Author Archives: scottveirs

Northern resident bounty this year?

This just in from salmonuniversity.com:

Forecasts are great for the Queen Charlotte’s and the Nushagak in 2009

Canadian Fisheries claims the water temperature is the coldest in 11 years and the ocean conditions are perfect for setting up huge runs of returning Chinook and Coho for 2009.  In 2005 the Nushagak had over 300k returning Chinook – this year will be the returning fish from that run, coupled with terrific ocean conditions equates to a banner year in 2009

What does this mean for the southern residents?

Salmon Habitat Conference this April

It appears this may only be for recipients of Salmon Recovery Board funds, but one goal of this site is help orca recovery advocates to understand and get involved with salmon recovery efforts. So, here ya go:
clipped from www.rco.wa.gov
Building Better Projects – Salmon Habitat Conference


April 15-16, 2009
Little Creek Conference Center, Shelton

Registration will begin February. Watch this site for more information.

Please join us for the second habitat conference aimed at creating a place where salmon recovery grant recipients can share information about what projects work, lesson learned, and how to make the next projects even better.

Sessions on:

  • Restoration projects
  • Acquisition projects
  • Near-shore and Estuary projects
  • Fish screening and passage projects

Space available for exhibitors. More information to come.

Susan Zemek
Communications Manager
Recreation and Conservation Office
1111 Washington ST SE
Olympia WA 98501

Mailing Address
PO Box 40917
Olympia WA 98504-0917

(360) 902-3081
TDD (360) 902-1996
susan.zemek@rco.wa.gov



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Puget Sound Partnership Education Summit

Intro talks with ~150 in audience

Intro talks with ~150 in audience

Live blog from the Puget Sound Partnership Education, Communication, and Outreach Summit.  The stated purpose of the Summit is “to revitalize the ECO Net and its relationship with the Puget Sound Partnership’s goals and priorities.”

9:15 Bill Ruckelshaus discussed need for grassroots change despite the budgetary stresses in Washington State and D.C.  (Dave Dix was unable to attend because of urgent need to lobby legislators to fund the PSP mandates at the beginning of the legislative session!)  The $6B deficit is now projected to reach $8B by Q2.  He alludes to how 1963 publication of Silent Spring led to 10 major environmental laws in the 1970s.  He urged the audience to build the human infrastructure for behavioral change and action (required to solve distributed problems like non-point-source pollution) so that we’ll be ready when (more) money arrives.

10:00 Paul Bergman, Communications Director gave a synopsis of a survey related to Puget Sound Education and Outreach

  1. Survey Report:
  • ONLY about 21% of those surveyed are “aware and understand” that Puget Sound is environmentally degraded.  How do we get this to 60% in 2-3 years?!
  • The way you describe water pollution changes the public’s level of concern.  Be specific: “Polluted stormwater runoff that flows into our rivers creeks and the Sound”
  • There’s a central ~50% of the public that are moderately concerned about Puget Sound environmental problems
  • Who is our base?  (people who should be with us and are easy to convert quickly) Middle-aged women (“my Mom in Poulsbo”), white males are harder to move.
  • ~50% of those polled think that Residents of Puget Sound should pay for fixing problems
  • It’s about water, water, water (not the rock fish); people pay attention to water (drinking water, clean water, there’s something primal about it) — rivers, creeks, streams.  Focus on threats rather than existing conditions.  Strong land/water connection.  They get that they share in the responsibility to fix problems.

He also mentioned that a PBS Frontline documentary will air on April 21 that focuses on what’s going on in Puget Sound and compare it to the Chesapeake.  The producer may help organize special screenings around Puget Sound.

He emphasizes need to lobby legislators to maintain some funding!

