Steelhead management plan DEIS

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Smalma, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. Another chance to comment on how steelhead are managed in this state!

    The draft EIS was posted online at on Wednesday. Click on the site and scroll down the list of documents to the steelhead plan released August 1st.

    The department will accept public comments on the draft received in writing through Aug. 30, as well as those received at the public meetings.

    All the meetings are scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., except for at Mill Creek.

    Aug. 13: Guy Cole Convention Center, Carrie Blake Park, Sequim - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Aug. 14: Department of Natural Resources Building, Room 172, 1111 Washington St. E., Olympia - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Aug. 15: WDFW Region 5 Office, 2108 Grand Blvd., Vancouver, Wash. - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Aug. 16: WDFW Region 4 Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek. - 7 to 9 PM

    Aug. 20: Wenatchee Public Library, 310 Douglas St., Wenatchee. - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Aug. 21: Grant County Fire District No. 5 Training Center, 12801 Road 2 N., Moses Lake. - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Aug. 22: Richland Public Library, 955 North Gate Drive, Richland. - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Tight lines
  2. thanks for the link. i just finished reading the 143p document.

    in a nut shell, this is just another bunch of smoke from a spinless organization. the 'preferred option' is going to do little to insure the survivabilty of wild steelhead, IMHO. the more agressive approach, which they do call out much to their credit, would seem to have elements which just might start a reversal in the declining trend of these fish. but, in true form, that is not the option that will come out of all of this.

    and, you will note that sport fishing is mentioned as being closed entirely should x and y come to pass. no where did i find mention of closing the indian net fishery under a similar scenario. you all do remember the wild hoh river steelhead at the seattle restaurant don't you???

    so, i will attend the closest meeting, already on the calendar, but i would expect that this agency is far from motivated to actually take the appropriate action to save wild steelhead.

  3. WDFW doesn't manage the tribal gillnet fishery. Trying to hold them accountable for that is kinda barking up the wrong tree... I'm gonna try to digest this thing over the weekend. Hopefully something good is in there!
  4. so the indians can do anything they want to regarding their gill net fishery????
  5. Co-managers, 50% share. They do what they will with their share... There is some influence from WDFW for a lot of the tribes, but for their 50% share they can choose to do what they want. I'm not sure of how the political process works for things like that, but suffice it to say, WDFW can't just "tell 'em how it is".

    For the Yakima and Quinaults it's a bit different as they are "self regulating tribes" and have different rules associated with how their fisheries get managed. Perhaps Kurt or Salmo has some more insight onto that.....
  6. Curt,

    Thanks for this.

  7. GT -
    I have to agree that there is some smoke and mirrors to the DEIS.

    While there is not much the State can do about the tribal fisheries (court mandated etc.) it is important that those fisheries are acknowledged and management reflect the portential impacts that fishery may have. Just one example - there is increasing talk of moving to intregrated hatchery programs which on the surface sounds OK. However when a Tribal gill net is directed at those hatchery fish how do they not catch the co-mingle wild fish that in theory would have exactly the same run timing. The result is that depending on the size of the hatchery program quite a few wild fish will be taken. Of course the response will that any short fall in naturally produced escapement can be balanced with hatchery spawners. I for one have some serious concerns about that approach; I remain very much a skeptic that even a intregrated hatchery produced steelhead will be nearly as productivity as a naturally produced fish and do not consider such fish a replacement for wild produced fish.

    I habitat section would have been laughable if it were not so sad. The alternatives call for increasing lobbying efforts by WDFW for better habitat protection. However if I recall correctly currently the majority of steelhead populations in this State are ESA listed and vast majority of the anadromous stream in the state have one or more listed salmonid (steelhead, Chinook, chum, coho, bull trout). The question of the day why isn't the agency charged with protecting those resources doing that all ready? Shouldn't that lobbying effort be the status quo if WDFW leadership is serious about the blight of those fish.

