Puget Sound steelhead declared "threatened"

#16
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.
Les Johnson
 

inland

Active Member
#17
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.

William
 

gt

Active Member
#18
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.

more ideas??
 

FT

Active Member
#19
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.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#20
ChrisW-
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?

Inland -
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.

Les -
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.

Tight lines
Curt
 
#21
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.

Tight lines
Curt
Curt,
What's the probability that WDFW will recognize this option, and write a recovery plan that includes some protections for resident "reserves" of O. mykiss without their hand being forced by the feds?

Pete
 
#22
ChrisW-
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.
I can think of about 15 miles of a small creek that is used by winter nates and src's with the property along side them for sale in large bundles. Basically a "Build Quadrant homes here" sign for developers. Hopefully this will keep the developers out of these places. Of course I doubt it.

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 not doubting this statement but I'm curious how you know this? i have always been under the impression that a net from bank to bank is a lot more deadly than a bunch of buzzbombs? Again, I'm seriously not doubting you, I'd just like know where your info came from.
 

509

New Member
#23
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.

It will be the ESA versus the development juggernaut now, more than ever, and things will get REALLY interesting.

I am excited....
Good luck.....I think you will need to go pass excited to mad and be very friendly with lawyers!!

Back in 2000 when Puget Sound fish were first listed.....The draft recovery plan written by the Clinton Administration talked about the benefits of paving 100,000 acres of land to aid in the recovery of the fish. Simms, I believe he is the King County executive (not sure what that is...we don't have those east of the Cascades) wanted immunity from lawsuits arguing that lawsuits would harm the recovery of the fish. I suspect it will not be much different this time around.

Even President Clinton stated " that he was sorry the impact ESA had on rural areas". The unstated policy is that urban areas are exempt.

It would be great to see a freeze on development west of the Cascade. I think hell will freeze over first.
 

inland

Active Member
#24
Smalma,

You're right. This listing is just a 'feel good' piece of paper. Likely will limit any sport angling opportunities on the last remaining open river for wild fish (Skagit). Beyond that hatchery fish will still be produced. Land use will remain unchanged. The nets will continue to harvest.

The 'worldview' of our culture simply won't allow for any real options for compromised ecosystems to heal. As the population demands increase so too the pressures that are causing the limiting factors.

William
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#25
It will be interesting to see what this listing will mean in terms of future fishing opps. Status quo with our current seasons perhaps? I don't think closing rivers to fishing is the answer. The Nisqually is a great example of that. I believe it closed in 1993 and is still getting terrible returns.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#26
Pete -
The State's statewide steelhead plan pays some lip service to the resident life history when talking about the diversity of steelhead.

In the Fisheries management section
Action #1 calls for protection of "juvenile steelhead and resident rainbows by closing fisheries during the spring smolt migration period and through the use of minimum fish size, gear restrictions and bag limits during periods when the fisheries are open".

To provide meaningful protection of the resident rainbows using the above it is my opinion that there would have to be year-round bait bans and large minimum sizes for the rainbows or strictly CnR on those fish. It is pretty interesting in that every anadromous stream that I can think of that is closed to fishing has significant resident rainbows.

In the research section
Action # 7 calls "Build on studies in the Cedar River, Yakima River, and other locations to develop a better understanding of the relationship of resident and anadromous O. mykiss."

The plan will be going out for SEPA review (and maybe NEPA with the listing) and we will have a shot at recommending additional beefing up of the life history diversity questions. A couple of us have been working on the development of what I called Wild Salmonid Management Areas where fish would be allowed by it would be limited to selective gear rules and only hatchery (fin clipped) steelhead can be retained (all other fish must be released). I will proposing the application of that idea for the Sauk and the Skagit above the Cascade for this year's regulation change proposals.

BJG -
Are you sure that the stream isn't all ready covered by some other listings, HCPs, etc?


Tight lines
Curt
 
#27
BJG -
Are you sure that the stream isn't all ready covered by some other listings, HCPs, etc?


Tight lines
Curt
I, honestly have no Idea. I do know that there is new construction going on alongside it already and large parcels of land are for sale bordering the new construction for at least 8 miles. Based on the trend of leggo houses being assembled every 10 seconds in the area, I am assuming that the entire valley will be developed over the next 10 years. Buffer zones or not, chemicals are going to run off of those pretty new lawns and the water has to go somewhere right?
 

Smalma

Active Member
#28
BJG -
Don't get me wrong - I agree 100% that such development is going to harm the fish. However the reality is that the evidence is pretty darn clear; having ESA listed fish in those watersheds have not detered such activity at all. Chinook have been listed since 1999 and the explosive growth in this State has continued unabated. It will not stop with another listing. Society has decided that such growth and all the impacts that go with it (developement, water withdrawls, power, etc) is a price the fish will have to pay and ultimately the fishers with pay in spades as all the various populations potential productivity will go to support such activities. The result is there will be no productivity room left to support any fishing activity (including hooking mortality).

I just wish that we as a society would be honest enough to admit that is the priority and that fishing is doomed instead of playing this "games".

Tight lines
Curt
 

FT

Active Member
#29
Inland,

Unfortunately, I think you and Curt are right on this, it is a a way to let people feel good about their part in having had the fish decline so much. Now the fish are listed, so it is not their fault.

And just think how many more folks from Puget Sound will now be going to the Olympic Peninsula because those rivers have runs healthy enough to allow a wild fish harvest.:eek:
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#30
While the machine is in motion, it does look impossible to stop. But each person here has a responsibility to help out and try to make a difference. If something in your neck of the woods wants to do rezoning, go to the meeting. If you can help reduce the amount of fertilizer you use on your own lawn, do so... EDUCATE THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR KIDS ABOUT THESE ISSUES!

If enough speed bumps show up, we may slow this thing down....