Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Nick Andrews, May 7, 2007.
Seems long over due!
speaking of overdue, where is the WDFW steelhead recovery plan???
HURRAY!!!! Great for steelhead!!!!
bawling: Bad for steelhead fishermen.....(At least for now....)
I'm guessing this means that we won't be able to C&R fish winter runs any more?
So what changes will this bring?
Recovery plan??? I suspect the confusion marbles are still rolling around in the cranium because they can't throw hatchery fish at the problem.
Steelhead listing means chance to recover irreplaceable Northwest icon
< forward >
May 7, 2007
Steelhead listing means chance to recover irreplaceable Northwest icon
Statement by Rob Masonis, Northwest regional director, American Rivers
Contact: Rob Masonis, 206-213-0330 x12
Amy Kober, 206-213-0330 x23
Seattle -- American Rivers praised today’s determination by NOAA Fisheries that Puget Sound steelhead are “threatened with extinction” and deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered Species Act protection is essential to restoring healthy, self-sustaining populations of steelhead in Puget Sound rivers, where these incredible fish once thrived.
Like salmon, a wild steelhead migrates thousands of miles in its lifetime, from river to ocean and back again, to give birth to its offspring. Despite its hardiness and resilience, it cannot survive in rivers where dams block access to spawning grounds, where too much water is withdrawn, or where bad land management destroys streamside forests and wetlands.
Rob Masonis, Northwest regional director for American Rivers, made the following statement:
Anyone who has had the privilege of fishing for or watching wild steelhead on Puget Sound rivers knows why we must restore them. Steelhead are a wild symbol of this place and a reason why so many of us love living here.
We are fortunate to already have an ambitious Chinook salmon recovery effort in Puget Sound that was designed from the bottom-up by local people. It’s not perfect, but it provides a great vehicle for making sure we do what it takes to recover steelhead as well. The Puget Sound salmon recovery plan should be expanded to encompass both Chinook salmon and steelhead.
There is considerable overlap between Chinook salmon and steelhead habitat, so many protection and restoration actions will benefit both fish. But, since steelhead typically migrate much further up rivers to spawn in smaller streams, recovering wild steelhead will require extending the scope of habitat protection and restoration actions into headwater streams.
The addition of steelhead to the list of Puget Sound species protected under the Endangered Species Act along with Chinook salmon, chum salmon and orca whales underscores the urgent need for a Sound-wide effort to restore this special place. Rivers must be a central focus of that effort, because so many species depend on healthy rivers for their survival.”
Much of the C&R "season" is already shut down. (Sky, Snoq, Stilly etc).
I saw a draft conservation plan from WDFW a few months ago it explored several options in regard to changing angling regulations for the anticipated listing of P.S. Steelhead. The preferred option was not to dramatically restrict recreational angling any further than it already is. They cited the economic impacts of shutting down recreational angling opportunities. Something to the tune of steelhead being worth $2000/ fish to the local economy. (fishing guides, tackle sales, hotel stays etc)
I personally would like to see single barbless hook restrictions added to any river that has wild steelhead, and of course more enforcement.
Hatcheries should be managed as having a first priority to protect/restore at the very minimum not interfere with wild steelhead. The fishing opportunities they provide should be secondary. Hatchery steelhead are currently "planted" in almost every river system in the State. How about trying a few river systems for wild-only production and see what we get?
One big benefit to this listing is that it will protect more waters than the existing Chinook listing. Steelhead ascend smaller streams in addition to the bigger rivers and will move higher up in a watershed as well.
I guess in particular, are the statements of threatened across ALL PS rivers, or only select ones? In particular does this stop the current extended C&R season on the Sauk/Skagit? If it means protection for all of the other rivers great, but if it's more selective, even better.
Definitely overdue! Finally saw a "catch and release" sign on the Queets river this year, but as far as I can tell, the nets were still in as often as in years past...:beathead: Does anybody know what wild steelhead were selling for per pound?
Agreed. I think you could also look at bull trout management, a federally-listed threatened species, as a precendence. Why folks still get to kill them as part of their trout limit on the Sno and Skagit, I have NO idea...but thats another topic. Critically-impacted steelhead runs (by WDFW's crazy metrics) are already closed to angling, but the larger, relatively less f***ed runss will likely continue under durrent management rules, hopefully with some beneficial changes.
Habitat protection will be the most important change, but will largely only affect public land and new private developments that require federal permitting. Current private land will be generally unaffected unless they receive federal funds, require new permits, etc. At least that is my understanding of the ESA protections.
It is on the development side that the steelhead listing gets REALLY interesting. Since steelhead tend to be a rogue fish this means that any little drainage connected to the sea could become big time protected. This is great for those of us who would like to see the rapid PNW development curtailed.