10:30 Kristen Cooley, Network Coordinator

  • Network has 250 orgs, 400 members, online database, this summit on Jan 28, Coordination days for 12 local networks (2 consecutive days in March to June in each geographic area)
  • Steering committee (15 members give input from broad membership, 3 yr term, 1/3 voted in each year)
  • We need to work together, have one plan and one message!
  • Next steps: winter 2009 — finalize budget and plan, advertisement development, foundation fundraising, identify and confirm citizen behaviors, initiate planning for citizen engagement initiatives; spring 2009 — initial fundraising completed, launch media and earned media campaign, Coordination Days around Puget Sound.

10:50 Questions

  • Will there be flexibility at local level?  Yes, that’s what the Coordination Days are about.
  • About $300M IS being spent on Puget Sound by State Agencies.  It’s our duty to educate our legislators.
  • How should State Agency like Ecology attend to all these local meetings (e.g. in Thurston County)?  Not sure.  Give me your creative ideas!

11:15 Working Session #1: Listing extant networks and what does/n’t work in a network.

12:15 Lunch

1:15 Working session #2: Listing partnerships and resources that pose barriers or could increase success/collaboration; Prioritized list of elements/activities that would make the ECO Net “healthy.”

2:30 Whole group debrief

  • Kristen: Our goal is to get to 60% awareness because it is a majority.
  • We need to increase diversity of this network to affect societal change!
  • Model programs should be few, focused, and well-documented.
  • We’re in a trans-boundary marine ecosystem and need a parallel network, or inter-networking.
  • Many people came here today without pay/support.  Next time we should give them a special invite, acknowledgment, or free lunch.  This could be an important way to expand and support the network.
  • There seems to be a lack of in/formal agreements between ECO Net organizations.  These should be in place before work begins.  There could also be a code of ethics for working within the ECO Net.

2:50 Wrap up comments

3:00 End of Summmit

More dams coming to British Columbia rivers?

First I’ve heard of this, but the idea of damming the Hamathko seems sacrilegious.  The heads of those distant inlets and fjords are deep wilderness in my mind, gateways to the fantastic icefields of Mount Waddington and beyond.
Is there really a need for hydropower up there?! I assert that solar, tidal, and/or wind turbines will turn out to be cleaner, greener power options with fewer impacts for killer whales and salmon.
clipped from www.straight.com

News Features

Economy won’t halt B.C.’s run-of-river hydroelectric projects

The CEO of one of the province’s largest private-power companies is “absolutely” confident it can finance its run-of-river hydroelectric projects in spite of the economic slowdown.
Marvin Rosenau, a fisheries instructor at BCIT, said he didn’t have enough information to assess whether or not fish will die as a result of the planned development. However, Rosenau told the Straight that he is concerned about the cumulative impact of the numerous independent power projects under way across the province.
According to the company’s December 2008 description of the Bute Inlet project, it is expected to produce 1,027 megawatts of electricity from 17 generating facilities and require the construction of 443 kilometres of transmission lines and about 100 bridges along the Southgate, Orford, and Homathko rivers.
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Ship noise in Haro Strait 60% of time

I usually say that 20 ships per day transit Haro Strait, but this is the first time I’ve seen a sound budget estimate from Jeff Nystuen’s data. This article quotes him as saying that ships dominate the sound budget, making noise about 60% of the time his PALs were deployed. That’s pretty consistent with 20 ships per day, each taking about 40 minutes to pass by, acoustically.
clipped from www.sciencedaily.com
ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news<br />
and science breakthroughs -- updated daily
Devices Tease Out Individual Sounds From Underwater Racket
ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2006)
In order to determine the sound “budgets” for different ecosystems, Nystuen and his team use what they call PALs, short for Passive Aquatic Listeners, designed and built at the Applied Physics Laboratory. Moored to the seafloor by long lines, PALs are submerged tens to thousands of meters below the surface and are set to listen for a few seconds every few minutes.
“Those are the two parts of a sound budget, the distribution of different sound sources as a percentage of time and the relative loudness,” he says.

