Another lawsuit (intent to file)

Rob Allen

Active Member
Anyone blaming any particular administration is barking up the wrong tree there is blame to be spread going back generations.
Some have done better some have done worse but only by narrow margins.

Here is why angling doesn't matter.

The biggest current threat is the OCEAN.

If we closed every body of water in the state and not a single wild steelhead died to to angling it would not help the species survive because the ocean in it's current condition cannot support them. Our streams can crank out all the smolts we want but it doesn't matter.

That is why I am opposed to closing rivers and limiting how people fish.
I am neither a fan nor a detractor of the lawsuit.
It won't help the fish but it's a legitimate gripe..
 

skyrise

CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
Tell me what “Wild” fish spawned above Sunset Falls 200 years ago ? None, 0, nada, zip. Man made runs thanks to WDFW trucking fish around.
So a totally BS lawsuit for nothing. Don’t you wish these cowards would spend all this energy making things better for everyone instead of trying to control everything for a select few.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
Tell me what “Wild” fish spawned above Sunset Falls 200 years ago ? None, 0, nada, zip. Man made runs thanks to WDFW trucking fish around.
So a totally BS lawsuit for nothing. Don’t you wish these cowards would spend all this energy making things better for everyone instead of trying to control everything for a select few.
There is no money in making things better. Money comes from winning lawsuits, and, or settlements.
 

onefish

Active Member
Anyone blaming any particular administration is barking up the wrong tree there is blame to be spread going back generations.
Some have done better some have done worse but only by narrow margins.

Here is why angling doesn't matter.

The biggest current threat is the OCEAN.

If we closed every body of water in the state and not a single wild steelhead died to to angling it would not help the species survive because the ocean in it's current condition cannot support them. Our streams can crank out all the smolts we want but it doesn't matter.

That is why I am opposed to closing rivers and limiting how people fish.
I am neither a fan nor a detractor of the lawsuit.
It won't help the fish but it's a legitimate gripe..
Agreed, it has been non retention of wild steelhead since the late 1980's here. Most rivers have all the headwater regions closed to fishing so the fish are only exposed to angling pressure for a small stretch and then they are in protected waters. The runs which used to be terrific are now in terrible shape with seemingly only more bad news to come. At least there are a few still around to repopulate the rivers if conditions ever improve.
 

Bruce Baker

Active Member
AFAIK the number are from the 2013 Kessler et al paper in the TAFS, and possibly another sampling done in 2008. I could only get access to the abstract, but if someone has access to the manuscript maybe they could either post a link here or provide some hard numbers from the paper.

These days conducting DNA-based analysis is trivially easy and cheap so I'm hoping that it's not beyond the WDFW's capabilities or something that they can't pull of due to a lack of funding. If that was the case it seems like it'd be possible to crowdsource the funds fairly easily.
I have a subscription to TAFS. Do you know which volume? I just looked through them and could not find an article by Kessler. I could have missed it too, but with a little more info, I should be able to find it.
 

Riverrat8

New Member

Riverrat8

New Member
Whoops, hit post too soon somehow. Mondays.

It is Kassler, not Kessler BTW.

WDFW is using the later figures to say that SF fish presently have less Skamania ancestry than NF fish which is a dubious claim at best. The HGMP tries to compare adult SF individuals to juvenile NF individuals. You can't do this because hatchery fish survive at such poor rates that even when they are the predominate spawners in the population they make up much less of the next generation. Below is a link to a Kalama study, only need to read the abstract. But basically hatchery fish survived at about 75% that of wild fish as juveniles, and only 10% as adults. So you need to compare juveniles to juveniles, or adults to adults. The adult numbers they have in the HGMP for the NF done have a large enough sample size to be useful, but if you do look at them they are not significantly different from the SF adult samples. I don't know how to share the HGMP here, but the people at Mill Creek should be able to share it.

Not to mention that the Kassler paper and WDFW came to opposite conclusions, the newer data in the HGMP doesn't refute Kassler, just provides another data point.

 
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Rob Allen

Active Member
Whoops, hit post too soon somehow. Mondays.

It is Kassler, not Kessler BTW.

WDFW is using the later figures to say that SF fish presently have less Skamania ancestry than NF fish which is a dubious claim at best. The HGMP tries to compare adult SF individuals to juvenile NF individuals. You can't do this because hatchery fish survive at such poor rates that even when they are the predominate spawners in the population they make up much less of the next generation. Below is a link to a Kalama study, only need to read the abstract. But basically hatchery fish survived at about 75% that of wild fish as juveniles, and only 10% as adults. So you need to compare juveniles to juveniles, or adults to adults. The adult numbers they have in the HGMP for the NF done have a large enough sample size to be useful, but if you do look at them they are not significantly different from the SF adult samples. I don't know how to share the HGMP here, but the people at Mill Creek should be able to share it.

Not to mention that the Kassler paper and WDFW came to opposite conclusions, the newer data in the HGMP doesn't refute Kassler, just provides another data point.

If they have done genetic testing why is the claim dubious?

Given the poor survival of hatchery fish in the wild in the state of Washington i find it dubious for anyone to suggest that hatchery fish make up a significant amount of any wild stocks genetic heritage.

As the old Kalama study stated survival of the progeny of HOS is not statistically different than zero
 

Riverrat8

New Member
If they have done genetic testing why is the claim dubious?

