PS Chambers Creek lawsuit settlement??

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

  1. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Skeena88 -
    Thanks for the link; in a quick search early yesterday afternoon I didn't find the decree.

    After carefully reading the decree I agree the relevant paragraph is 18 and for the me the issue comes down to the first sentence of that paragraph -




    "WDFW and the Conservancy shall work cooperatively and in good faith in an

    effort to study and evaluate whether development and implementation of an integrated steelhead

    hatchery program using native steelhead (not Chambers Creek hatchery steelhead) is warranted

    and/or appropriate, and if so, the appropriate parameters of such a program, in the Skagit River

    watershed, including the Skagit River main stem and tributaries thereof, except that no such

    program shall be considered for the Sauk River."


    I added the emphasis on "in good faith" and I guess it comes down to what one thinks working cooperatively and in good faith means. For me that means to me that for the "parties a potential alternate hatchery program is on the table.

    The fact that paragraph 18 exists is a pretty clear indication that turning the Skagit steelhead into a 12 study was a pretty high priority. Looking at the steelhead situation across the Puget Sound DPS I can find lots of examples of systems (or major portions of systems) where either Chambers Creek steelhead have been eliminated and/or wild brood stock rescue programs in effected. The Skagit in my opinion because of the uniqueness of the basin and its wild steelhead was the best example of a segregated program the meets the HSRG criteria for such programs. If folks were looking at examining the potential range of tools available in managing hatchery and wild interactions there was no better place to look at a segregated program. The recent wild Skagit returns clearly illustrate the continued robustness and productivity of the wild Skagit steelhead.

    If indeed the agenda was to insure the future of the regions wild steelhead our efforts would be much more effective in addressing the largest issues limiting that resource rather than expending considerable time and debate on issues that have largely be addressed and in the process divert attention and energy for those larger issues. If progress is every to be made on those larger issues that natural allies for such efforts includes not only the conservation community but also the tribal community and the recreational anglers. Efforts like this current suit is so divisive for those potential allies that any likelihood of success in those arenas (habitat protection and restoration, increased understand and management responses to marine survival questions) has been reduced.

    I see this whole issue and result as one small step forward and several giant steps backwards in the long term goal of preserving the future of the wild steelhead resource which remains both my short and long term goal. For better or worse I tend to measure actions against those goals.

    Curt
     
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  2. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Bingo... we have a winner. This is just the beginning of the legal dance I fear. The Skagit would be a great candidate for a wild stock only system; left closed and closely monitored...it could be the model from which to replicate. But, with all the forthcoming legal wrangling between state, WFC, tribe and sports fishing, it sadly won't be. I just leased a rock on the Cowlitz... see you there ;).
     
  3. _WW_

    _WW_ Geriatric Skagit Swinger

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    Why does it have to be closed?
     
  4. Creatch'r

    Creatch'r Heavies...

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    So I'm guessing the skagit system will be closed to fishing unless a CNR fishery for wild fish is established? It's seems leaving it open even for bull trout would require too many restrictions and enforcement to make it cost effective? Since the chum run sucks fishing would end after coho and reopen June 1?
     
  5. _WW_

    _WW_ Geriatric Skagit Swinger

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    ...and my mind reflects on all those empty chairs at the last commissioners meeting.
     
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  6. psycho

    psycho Active Member

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    Fishermen are their own worst enemy, they seldom show up in numbers where their presence would be noticed and then bitch about what happens at said meetings. It is the same here in BC. it has not changed in the 50 years plus that I have been at meetings. Commercial guys and natives are always there in numbers when they perceive that their bull is going to be gored and the developers with their brown envelopes are always having lunch and coffee with the politicians.
     
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  7. Creatch'r

    Creatch'r Heavies...

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    Sorry maybe I missed the context of the above quote. With a few quys on my ignore list sometimes that happens. I was confused by your question since it seemed straightforward and logical that the next step would be no fishery. Hence my post. I'm not bitching and no one is gonna be personally thanking me for the skagit CNR season reopening based on my attendance record. But, id rather be positive and hope that maybe these closures can further fuel the push towards establishing CNR fisheries. I mean, taking away my daughters toys sometimes gets her to eat her dinner.
     
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  8. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Eliminates any issues on that front. Just close the system, manage for wild fish and monitor very closely.

    The downside of not being able to keep an open mind about people who do not necessarily share your own opinions on a particular subject.
     
  9. Shad

    Shad Active Member

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    Considering that the tribes are likely to continue fishing (it's their right), seems to me the best hope we have for any kind of sport fishery is for the proposed broodstock program to work better than any we have seen to date. If it doesn't, those fisheries will further reduce the wild runs, which won't improve the case for a C&R fishery. Either that, or NMFS/WDFW will lower the wild escapement goals, which has been the M.O....

    Our refusal to quit harvesting fish (on all sides) will be the undoing of anything we try to do to manage wild fish back to sustainable numbers.
     
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  10. Derek Day

    Derek Day Rockyday

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    The tribes haven't fished for wild steelhead in that basin for years
    And, they recognize that the chambers creek program failed to return value. In recent years the tribal hatchery fishery has closed early.