Sixty percent of the time, Haro Strait’s sound budget is dominated by shipping noise, Nystuen has found. It’s also heavily used by killer whales. “If the food is there, do the orcas care?” he asks. “That’s one for the biologists to determine.”

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A step towards ecosystem-based management?

Long Live the Kings announced in Dec 2008 an effort to implement internal changes at WDFW to manage salmon in an “All-H” framework — one that integrates decisions about Hatcheries, Harvest, and Habitat. Perhaps this is a step towards the “Ecosystem Based Management” which no one can define for me, but is already a buzz phrase in the Salish Sea (Puget Sound/Georgia Basin) Conference next month. I note again that the words “orca” and “killer whale” aren’t mentioned on the web page or the nice brochure summarizing the initiative:

http://www.lltk.org/pdf/projects/21st_Century_Salmon_and_Steelhead.pdf

clipped from www.lltk.org

The 21st Century & Salmon Steelhead Initiative

Salmon Image
The 21st Century Salmon and Steelhead Initiative (21CSS) is a partnership between the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Long Live the Kings (LLTK) to create a new integrated “All-H” decision-making framework for managing salmon and steelhead.
Humans influence the health of salmon through three primary factors – habitat, harvest, and hatcheries. The newly completed framework coordinates decisions about hatcheries, harvest, and habitat for the purpose of recovering naturally-spawning salmon and steelhead populations while supporting sustainable fisheries. The framework sets out what is necessary, across multiple disciplines, to meet this goal; it assesses where WDFW is today in relation to that goal; and it identifies benchmarks over the next 50 years against which to measure progress.
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$37.5M to help feed southern residents

It will be fascinating to see how this money is actually spent. The article mentions using part of the $30M to retire licenses from commercial troll fishers.

I’m guessing the $15M ($7.5M from Canada and the same from the U.S.) will be helping to replenish the PSC portfolio. This could mean renewed funding in 2010 (or maybe 2009). Perhaps some of the accepted fall 2008 proposals may get funded, despite the hit the portfolio took in the U.S. recession?

clipped from www.cbc.ca

CBC.ca Homepage

U.S. to compensate B.C. fishermen under latest pact to protect salmon
Last Updated:
Tuesday, January 6, 2009 | 11:25 PM ET
The U.S. government will hand over millions of dollars to compensate the B.C. fishing industry for dramatic cuts to salmon fisheries.
The $30-million US salve is one of several changes that took effect in the Pacific Salmon Treaty at the beginning of this year, with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of declining Pacific salmon stocks in Canada and the U.S.
Most of the U.S. funding will be for the loss in the chinook salmon catch off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The federal and U.S. governments will also each contribute $7.5 million for other programs aimed at helping the recovery of disappearing salmon stocks along the Pacific coast.
As much as 75 per cent of the chinook caught off Vancouver Island are bound for U.S. waters
in the past fishermen on both sides of the border were taking their maximum allowable catch
It’s abundance-based management now.
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The 6th H of salmon abundance: Heat

The clipping below is from a Daily Astorian article on an EPA report regarding global warming’s potential influence on Northwest salmon.  Of most import for killer whale conservationists are the implications of what James Martin calls a “perfect storm” for salmon: low snow pack with low, warm flows in the summer.
Martin provides a nice quote regarding the economic impact of such a storm:
“In Oregon, Washington and Idaho, it’s a 35,000-job industry, and it’s worth $3 billion dollars per year,” he said. “So it’s a lot more than just a hobby. There’s a lot at stake.”
That’s about 30x the $100M estimate of ecotourism value associated  with the southern residents.
The article also mentions a report co-authored by Martin and Patty Glick called A Great Wave Rising. Dan Drais of Save Our Wild Salmon recently handed me a copy and it looks like an admirable, balanced attempt to bring climate science into the on-going struggle to devise a legal federal plan for recovering endangered fish in the Columbia/Snake basin.  I particularly like that it is rich in reputable citations with which I (and global warming skeptics) can understand the uncertainties in the trends and projections.
A quote from Glick suggests that “Heat” should be added to the 4 H’s that govern northwest salmon abundance: harvest, hatcheries, hydropower, and habitat.  But just last night, David Montogomery claimed the 5th H should be “History” — the history of salmon-human interactions, particularly in Britain and in the Northeast U.S.  So, for me “Heat” has become the 6th H and I’m even more convinced that salmon recovery (linked with killer whale recovery) is one of the most complex, grand environmental challenges of our time.
clipped from www.dailyastorian.com