In the case of the chinook being listed this wasn't significant as the chinook don't suddenly appear in random streams or tribs; they stick to what little habitat they have left and for obvious life history reasons, need to stick together. With steelhead, they often go where they like, I have seen them in ditches in downtown Bellingham.....how is that for a sensative environment. The fisheries biologists know, and it is well documented, that the steelhead pop up just about anywhere connected to the sea and I hope they put this information to its best use as this information is now EXPLOSIVE!
It will be the ESA versus the development juggernaut now, more than ever, and things will get REALLY interesting.
I am excited....
Something like $2.25 a lb from what my hazy memory tells me...
Whatever, they're a day late and a dollar short. At least the cough "salmon" cough on the all you can eat buffet at the casinos will be cheaper.
Does this mean that building permits on the hundreds of undeveloped streamside acres in snohomish county are going to be revoked?
Let's hope so. My pessimistic side is almost certain that the definition of "habitat use" will get pigeonholed and lawsuited into a real narrow definition much like is happening to wetlands. But, there is hope and today is a good day for native fish and PNW aquatic ecosystems.
Now is the time for all of us as individuals, members of various fishing clubs and WSC to really charge the gates to make sure that things get under way. I'm glad that American Rivers stepped up to the plate to applaud this measure. We need a whole lot more voices though; without end.
While I am glad they are listed it truly brings to question what will change????
Several races of fish are listed threatened or endangered in the Columbia and has much changed (for the better) in the way they are being treated? NO. And the same will happen with Puget Sound steelhead. Nothing but small bandaids. As the human population expands so too will the habitat degradation (logging, agriculture, homes, estuary...). The hatchery myth will continue. As will overharvest. Status quo will remain.
i think several things could be implemented immediately:
- no fishing from floating devices, use it for transport, get out and wade. this immediately protects many runs which cannot be fished this way.
- single barbless hooks for all types of fishing gear
- zero wild fish kill, statewide
- no net fisheries by anyone, NAs, commercial or you and me!
then the hard stuff:
- significant buffer zones on all water fronting development
- strict septic rules to insure a very low probability of seepage
- significant restrictions on all products which are applied to soils that could leach into water systems, irrespective of who applies these products.
One thing that might result from this listing is tribal netting might have to stop once March rolls around to protect the wild fish since the hatchery fish are virtually done by then. Perhaps we will also see selective gear rules in place during the December-February winter hatchery run time.
However, based upon what I've seen with the Upper Columbia (defined as from the mouth of the Snake upstream and all the tribs therein) and Snake River (and its tribs) steelhead, nearly all of which have been listed as threatened (why do you think we don't get to fish the Wenatchee anymore? and why the Okanogan and Methow only intermittently?), I am not nearly as optomistic as many. The Lower Columbia has tribal netting, the Snake has tribal netting, the Okanogan has tribal netting, all the Puget Sound rivers have tribal netting through February (and some in March/April-the Skagit in particular), and these nets take wild and well as hatchery fish (and in the case of the Skagit nets in March/April, exclusively wild).
I would hope that their listing will stop the inane building on the flood plains of Puget Sound rivers though.
What makes you think that more water will be protected with the additional listing of steelhead in Puget Sound? Currently there are both Chinook and bull listed and several habitat conservation plans in place (as well as lic. to operate dams) that cover virtually all the habitat that steelhead and their juveniles might use. A careful look at the current "protections" in place shows that on many basins as much as 95% of the steelhead should be covered by those "protections". Those that are not are generally pretty minor in overall importance.
REgarding harvest of wild steelhead in Puget Sound - On many of the systems as many or more wild steelhead are killed from various hooking mortalities in recreational fisheries (either as adults or juveniles) as there are in tribal nets. If you are serious about addressing the remaining fishing impacts on our wild steelhead in Puget Sound we best look at our own fishing. Where should we go? Total year-round closures?
I'm afraid that you have hit the nail on the head. I will be shocked if any meaning action will be taken that significantly benefits the major limiting factors of those populations.
Your call to action is decades too late. It is easy to be cheer leaders on the side lines however meaningful changes in habitat protection is extremely unlikely. If were going to occur it would have with the two previous listings.
The one fisheries management option that may have paid some long term benefits to the O. mykiss populations in the Puget Sound rivers would have been more protection of the resident life histories of the species that uses those waters. Those fish represent an important diversity of the species and a genetic reserve when the anadromous portion of the population is in trouble. However NOAA fisheries nicely excluded the resident fish so if there is to be any protection of those fish it will have to occur outside of the ESA context.