Commissioners Meeting Topics

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by _WW_, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. It seems that this year we are going to get a few more people in Olympia at the Commissioners Meeting on April 12th. Needless to say, this is awesome!

    Some of you may be on the fence as to whether you are going or not and hopefully the following will help to get you there.

    The basic scenario is this:

    At the meeting itself, there is a reception table where you fill out a speaking request form with your name and a two-three word description of what you would like to talk about...such as "Skagit Closure". Inside the meeting there is a table set up with two microphones and the chair will call people up to speak in the order that the requests were filled out. There is a three minute timer and when it dings you need to get it wrapped up. Salmo, Smalma, and myself will use up our entire three minutes to get our point across from various viewpoints.

    If you think you want to go the full three minutes, it amounts to about ¾ of a type written page if you speak at a normal pace. I would type out either some notes or an actual statement to read. Practice it out loud a couple of times and time yourself.

    There is absolutely no need for any of you to speak for the entire three minutes. A simply put sentence or two in support will be sufficient. If you can throw in a personal angle it's a nice touch.

    So...what do you say?

    Several things come to mind. One important question to put to the commissioners is to ask where WDFW might be in their Skagit Steelhead Management Plan? Is there a timetable for completion? Is there a place or method to get progress updates?

    Remind them that it has been nearly 7years since the Puget Sound ruling. Ask them how hard can it be to draft a management plan for the most conservatively managed river in the state?

    Remind them that the ESA defines an endangered species as one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and a threatened species as one that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Does this sound like Skagit run?

    Basin by basin management needs to be mentioned – repeatedly. Drawing up a draft plan for all of Puget Sound is too monumental of a task – but a single river, one that is healthy and has a long history of successful management practices should be easy by comparison.

    The Skagit is the most likely prospect for immediate reopening. Nothing new needs to be done – simply restore what once was.

    And of course, if any of you have topic ideas please post them below.

    Commissioners Meeting:

    April 12th 8:30 am

    Natural Resources Building

    1111Washington St SE

    Olympia, WA

    First Floor, Room 172
  2. Up at Rockport last weekend several people mentioned how much they have spent traveling outside of Puget Sound to do some steelhead fishing. These funds can be critical for two reasons; the most obvious is that local business suffer a loss of revenue but more importantly is that it demonstrates that steelhead fishermen will pay to get their fishing in. Again, a percentage of these funds could conceivably be captured by WDFW and put towards monitoring, special permits, enforcement, etc.

    The Skagit was once a world class destination, and could be again. In years past people flocked to it like they do the Skeena system today. If you would like to see how much anglers spend driving past the Skagit to get to BC, plan a trip to the Skeena for a week and see what it costs you.
  3. Just got the day off I will be there. Thanks for this.
    constructeur and KerryS like this.
  4. I'll be there. If possible, I will speak and reference the amount of money that I have paid the Province of British Columbia this year for the privaledge of fishing there.

    Go Sox,
  5. Sooner or later the word "funding" will be interjected into the conversation. Remind them that compared to the cost per fish of hatchery returns - wild fish are basically free.
  6. Letter sent... saving gas, road wear and fish.
  7. Why not sooner? Money talks, and depending on how you look at it wild fish in this fishery are going to be far from free with all the data NOAA is going to want from them. This upswing in abundance isn't going to last forever so best to settle it while you have enough fish to back it up. Fortunately this year is looking good so far.

    It would be interesting to do a poll on how much folks would be willing to pay if drawn for a Skagit Spring C&R fishery permit. It being April 6th and the Sauk near Sauk reading just under 5k I could sell a few space heaters for a permit...
  8. Have you posted an email address to address the commissioners?

  9. But they are protected and will not be available to you... the latest move by the WFC has effectively salted that mine.
  10. Good catch Leland!

    Here it is:

    Data? If they want data let them go out and collect it. Why put the burden on the state? The state can issue catch record cards for marking down wild fish encounters and share that with them. If they need more than that then I suggest we let NFMS/NOAA put some boots on the ground and collect it.

    There are two main ingredients to conducting a fishing season. Fish, and anglers. Neither of these are in short supply on the Skagit. The fish have done their part. The remaining obstacles are man-made - mostly due to poor planning at the federal level by not recognizing that every stream will recover at a different rate. A blunder of the first magnitude... :) You'd think they would want to correct such an obvious Keystone Cops moment on their part as soon as possible! Seven years and counting...tick tock, tick tock...

    Is there anyone there that wants to man up or woman up and take charge?

    Curt thinks the feds will get sued when we get our season back...What, me worry? If they haven't figured out how to turn something on that they turned off, then maybe they should get sued.

    There is a 35 year history of successful management on the Skagit - and in recent decades the management policies have been more conservative than in the past. For all intents and purposes there was an ongoing management plan when the decision to list PS was made. You can read the decision for your self and note where they refer to the Skagit run as "robust" in one sentence and then worry about a decline(?) in another.