    Of course it may well be that WDFW doesn't have any real power or influence to change how the habitat is managed. In which case why include such empty actions in the alternatives of the DEIS.

    I encourage anyone interested in how the steelhead resource is managed in the future to take the time to read the document and supply comments; either written (email will do) and/or orally at one of the meetings. This process will likely shape steelhead management in the State for decades.

    Tight lines
  8. I finished reading the document last night, minus the appendices. I think the preferred alternative is much better than the current status quo. It gets us away from MSH management but we'll have to wait and see about the new VSP management. The habitat section is pretty poor as WDFW essentially passes the buck of habitat protection onto the other regulatory agencies (DOE, DNR etc.). About the only power WDFW has on habitat is enforcing passage issues like culverts and irrigation screens, although I hear that these issues cause a lot of problems. There is also language reducing the amount of released hatchery fish in Alternative 2 (preferred) in order to reduce competition and predation by hatchery released fish on wild fish. I question whether Alternatives 3 and 4 should even be considered because the status quo (3) has been used for how long and stocks have only gotten worse. 4 is even less protective; I don't see how these two could even meet the goal of the DEIS. I will attend a meeting but the only one I can go to is in Sequim. Any good fishing there this time of year since I will have the day to fish before the 6:30 meeting?

    PS- anyone who plans to fish for steelhead in the next several decades should be involved in this process. Many won't and down the road they will complain about how bad the fishing is in Washington.
  9. I see that the dead line for comments on the DEIS has been extended to 9/10/07.

    Suspect there will not be many comments. Attendance to date at the meetings has been light. Was at the Mill Creek meeting Thursday and Jim Buck reported that the total attendance for the 4 west side meetings combined has been 28 non-agency folks. For something that might shape steelhead management for decades the lack of interest is distrubing but can't say I'm surprised.

    Tight lines
  10. I enjoyed the meeting I attended.


    as a retired professional and one who knows this process much more than a majority of the folks here, would it be inappropriate to ask you to post a summary and potential impacts of each of the four alternatives? I think something like this might be helpful to many who frequent this board.
  11. I plan to attend the Wenatchee meeting, but the 143 page document is daunting both in size and potential yawn factor. Will they provide and overview of the alternatives at the meeting, so I can avoid reading the whole durn thing?
  12. Curt,

    Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to attend the Mill Creek meeting, I was required to work until 9 pm that evening. I suspect there are others who are interested in this that also had this same problem. Not all of us are on an 8 to 5 work schedule.
  13. Part of the problem is that 1.)the state isnt exactly doing a great job of getting this in the hands of steelhead concerned citizens. That being said, as people with opinions on the management of our steelhead, we have the obligation to seek information as actively as possible. I'm about a third of the way through the document and plan on finishing it and submitting comments today. I agree that the idea of a lack of temporal segregation between wild and hatchery fish is disturbing. Why not though model the broodstock programs after the one on Snyder Creek on the Duc. Just select brood stock from early entering fish, that way you keep the temporal segregation between the hatchery bred fish and the vanguard of the wild run. The assertion that hatchery brood stock provide a sound replacement for true wild stock is preposterous, but if the state insists on hatchery supplementation I would say such a program is preferable. Also its nice to see them shifting away from the MSH principles which in my opinion have largely failed. The guiding principles of abundance, productivity, diversity, and spatial structure could be promising but we'll see if any tangible changes in management decisions come down.

  14. Big Tuna -
    Yes there will be a power point presentation that will summarize the DEIS and ann opportunity to ask questions for clarification. One of the real benefits of attending the meeting.

    FT -
    I understand completely that folks will have competing demands for their time and really don't expect most people to attend the meetings. However given the popularity of bashing steelhead mangement the number of "armchair" opinions on how said management could be improved that one sees on the "net" or hears on the river seeing less than what will likely be a 100 people out of the more than 85,000 steelhead anglers actually attend the meetings is a little distressing -

    an indictation that maybe the issues is not as important to folks that their rhetoric indicates?

