January 17th Willapa Management Plan Public Meeting
So just how did the January 17th Willapa Management Plan
(WMP) public meeting go? About the same as past meetings I think. Not much
change really but I must admit in some respects staff did much better or worse
depending on your view. So some bullets.
It was much better and the information
supplied was well organized. Mr. Theisfeld has gotten a much better feel for
the issues than when he assumed the Region 6 (R-6) job so a A+ here. In working
the AHA and the math with it staff has put a huge effort in and continues to do
so, A+ again. Also two of the senior R-6 hatchery employees were present to answer
question and this is a real improvement, A+ again. So these things are good.
Now the bad. The meeting had little
public notification other than what was posted on the Commission's Willapa
webpage. No press release no nothing other than a e mail from Mr. Theisfeld
that I and others circulated very late in the game. A big fat F here, not good.
Then this thing they called aspirational
goals. Wish list is a better term and none of them are based upon reality. Why aspirational
goals? Got me as they come from the very
first public forum that was poorly attended that had a survey taken. The survey was not properly explained
or even remotely presented in a way that a citizen would have any idea of just
how staff intended to use the survey. Additionally staff continues to utilize it
as a base for the AHA model output which means simply they are not using the
AHA model to define the parameters to comply with HSRG but to show what aspirational
goals could / should / would require as to production. As one gentleman told me "show me how
many fish I can kill." Big F again.
Now the AHA model runs. This where it
gets way past strange! Rather than blather on lets go right to the most glaring
item. With hatchery production you can have either a integrated stock or
segregated stock. A hatchery integrated
stock is one that the hatchery stock is
identical to the natural run and you incorporate natural stock into the
hatchery spawn at a designated percentage and limit staying. A segregated hatchery stock is one that is
completely and totally isolated from the natural production be it by the
natural processes ( run timing ect ) and genetics. It can be segregated by
other means such as a weir that guarantees no straying. This allows for a
rather substantial flexibility for hatchery production. Now Forks Creek hatchery on the Willapa is
many miles upstream and while it has a weir on average 20% of the returning
adult hatchery Chinook after harvest fail to return to Forks Creek and spawn in the
Willapa Basin naturally. This results in a somewhere around 3.5 to 1 hatchery
origin spawners (HOS) over the natural spawners (NOS) in the gravel. That is a no go with
So how did staff solve the problem? In
several AHA option runs you see Willapa River Chinook as a segregated stock!
Now the Willapa Chinook is the integrated stock from hell. There absolutely ZERO difference genetically
or any other standard between the hatchery production or natural run. Zero! They
did the same for another option with the Naselle Chinook calling it segregated
and again it is not as it is a fully integrated stock. The Naselle does have a
weir but it is pulled at or around October 15th depending on flows. Additionally
it fails in high water events, not floods just a normal high water event, so
segregated is a no go with HSRG.
So the question is just why is staff
doing things? Well as one can imagine opinions are pretty much all over the
map! So my opinion and I stress this is MY OPINION. Staff is trying to show
folks with the AHA model what it would take to achieve the wish list aspirational
goals for harvest. They are not saying
they can or will be able to achieve those goals but what it would require. Staff have provided mountains of information in the
WMP process as to HSRG and parameters / requirements needed. Again this is my
opinion, I think the intent is that folks are supposed to utilize the HSRG
information to interpret what is or not possible. Not good, BIG fat F again.
The final item is which stream is to
be primary for Chinook Willapa or Naselle? This issue has pluses or minus'
depending on your view. The primary has stricter HSRG requirements on staying
and the mix of NOS plus HOS so it is important. At this time it not clear as to which is the
most advantageous to designate. I am sure a lot of conversation will continue
on this issue.
So there are my thoughts of my
minutes for the 1/17/15 WMP public meeting.
Posted on Sun, January 18, 2015
by Dave Hamilton