the very unpopular Puget Sound steelhead closure proposal (now in effect):

    Several comments are strongly opposed to the early closure of these rivers and lost fishing opportunity.
    Some comments received request catch and release fishing for wild steelhead. There have been
    suggestions for adjustments to specific rules, as well as requests that only barbless hooks be used.
    Four people testified about wild steelhead protection at the Public Hearing, which occurred at the January
    7th Commission meeting. One person requested that the Department not close the lower Skagit fishery
    because fishers don’t target wild steelhead there. Three people requested that the department do more
    toward conservation than just the stream strategy.
    Staff Recommendation: Adopt as proposed.
    Commission Action: Adopted as proposed."

    Tone deafness and a lack of flexibility - to many public comments including mine which brought up arguments such as those I mentioned above and the likelihood of increased poaching.
  14. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,737
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +530 / 0
    I think folks here have missed the boat.

    Clearly the new steelhead strategy for the Puget Sound rivers has been a success. You are just looking at the wrong yardstick when it comes to measuring success!

    It is all about the appearance of doing something not whether it actually makes any significant difference to the ovarall steelhead abundance. They can say they are doing what they can for the fish with somewhat a straight face; at least as long as folks do not look too closely behind the curtain!

    If indeed the goal was to reduce the impacts from the interaction between anglers and juvenile steelhead the focus would have been where that interaction is the greatest. On most Puget Sound streams 50% to 90% of the steelhead spawning (and by default juvenile rearing) occurs in the main stems and largest tributaries (those waters that historically were open during the winter steelhead seasons. In addition clearly the vast majority of fishing effort (summer and winter) occurs on those very same waters. One would think that the logic place to apply that stream strategy would be those areas where the maximum numbers of juvenile steelhed and angling pressure overlap.

    Instread the focus was on the smaller tributares (above and below barriers), beaver ponds, etc. Of course the only users effect would be those anglers looking for some resident trout opportunities. That again is a success as it successfully shifted the focus from those mainstem anglers targeting hatchery steelhead and abundant salmon stocks. Heaven forbid that regulations be put into effect that might limit those angler's success in chasing those stocks.

    WW -
    I'm not sure where we can find someone willing the take up the challenge of making a difference. To date it is pretty clear that no one has had the necessary credentials and local knowledge to capture the "ear" of either the State or Commission. IMHO the best chance is a long term effort directed at educating the commission on what we see as the issues and with the goal of re-opening consideration of the State's policies via updating its state wide steelhead management policy.

    tight lines
  15. sopflyfisher Active Member

    Posts: 479
    Where the fish are located
    Ratings: +245 / 0
    The term management is a joke as to concerning or fisheries in this state. That whole snippett is a joke. Someone should be publicly ashamed then have their ass kicked. "success" ok whatever. There was a time when the department defined success as fishable rivets and lakes with healthy stocks. What a joke.
  16. CurtisS Member

    Posts: 123
    Amanda Park, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Don't mean to pump myself up here but I just put up a new post on my blog about the new rules. Basically this is a band-aid the WDFW is throwing over our area so they can say "HEY! we're doing something!". Doug Rose also has an article up about it on his blog. More coming from him on it soon I think. It may be a good idea to protect water where bait fisherman targeting trout may accidentally take salmon and steelhead smolts. The way they implemented it however. Is absolutely ludicrous.
  17. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,233
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +100 / 0

    You absolutely nailed it! And you know all too well about WDFW's desire to look like they are doing something, instead of actually listening to and following the advice of the biologists with knowledge of a specific river. Truthfully, I don't know how you and Jim managed to keep your jobs for all those years since I know both of you were not known to be quiet when it came to steelhead.
  18. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,337
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +344 / 16
    I am an avid fisherman and truly love the sport, But I love the earth and its wildlife more for without them what would it all be worth. I would support a decision to close all fishing on a massive level, even globally for many many years to allow the environment to regain its strength. But until that day comes, and it never will.... I will continue to do my part to protect what is still thriving. Thats all you can do I suppose.
  19. shawn k Member

    Posts: 697
    buckets worldwide
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    California does not have Treaty tribes that will net if we are allowed to have a CR fishery and on all of the streams you have mentioned they still allow the use of bait.