    Last year I went on a tagging operation with the Upper Skagit Tribe. During our conversation it was mentioned that counting escapement is basically done by the same methods as it was in the 70s!
    Now think how things have changed in the last 40 years...hopefully the guy was exaggerating some but part of me thinks that he might not have been.
    plaegreid, flybill and bennysbuddy like this.
  11. I think you're missing a 3rd ingredient. It is my understanding that NMFS oversees recovery and the state and tribes co-manage fisheries and escapement. A Skagit Spring C&R fishery would have to be actively managed for impacts by creeling the fishery like they do on the Peninsula and Upper Columbia tributaries or even out at Neah Bay docks or on the water at Mid-Channel, up at Baker Lake, etc... Those are State employees in State boats and vehicles talking to people real time and counting effort. Forecasting isn't always right and if impacts are exceeded in a Spring C&R fishery your buddies at the Upper Skagit Tribe are gonna raise hell if they can't have as many Springer or Sockeye days and NMFS would raise hell if the co-managers take too much of the run. WDFW knows NMFS is gonna want the data and so why keep funding out of the conversation when it's pretty well understood a lot of anglers are willing to accept this as a pay to play fishery? Is it too early? WDFW is on board!
  12. I am no doubt missing a ton of ingredients. Why must the state do creel surveys? What does that have to do with escapement? Where is the evidence that C&R fishing is even a limiting factor? Catch records of wild fish encounters would in theory "creel" everyone instead of just those at the boat launches.

    Curt has participated in creel surveys in the past and will tell you that you'll never meet a bigger bunch of liars in your life! Just ask him...:)

    My understanding is this happens on a regular basis already and is compensated for during the next season with reduced impacts or as usual.

    The last guy I talked to at WDFW, Ron Warren, estimated NFMS required monitoring would cost around $150,000! Skagit anglers may pay to play - but not to the tune of $150,000

    Seriously, why would a 90 day fishery cost $150,000/($1,667 per day) to "creel" - and what would be revealed that wouldn't be revealed by catch record cards?

    Once again, I suggest that if NFMS requires more data than what can be revealed on cost-effective catch record cards then they need to put some boots on the ground and go get it themselves and quit throwing up obstacles to hinder an opportunity for a great fishery denied us by their ESA listing blunder!

    If their job is to oversee recovery, then I suggest they do just that, somewhere else. The Skagit does not need recovery, so by extension, we should not need NFMS.
  13. Does anyone else find it ironic that at the commissioners meeting they will give me three whole minutes to complain about a management plan that we have been waiting nearly seven years for?
    constructeur, Salmo_g and KerryS like this.
  14. Nope, nothing ironic about that at all.
  15. I'm not at all concerned with the details like monitoring considering where we are at. We'll show up at the commision meeting again. We'll make a scientifically cogent argument and be credible. We will stay positive, while being firm. OS represents is a new direction. It requires a different approach from what citizen groups generally utilize. Fortunately, a different approach is what we have. Details and percieved issues will arise over time and we'll push through and by them. The ball is moving forward.

    I appreciate all the effort put forth so far. We just gotta keep moving forward. I look forward to seeing all of you on Saturday.


    Pleased to hear it looks good thus far!

    Go Sox,
  16. I added FSA to my ignore list... its just like removing the knucklehead from class on the day of the field trips. Sweet Jesus its soooo worth the effort to utilize the ignore feature.
  17. I agree with Charles; let's not get mired down in details and lose sight of the big picture/goal.

    The priority has to be establish a mechanism by which fishing is restored. Once that is done (or at least the process is well under way) we/they can worry about the other details. Without a doubt questions like monitoring will come up and we will cross that bridge at that time. With the Skagit conservative management paradigm and the Status of the wild Skagit steelhead where we are suggesting fishing be allowed I can see where one could argue that the monitoring standard would be different than say the Methow. Have to wonder what "monitoring" is taking place on the Eel.

    Chris Johnson and Ed Call like this.
  18. Wayne, love reading your posts. Thanks for the energy. Curt and Steve, thanks for the inside perspective and scientific support. Looking forward to attending, or hearing of the progress if my daughters' schedule can't allow for me to be in Olympia in time.
    flybill likes this.
  19. Well, (I hate starting a sentence off with 'well') whatever monitoring system they have in place now or at least in 2009-10 was good enough for them to determine the Skagit should be closed. Why the hell does it need to be improved to open the river to C&R fishing? The monitoring system in place has worked ok for 30 years. I guess everything can be improved but I sure as hell don't see this as a reason for the Skagit to remain closed.
  20. The reason I mentioned it at this early stage is simple. Monitoring and it's expense is the first bullet fired back at me by every person at WDFW I have spoken with in the past year. They listen politely and then begin "Yeah, but monitoring yada yada yada..." The feeling I am getting is that until a feasible solution is found, discovered, or at least discussed, there is no reason to pursue a mechanism to restore the season.

    What I do find encouraging is that they do not argue with the science or the escapement numbers being season prohibitive - it's just that dang 'NFMS monitoring/funding thing' that will probably be required that allows them to throw up their hands and move on to some other project.

    I think it is important to try and discover three things at the meeting:
    Is a Skagit basin management plan on somebody's work schedule?
    Who is assigned to do it?
    What can we do to help?

    In my business experience two things are certain; If its not on the work schedule and assigned to someone, it never gets done...period.

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