Impact of the Carlton Firestorn on the Methow?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by fastpitchpete, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. fastpitchpete

    fastpitchpete Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Messages:
    117
    Media:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA.
    In the aftermath of the Carlton Complex fire - and it ain't over over here by a long shot - what will be the short term impact of the devastation on the river? With the riparian zone torched, how much will the water heat up? To temps that are lethal to trout? Should the WDFW implement an immediate closure? Willing to sacrifice a season for the good of the resource. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,563
    Media:
    24
    Likes Received:
    907
    Location:
    Edgewood, WA
    Absolutely...no debate IMO. The rivers have survived these natural events throughout their history and will survive this one as well.
     
  3. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    2,647
    Media:
    2
    Likes Received:
    579
    Location:
    Edmonds, Wa.
    I was thinking of planning on a trip this fall, provided it opens. I'm sure the local businesses could use the traffic. I don't see how it could hurt the resource, as the point is to rid the river of some fish.
     
  4. fastpitchpete

    fastpitchpete Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Messages:
    117
    Media:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA.
    Freestoneangler, I think you missed my qualifier: "short term impact".

    There is no doubt whatsoever that in the short run, the impact is negative; here is one good summary:

    https://www.extension.org/pages/23715/wildfire-and-its-effects-on-streams-and-rivers#.U-cIrJ3n-M8

    What is "un-natural" about this natural event is the size and intensity of the wildfire due to a century + of fire suppression.

    So the debate should recognize the reality of short-term negative impacts and ask: "What is best for these stressed and threatened species?"

    In the short term, of course.
     
  5. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,563
    Media:
    24
    Likes Received:
    907
    Location:
    Edgewood, WA
    My response was specific to your question whether I'm willing to give up a season of fishing (or two, or three...) if needed and deemed "best for these stressed and threatened species". That answer is yes -- whether short term or long term.
     
    fastpitchpete likes this.
  6. fastpitchpete

    fastpitchpete Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Messages:
    117
    Media:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA.
    I agree with you
     
  7. JohnB

    JohnB Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    22
    I posted a reply in the other thread you posted in. I'll cross post it over here. I agree with the other posters that if it was necessary I'd be happy to not fish the Methow for a season, there are plenty of other fish in other rivers. I do not think that shutting down the trout fishery nor the possible steelhead season is necessary.
     
  8. JohnB

    JohnB Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    22
    Pete I work in the fisheries field and have a solid grasp on the science behind this. There was little damage to the tall trees in the riparian area of the Methow itself, some of the tributaries yes, but the mainstem Methow no.

    If you look at USGS streamflow gauges you can see that the Methow flow in Pateros is currently 480 cfs, in Winthrop it is 355 and the Twisp River is running at 65 cfs. What I'm getting at with this is that of the 480 cfs that is passing the gauge in Pateros 420 cfs is originating from above Twisp where there has been minimal burning. What I'm getting at with this is that very little of the flow of the Methow is coming from tributaries in the lower river that were really hammered by these fires, and with a mostly intact riparian area in the lower valley I do not think that stream temperature is going to spike.

    I'm not saying that there are not impacts from fire on a watershed. I get that. I'm saying that your concerns about the water temperatures of the Methow this late summer and fall are unnecessary and that there is not any need to sacrifice a fishing season.
     
    Lex, fastpitchpete and Salmo_g like this.
  9. fastpitchpete

    fastpitchpete Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Messages:
    117
    Media:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA.
    Good analysis, JohnB, and I thank you for sharing your perspective.

    I certainly recognize that fire has been part of the ecosystem for millennia, and that wildfires can contribute to the health of the system with the addition of nutrients, woody debris, etc. Just concerned about the impact in the short term on threatened and endangered species who have enough on their plate as is.

    Thanks for increasing our knowledge on the subject.
     

Share This Page