PS Chambers Creek lawsuit settlement??

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Smalma, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    http://nwsportsmanmag.com/editors-bl...lhead-lawsuit/

    By Andy Walgamott, on April 25th, 2014
    Hatchery steelhead smolts would be released into the Skykomish River this spring and next, but they would end for 12 years on the Skagit, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court today.
    A proposed settlement between the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, which was sued over Chambers Creek early winter steelhead production without a federal permit by the Wild Fish Conservancy, says that the state agency would also pay the Duvall-based group $45,000 in lawyers fees.
    The papers, signed by WFC’s director Kurt Beardslee today and WDFW director Phil Anderson yesterday, indicate that a native broodstock program will be studied on the mainstem Skagit and its tribs other than the Sauk.
    They also appear to OK continued releases of Chambers steelhead after the state secures a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service for its programs on the North Fork Nooksack, Green, North Fork Stillaguamish, Snoqualmie and Dungeness.
    Previously, WFC had been trying to get WDFW to halt releases in Snoqualmie and Nooksack as well as the Skagit for a dozen years, according to a letter from Michael Grossman at the state Attorney General’s office.
    The documents indicate that the Skykomish may receive more than the 180,000 smolts that were otherwise going to be released into it in the coming weeks.
    Jim Scott, Fish Program manager for WDFW, says that being able to continue releases into the Sky was one of two key points.
    “The big thing for us is they won’t sue us for 2 1/2 years of our other programs,” he says, pointing to Puget Sound Chinook, an “immensely” important hatchery fishery. “We were very concerned that was the next step for them.”
    More details as we parse the papers and get comments from WDFW.

    A Skagit wild brood stock would be a huge step backwards for the Skagit wild steelhead if it comes to pass. The fact that WFC would agree to such a potential program as part of the settlement IMHO is a clear signal that the suit was never about wild steelhead.

    Curt
     
  2. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    It seems to me that we have a fairly good handle on the effects of hatcheries on steelhead in the river. We have no actual idea of interactions in the salt, especially in the sound wher the bulk of mortalities occur.
    By allowing the other PS streams to have hatch fish, nothing is gained for the Skagit fish either. They will still swim next to and with the other PS basing hatch fish.

    Go Sox,
    cds
     
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  3. Tyler Sadowski

    Tyler Sadowski Active Member

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    Dammit. I was hoping for a better outcome. Sad to see the sky will still be planted. I know others feel differently but this is insanity and its finest. Well that kinda chaps my ass.
     
  4. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    I'm kinda surprised it was the Sky and not the Snoqualmie
     
  5. Tyler Sadowski

    Tyler Sadowski Active Member

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    That surprising too. The snoq seems like a better choice to plant if that is our only option. The sky has much better water in my opinion and also much better spawning habitat. What does this do for our seasons though? I have a feeling they will still be closing early ?
     
  6. ChaseBallard

    ChaseBallard bushwhacker

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    While I personally think this is an excellent compromise that promotes wild fish recovery and science-based hatchery management (or hatchery closure, if that's what the NMFS scientists feel is needed) while still preserving angling opportunity, I had the exact same thought about the Snoqulamie.

    The available wild spawning potential for the Skykomish seems much greater than that in the Snoqualmie below the falls, why not dump it full of plants and let the bonkers have their go?
    Restoring wild steelhead runs is important, but like it or not, so is angling opportunity and the economic impact (and the interest in fishing and fish) it provides. We needed a compromise.

    As for the Skagit broodstock possibility, the Upper Skagit and Sauk tribes were never going to just sit quietly if WFC won the lawsuit, and WFC should have known that. The possibility for a future broodstock program gives them a path forward that is less detrimental to overall wild returns in that system.

    Hat tip, WFC.
     
  7. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    I know that I just read recently that brood stock programs wind up with the same poor returns with the same "inferior" type fish as the Chambers fish. Oregon is where I believe this study was done...any one else see it?
     
  8. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    I suspect it is in recognition of the fact that the Snoqualmie is too small to accommodate all the people in jet sleds incessantly buzzing up and down the Skykomish in search of fish to kill. ;)
     
  9. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    I believe you are referring to the Hood River study which showed that hatchery fish genetics are changed/damaged after one generation. Here is a link....

    http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archi...ge-steelhead-genetics-after-single-generation
     
  10. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    Some would say it is great year for the residents of WA state.... Seahawks win the Super Bowl, marijuana is legalized, and chambers creek hatchery fish are taken out of the PS rivers! :D
     
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  11. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    I believe the settlement is for all puget sound rivers but one. Yeah, I know it sucks, but I'm sure WFC had to "give" somewhere.
     
  12. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

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    I noticed that as well. And I agree 100%. I have no love for Chambers Creek hatchery steelhead. But mining wild Skagit River steelhead to create hatchery steelhead is in no way a step forward for wild steelhead in the Skagit system.
     
  13. Skeena88

    Skeena88 Member

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    "A Skagit wild brood stock would be a huge step backwards for the Skagit wild steelhead if it comes to pass. The fact that WFC would agree to such a potential program as part of the settlement IMHO is a clear signal that the suit was never about wild steelhead.

    Curt"

    Have you all read the consent decree or are you just looking at the synopsis in Curt's original post? As far as I can tell from the text of the consent decree, all that WFC agreed to was to discuss the "appropriateness" (or lack thereof) should the Dept propose a Skagit brood stock program. WFC reserved the right to disagree and challenge that program in court if need be should WDFW attempt to institute a brood stock program. They did not agree to support such a program. If I am interpreting this aspect of the decree incorrectly, please let me know. Its attached (see paragraph 18).

    Curt, after you read the consent decree and you still think that the suit was never about wild steelhead, what do you think it was really about?​
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    Are you suggesting that now that we will further regulated on shorter steelhead seasons , We should now all Smoke dope and watch the seahawks instead of fishing wild stock fish?
     
  15. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

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    Uh, no!