Skagit Spawning Surveys - Victim of Covid-19

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
It's come to my attention that the spawning surveys for the Skagit will most likely not include the tributaries. This could be a determining factor in whether or not we have a season in 4 and 5 years.

Must be hard to social distance when hiking creeks.

We went to bat for WDFW and their funding woes. Contact them and push for tributary surveys.
 

2kayaker

Active Member
It's come to my attention that the spawning surveys for the Skagit will most likely not include the tributaries. This could be a determining factor in whether or not we have a season in 4 and 5 years.

Must be hard to social distance when hiking creeks.

We went to bat for WDFW and their funding woes. Contact them and push for tributary surveys.
Although they don't survey this year , do they add in a statistical estimate for tributary contribution?
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
The mainstem flyovers should help to develop a rough estimate. The question will be is a rough estimate going to satisfy NMFS? With each passing year the WDFW default for Puget Sound streams is becoming no fishing so it's hard to imagine that they will push very hard to get a rough estimate approved. When these adults return we should be in the second five year plan...if we get one.

Strictly fear induced guess work on my part based on recent events.

Nothing is guaranteed.
 

2kayaker

Active Member
We could get a quote from a drone service to record low level up Day creek for example, and see if wdfw could extract a count. There are even some good drone pilots amongst the forum here.
 

GOTY

7x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
We could get a quote from a drone service to record low level up Day creek for example, and see if wdfw could extract a count. There are even some good drone pilots amongst the forum here.
I imagine there are folks that would do it for free, plenty of drone hobbyists out there. @Kfish ?
 

matchu865

Active Member
WFF Supporter
With some training, volunteers stuck at home in quarantine could also sign-up to review the footage and issue counts. Irregardless of COVID issues, having several eyes on the same set of drone/airplane video data could lead to more accurate surveys and increased public involvement. Plus you can do it at night.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
I had a conversation with Ed Eleazer today. The upshot of it is that they are resolved to get them done. He thanked me, and wanted me to pass along his thanks to the rest of you that sent emails. It made a difference in the decision. So, pat yourselves on the back, you may have done yourselves a big favor!
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
Drones could probably be used to offset the aerial helicopter survey flights on the large mainstem rivers. But what we're hearing is that WDFW is performing those mainstem survey flights. It's the tributary surveys that are being cut. Drones are not as suitable for those as near as I can tell because some of the index survey streams are quite small with extensive tree canopies. Sometimes alders on both sides of the creek lean over, creating a tent that would completely block the view from above. I don't think anyone wants to fly their drone at 10' above the water surface. It seems risky to me.

More importantly, many organizations went to bat for WDFW to obtain supplemental funding from the Legislature. So there is no $$ reason that I am aware of for not sending the technicians out in the field to conduct these surveys. And without monitoring as required by the Resource Management Plan (RMP) that NMFS approved, that's one less reason in support of recreational fishing going forward.

And so everyone knows, Wayne's post above (#7) reflects the inconsistent messaging from WDFW. Apparently only half the index tributaries are approved to be performed. If true, this is nonsense. If this is a funding issue, WDFW owes us a clear, cogent, and convincing explanation after 43 organizations went to the mat for the Department in the Legislative session for "full funding." The total number of index streams is 12, and only small sections of each are surveyed. So the % of the basin actually surveyed is small, which we know limits the accuracy of the estimated spawning escapement. The precision of that estimate relies on repeatability, doing the same surveys year after year using the same method. Change kills the precision which kills the accuracy even more. And it's not like the proportion of mainstem and tributary spawners is constant. It can be 65% - 35% in one year, or the exact opposite, or anywhere in between. The ration seems to depend on streamflows, with more spawners in the tributaries in high water years, and fewer in low water years.

Therefore, at the very least, the Skagit - and probably other PS rivers - need you all to bombard Director Susewind and the Commission with emails now and before the weekend is over telling them you want ALL the tributary surveys, not half or some fraction less than ALL because the public deserves what we are paying for. And we want the RMP fulfilled.

Sg
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
Drones could probably be used to offset the aerial helicopter survey flights on the large mainstem rivers. But what we're hearing is that WDFW is performing those mainstem survey flights. It's the tributary surveys that are being cut. Drones are not as suitable for those as near as I can tell because some of the index survey streams are quite small with extensive tree canopies. Sometimes alders on both sides of the creek lean over, creating a tent that would completely block the view from above. I don't think anyone wants to fly their drone at 10' above the water surface. It seems risky to me.

More importantly, many organizations went to bat for WDFW to obtain supplemental funding from the Legislature. So there is no $$ reason that I am aware of for not sending the technicians out in the field to conduct these surveys. And without monitoring as required by the Resource Management Plan (RMP) that NMFS approved, that's one less reason in support of recreational fishing going forward.

And so everyone knows, Wayne's post above (#7) reflects the inconsistent messaging from WDFW. Apparently only half the index tributaries are approved to be performed. If true, this is nonsense. If this is a funding issue, WDFW owes us a clear, cogent, and convincing explanation after 43 organizations went to the mat for the Department in the Legislative session for "full funding." The total number of index streams is 12, and only small sections of each are surveyed. So the % of the basin actually surveyed is small, which we know limits the accuracy of the estimated spawning escapement. The precision of that estimate relies on repeatability, doing the same surveys year after year using the same method. Change kills the precision which kills the accuracy even more. And it's not like the proportion of mainstem and tributary spawners is constant. It can be 65% - 35% in one year, or the exact opposite, or anywhere in between. The ration seems to depend on streamflows, with more spawners in the tributaries in high water years, and fewer in low water years.

Therefore, at the very least, the Skagit - and probably other PS rivers - need you all to bombard Director Susewind and the Commission with emails now and before the weekend is over telling them you want ALL the tributary surveys, not half or some fraction less than ALL because the public deserves what we are paying for. And we want the RMP fulfilled.

Sg
As Salmo has pointed out above, I got some mixed messages yesterday. I had two phone conversations yesterday within three hours and the situation changed that quickly. Partial surveys are just that, partial. NOAA and NFMS have a default position of no. If WDFW puts out a run size projection they should, and may even be required, to back it up with consistent methodology being performed year after year.

Looking to the future. This plan that we lobbied for, fought for, and eventually received is still in it's infancy. We're only on our third year. Now is not the time to try and pull some sort of bait and switch with the feds. Something like this might even produce the result of complete and final closure. We need to hold WDFW's feet to the fire and get these surveys completed. The money is in place, the personnel are in place, we just need the order to be given.

I know there are plenty of folks that would want to volunteer to do this. Unfortunately, These are specific surveys done in specific places and at this late date needs to be done by those trained to do it.

You get the fishing you fight for! Send those emails!

[email protected]
[email protected]
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
I don't think Inslee knows what he's going to do until a few hours before he makes a decision. Wise course I think as new information keeps coming in.
I knew that he was going to open up residential construction. I was just guessing that there may be other things being allowed too. I actually hoped that dnr land would be opened. I have not watched the press conference or read about it so I guess he may have done that. I gotta go check.

I agree that he isn't planning too far in advance on purpose. I don't think he give a flying fuck what people think of him right now. That's a good trait to have in this situation.

Go Sox,
cds
 

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