that NOF is done with, hopefully, it looks like next up and coming fast is the
dry conditions / low flows in our streams. Being 67 ( and getting older than
dirt ) and being raised on a farm with haying, working construction in the
woods for 39 years, and broodstocking fish for 25 years my memories of weather
go way back. Most folks do not have that memory and do not realize we have not
had really dry summers for over 15 years. We have been in a mild ( damp ) thing
for some years so it just was not a issue. It appears Mother Nature is out to
put an end to that.
what to do? Not much I am sorry to say. Our loses ( and it looks like they are
going to be large ) are primarily in the
juvenile rearing areas. Think of it this way, the damage is greatest at this
minute in the small streams, beaver ponds and sloughs. Water temperatures are
up, Dissolved Oxygen ( DO ) will be down in slack water environments and
juveniles will parish. It has already happened on Black River which is rather
like the "canary in a coal mine" as Black River is where this
normally shows first.
can be done is this. If you see a fish kill take a picture, get the location
down pat, and let WDF&W staff in Montesano know. If it is an adult it is
just as important to get the location and if you have a obvious cause of death.
E mail it or call do whatever is needed to get the information to them. Here is Mike Scharpf 's E mail address to send
things in Raymond.Scharpf@dfw.wa.gov & Region 6's phone is 360 249 4628. This
could get ugly for the fish folks and staff can use some help.
I know that the agencies responses will
look and likely are a bit off dead center but staff lacks the institutional
memory that those of us who have lived most of our lives here. Add to that
WDF&W just went through a really brutal legislative session and Willapa Policy which
really tied them up. Then we add to the mix the fact that this year the OP
& Cascade streams did not have a snow pack which translates into a "one size fits all approach"
coming out of Olympia. So before my e mail catches fire, yes I know that is
counterproductive. Yes I know that the Chehalis is not Puget Sound and yes I
know we are rain fed streams which are different. Still folks we can set and
watch staff dash to & fro providing some awesome entertainment but that
does little for the fish. Also this, Region 6 District 17 staff are trying and I
mean really trying. Again yes I know that the past conduct of staff has been, well
how about not ideal for the fish or inland communities. I urge all to get past
that and help staff track this thing. Since Steve Thiesfeld came to Region 6 he
has worked very hard to turn things around. Now if one thinks that the
shortfalls in their approach to the stream conditions at this minute have not
been pointed out BLUNTLY you would be
wrong. ( and I mean a Dave bluntly not this PC or good manners bit ) In fact
bets are I am blackballed ....... again! That said folks we can set and watch
them fail or try to help out. I think maybe helping them when possible makes a
little more sense.
issue folks is the Springers in the Chehalis. To put it simply we have a
poaching problem that is getting out of hand. It appears to have reared its
ugly head on the Newaukum big time. While this is not totally new it appears the
scope & scale is. Couple that with the fact that it appears to have
happened right in the middle of a Springer tracking research effort by Region 6
it appears staff about had a stroke and rightly so. Our Springer run is not a
true Springer like the Columbia, OP, or Puget Sound but rather a early summer
Chinook that uses upwelling's in the rivers to survive the summer and they are
bunched up hard and very vulnerable.
again folks if you see signs of poaching pictures, location, and let staff know
or call it into Enforcement. Again to save my computer screen, yes I know this
is not a new problem. Yes I know that Enforcement and Montesano staff have
known this for years. Yes I know Enforcement has spent more time out bugging
folks about flossing, barbless hooks, just everything one can imagine, and ignored
this problem. Let it go for the fish guys. We have a new Director, a new
management policy and it is a new day. (hopefully) So if you see poaching on
the Springers call it in. Those of you the live up basin know where the
Springers hold so keep a eye out. Spread the word among yourselves and for this
year for the fish let the past be that.
new Grays Harbor Policy has net free days and much that guarantees equal access
for harvest. It was a huge effort by many citizens and the Commission that will
help overcome the discrimination that the inland communities and fisher
suffered for so many years with the old kill all in the lower river at Aberdeen mentality.
Which by the way was always followed by inriver / inland shouldering the vast
majority of salmon conservation.
is our call folks. Ignore the Springer poaching and the price in the future
will in all likelihood rather draconian for the fish and us. The thing is WDF&W could not stop the
poaching due to budget cuts even if they wanted to as they are simply stretched
too thin but you folks in the upper basin can help put a dent in it. It is that
Posted on Sat, August 15, 2015
by Dave Hamilton