Given the poor survival of hatchery fish in the wild in the state of Washington i find it dubious for anyone to suggest that hatchery fish make up a significant amount of any wild stocks genetic heritage.

As the old Kalama study stated survival of the progeny of HOS is not statistically different than zero
It is dubious because they are comparing adult and juvenile data as I stated. And their conclusion runs counter that that of the conclusions of the previous genetic study (Kassler). Kassler found the SF fish were, as he called it, a feral population of Skamania steelhead. He also found NF fish to be significantly different than those in the SF and Reiter Ponds hatchery.

I have not seen a study that says survival of hatchery progeny is essentially zero, there are lots of cases where they interbreed and produce offspring. Klickitat, Clackamas, N and S Santiam, probably anywhere Skamania fish have been introduced they have crossed with native stock. Over time their genes may leave the population, but when you have a stock that may have been founded by Skamania steelhead, what would it go back to?

The SF Sky is a perfect example. They stopped putting Skamania fish above the falls in 2009. The sampled adults from 2014 had a large portion of Skamania ancestry (per the HGMP) so their parents must have been adipose intact, but had a large portion of Skamania ancestry. The value in the HGMP for these fish was .27 Percent Effective Hatchery Contribution (PEHC), but they don't go into great detail about the analysis involved.

There is an easier way to do all this genetic stuff. Puget Sound steelhead have 60 chromosomes, and Lower Columbia fish have 58. All they had to do was run that analysis, not sure why they didn't. My guess is there would be lots of 58 chromosome fish in both tributaries as well as 59 chromosome hybrids. Hard to say if there are any true native steelhead left but Kassler seemed to think so, but there surely are native genetics left in resident fish in these watersheds.

Chromosome counts vary from at least 58-64 in steelhead and hybrids do seem to be viable.
 

longputt

Active Member
As I read this thread I think back to the first time I wanted wild steelhead. It was a trip to the GR in the mid-1970s where I caught enough fish each day to convince myself what the old-timers were saying was true: “hatchery fish don’t fight.” They followed this with a protest: “throw them on the bank in protest, better yet on the road so the ODFW or WDFW can see them.”

So I let the “wild fish” folks be my proxy and do my bidding. What I never envisioned was the unbelievable loss of recreation. Some of my favorite trout streams were closed to protect hatchery steelhead released to re-establish wild stocks. The most compatible and sporting strain, the Skamania, was virtually eliminated. Hatchery output was reduced or eliminated. And now we are reduced to having discussions about the number of chromosomes to decide if a naturally spawning fish is wild enough to be called wild in the river where it was trapped.

The future looks bleak to me when I read this.
 

Riverrat8

New Member
I agree this all gets quite depressing. But to pick up on a previous sentiment that was expressed in this thread, we as a society did decide it was worth saving our native and wild species and their habitat, and even put it into law in 1973 with the ESA. We started including salmon and steelhead under this law in the 90's and Puget Sound steelhead in 2007. Of course, we left ourselves a way out with some legalese, hence the aforementioned development in Everett (assuming it went through NEPA).

The ESA governs how NMFS will evaluate this program. The law says we need to protect the unique genetic legacy of listed species. Puget Sound and lower Columbia steelhead are listed as separate "species" under the ESA because they are distinct population segments. Their choice of words not mine. This is why chromosome counts matter. As someone else said, don't like it, change the law.

In addition to harvest augmentation this is being billed as a conservation program for Puget Sound steelhead and NMFS stated that the broodstock from the SF would be used to reintroduce native summer steelhead to the NF. In this specific case the proposition of supporting increased harvest and providing a conservation benefit are very much at odds with each other, and I don't see any scientific support for the claim.

If we as a society decide that it is more important to have hatchery fish to kill than native steelhead then we should openly make that decision. Cherry picking data for an imagined conservation benefit that will never materialize helps no one, and as always the wild fish will be the biggest loser.

I do fully expect NMFS to approve this program regardless, but I doubt it would hold up in court if challenged.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
I agree this all gets quite depressing. But to pick up on a previous sentiment that was expressed in this thread, we as a society did decide it was worth saving our native and wild species and their habitat, and even put it into law in 1973 with the ESA. We started including salmon and steelhead under this law in the 90's and Puget Sound steelhead in 2007. Of course, we left ourselves a way out with some legalese, hence the aforementioned development in Everett (assuming it went through NEPA).

The ESA governs how NMFS will evaluate this program. The law says we need to protect the unique genetic legacy of listed species. Puget Sound and lower Columbia steelhead are listed as separate "species" under the ESA because they are distinct population segments. Their choice of words not mine. This is why chromosome counts matter. As someone else said, don't like it, change the law.

In addition to harvest augmentation this is being billed as a conservation program for Puget Sound steelhead and NMFS stated that the broodstock from the SF would be used to reintroduce native summer steelhead to the NF. In this specific case the proposition of supporting increased harvest and providing a conservation benefit are very much at odds with each other, and I don't see any scientific support for the claim.

If we as a society decide that it is more important to have hatchery fish to kill than native steelhead then we should openly make that decision. Cherry picking data for an imagined conservation benefit that will never materialize helps no one, and as always the wild fish will be the biggest loser.

I do fully expect NMFS to approve this program regardless, but I doubt it would hold up in court if challenged.
One small adjustment, lower Columbia wild steelhead are not listed under ESA. That said the lower Columbia is a very small ESU consisting of only two rivers and a couple creeks.
 

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