    Will -
    Not sure that I would opt for the Synder Creek program for my model for a hatchery program. Remember that early run timing does not necessarily equate to early spawning time. In fact because those Snyder Creek fish are wild fish they will have a spawn timing that will fall within that seen with the wild fish. Further because of the selectivity in the collection of the brood stock those fish would not be representive of the wild populations and likely would have an adverse on the productivity of the natural spawning populations in the Quillayute. In addition from the data that I have seen the Snyder Creek fish have returned at much lower rates than the Chamber Creek fish released in the same basin.

    Interestly the folks in BC have backed away from wild broodstocks as method of supplementing their population with the major exception of the Vedder where the program seems to be working well. According to their bios they can not explain why it works on the Vedder and not elsewhere in the Province. They also are using some wild brood stock for gene bank/rescue programs but that is a different issues with different limitations and standards for measuring success.

    BBD -
    I would be happy to provide my thoughts on the options as currently written if there is an interest. However I think you'll find than those thoughts will not sit well with either the State folks or many here.

    Tight lines
  15. Curt,

    I agree with you on the risks of introgression being high with a brood stock program such as the one at snyder creek. If I had my way, there would be hatcheries on a very limited number of rivers. I was just suggesting that as a way of avoiding increased harvest pressure on wild fish. Also, what about wild summer fish on the Sky and Stilly. How many of these fish are caught as bycatch in gill nets targeting salmon? Is there data available?

    I wrote some comments up and I'm wondering where to send them. Anyone know?

  16. Will -
    Send your comments to:

    Written comments should be addressed to SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, Regulatory Services Section, Habitat Program, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501.

    Actually here in the Boldt case area I think it is very probably that hatchery programs using wild fish as brood stock will actually result in increased pressure on the wild fish. How are the tribes to catch their "share" of the hatchery fish without catching the natural fish that will be 100% co-mingled with them? Those that are pushing intregrated hatchery programs using wild brood stock do not see that as a big problem as any wild fish escapement short falls can be more than made up with hatchery spawners. Given the long culture period for steelhead (more than 1 year) and the difficulty in using a brood stock that is representative of the wild population I feel strongly that is a dangerous game to be playing with the wild fish - little certainty alots of risk to the wild population.

    In the Puget Sound region since most of the summer steelhead return during May, June and July (pass through tidewater) very few Stilly or Snohomish fish are caught in tribal nets as there is virtually no in-river net fisheries. The one fishery that potential could catch a few would be the Tulalip bubble fishery; however they use Chinook gear so I would expect few to be caught. The latest year were there is some reported data is 2001 -see

    where there the Tulalips reported a summer catch of 3 fish and the Stillaguamish who have not fished in river fduring the summer or something like 20 years none.

    For rivers like the Green and maybe the coast the catches would likely be more but you asked only about the Stilly and Snohomish.

    Tight lines
  17. It is very nice to know we can contribute our opinion to the management agency this way. Thanks a lot for the heads up, Curt! Two thumbs up!

  18. There were about 20 people at the Wenatchee meeting. Jim Buck, who ran the meeting, confirmed that the turnout across the state has been very poor. He also shared that only letters and e-mails will be included as written comment, not the oral comments shared at the meetings. so get writing y'all.

    They extended the date. Dont miss out on your opportunity to weigh in on this management plan.

    "Jim Buck"...: :hmmm:

    He fought the Hoh River Trust. He fought the Wild Steelhead Coalition. He fought the reductions in Steelhead Harvest statewide, and he tried to dismantle the WDFW Commission in the process. And he fought the Wild Steelhead Harvest Moratorium tooth and claw.

    He was not reelected to be our State Representative out here on the Olympic Peninsula- he was replaced by Kevin Van De Wege who has become a regional champion of conservation and restoration of our wild waters and fish. This was what the people wanted. This is what the people voted for.

    Sounds like Jim Buck is the perfect guy to represent WDFW now. :rolleyes:

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