    The kicker is that the tribes and wdfw were already thinking about ending the chambers creek program on the Skagit.

    I think Curt is right that an integrated program isn't a good idea. At the same time I think that the chambers creek program was a tremendous waste of resources and with it eliminated the department will be forced to either start closing fisheries, or take some serious steps to look at new opportunities (or reopening old ones)
     
  11. _WW_

    _WW_ Geriatric Skagit Swinger

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    Cripes-a-mighty! Here we go again. Another general-all-encompassing comment that means absolutely nothing without some context - such as what fucking issues on what fucking front?

    For the last time: No one, not Bill McMillian, not NOAA, not NFMS, not WDFW, not WFC, not WSC, not
    PSHAAC, not PSMFC, not PSP, not PECE, and not freestoneangler have ever provided a single shred of evidence to show that a C&R season on the Skagit will in any way limit the current or future viability of the run to sustain itself when fishing occurs above the projected 6000 fish floor escapement level. Not a single bit. 7 billion people on the planet and not a single person has any evidence of any danger, risk or what-have-you.

    So...freestoneangler, it's time to put up - or shut up.

    And before you come back and tell me you are entitled to your opinion blah, blah, blah - yea, we get it, we know. But just because you have one, doesn't mean you are right. In fact, there is a boatloads of evidence to the contrary and absolutely nothing to support your opinion.

    Perhaps it is not your opinions folks have a problem with?


    Not on ESA listed fish it isn't...

    Don't hold your breath waiting for that...
     
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  12. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    i agree that a broodstock harvest based program would be bad for puget sound steelhead. if i remember correctly (curt can certainly correct me as i'm going off memory) the state's steelhead management plan no longer allows broodstock collection to select for run-timing so any integrated program would have a similar run timing as the wild run. this means harvestable hatchery fish co-mingled with wild fish. this means higher harvest levels in non-selective gillnets than if no hatchery fish were present. if the skagit has a return of 7,000 steelhead, would it be better for the tribe to harvest 50% of the amount above escapement (500 fish) or fish hard over a mixed run of hatchery fish that can be harvested at a much higher rate? imo, i cannot think of a co-mingled wild stock that has done well facing higher harvest rates on hatchery fish.

    you will also have higher impacts on the spawning gravel with studies showing that survival decreases even in one generation of hatchery propagation.
     
  13. Shad

    Shad Active Member

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    I think I should have clarified that I'm not a strong proponent of broodstock programs (hatcheries), particularly for the Skagit basin, which I believe has potential to sustain itself if given chance (which means ZERO harvest of a few generations of wild spawners). My point was that the only thing allowing the Tribes to harvest fish or for anyone else to even FISH FOR fish in the Puget Sound rivers in the winter was the Chambers Creek hatchery plants. I'm pretty sure that is a concrete fact.

    Now that the Chambers fish aren't going to be available to the tribes native to the Skagit system for at least a dozen years, how do any of you suppose the State will fulfill its treaty obligations to those tribes? I'm pretty sure the State can't stomach the lawsuits that would result, which leaves them with no option but to utilize the broodstock consolation. (Lest I forget, there is the fairy tale outcome, which is that the wild fish populations increase dramatically because of the absence of the Chambers fish, but yeah....) If they don't implement a broodstock program, the only way to placate the tribes will be to lower the wild escapement goals so some of them can be given to harvest impacts.

    I'm not aware of a broodstock program that's benefitted wild fish, so I don't see such programs as a means of helping wild fish. That said, I'm praying for a miracle in the Skagit basin, because that's the only scenario I see that allows the State to meet it's Tribal obligations and provide any variety of sport fishery.

    By the way, I'm a big supporter of a C&R season on the Skagit. I just don't see how this lawsuit will help that cause.
     
  14. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Bigfoot is blurry

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    How much does the tribal fishery even factor in here? Gillnetting the PS rivers for steelhead has been declining for years. How many PS rivers are netted for steelhead anymore? They'll still net whatever salmon they've been netting.
     
  15. Skeena88

    Skeena88 Member

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    Smalma, I have a different view of the intent of paragraph 18 in the consent decree. I believe that the language is not an agreement by WFC to support an integrated hatchery program but is in fact a pre-emptive challenge to WDFW to show that any integrated hatchery program, if proposed by the Dept for the Skagit system to replace the Chambers Creek program, is both warranted and appropriate. The "good faith" part means that they supply WFC with the science and data that they used to come to the conclusion that an integrated program is warranted and necessary. I think the appropriate emphasis regarding the outcome of those discussions is as shown below in bold.

    ""WDFW and the Conservancy shall work cooperatively and in good faith in an effort to study and evaluate whether development and implementation of an integrated steelhead hatchery program using native steelhead (not Chambers Creek hatchery steelhead) is warranted and/or appropriate, and if so, the appropriate parameters of such a program, in the Skagit River watershed, including the Skagit River main stem and tributaries thereof, except that no such program shall be considered for the Sauk River."

    One of these days I will figure out how to quote earlier posts...