12/26/2008 11:21:00 AM
The EPA warns that climate change threatens Oregon’s cold-water fish populations
By Michael Burkett
East Oregonian Publishing Group
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s report on global warming
contains some dire predictions for Oregon’s time-honored reputation as a Mecca for coldwater fishermen.
Released July 17, the report warns that the time may come when salmon- and trout-fishing trips are no longer much of an option for residents or visitors. EPA scientists further caution that warming temperatures could lead to a 50- to 100-percent decline in Chinook salmon returns in some areas, since salmon require cool water and are extremely sensitive to increasing temperatures.

Once Oregon is hit by a perfect storm comprised of “a little less snow pack, lower summer water flows and higher summer temperatures, bam! We’ll go over a threshold, and suddenly we won’t have salmon or steelhead or trout,” Martin said.
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New research money related to Navy sonar

Not sure what this means for southern residents and funding for their researchers, but this is surely good news for beaked whales, as well as killer whales when they may transit Navy training areas in the Salish Sea or off the Washington coast. Thanks to Val Veirs for the tip on this press release.
clipped from www.nrdc.org

Natural Resources Defense Council

Environmental Coalition Reaches Agreement with Navy on Mid-Frequency Sonar Lawsuit

Navy to follow environmental compliance schedule, release classified information on sonar and fund research to benefit marine mammals
LOS ANGELES (December 28, 2008) — After years of litigation with the U.S. Navy over its refusal to prepare environmental impact statements (EIS) for sonar training exercises, a settlement announced Saturday commits the Navy to complete a schedule of full environmental reviews on major training exercises around the world, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The settlement also requires disclosure of previously classified information regarding the Navy’s sonar use and commits the Navy to fund nearly $15 million in new marine mammal research designated by NRDC and co-plaintiffs.
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No new orcas in late 2008

This is a pretty general treatment of endangered species with a nice from-the-field synopsis of prey/fecal sampling by KUOW intern Irene Naguchi, but it didn’t deliver what I expected — new information derived from the fecal sampling. The main news I caught from Brad was that they, Ken, and Mark haven’t noted any new calves in J, K, or parts of L pod this late fall/winter.   Nice work getting an intern out on the water, Brad! (There is a link to the archived podcast at the bottom of the clipping…)

I was impressed with Pimm’s unwavering focus on delivering a positive message about the global extinction trend and with LaBorde’s careful statements about Northwest salmon recovery progress in 2008. Sara surprised me with the fact that 75% of Washington State is home to one of the 28 listed evolutionarily significant units of salmon.

(Thanks to Val for the head’s up about this programming.)

clipped from www.kuow.org

KUOW 94.9 FM

Weekday

The State of the Wilderness in 2008

12/29/2008 at 9:00 a.m.

Weekday closes out 2008 with a survey of animals facing extinction. In the Pacific Northwest, the endangered include Orcas, salmon, grizzlies, and owls. Tune in to find out the state of the wilderness from the experts. Also, we take a boating excursion on Puget Sound to track Orcas. Which animals are struggling to survive? What does it mean for our future and what can we do about it?
Stuart Pimm is a professor of conservation ecology at Duke University. He joins us from the Florida Keys.
Chris Morgan is director of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project, and producer of the feature documentary, “Beartrek.”
Sara LaBorde is a special assistant to the director of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. She works on salmon and Steelhead.
clipped from www.kuow.org
WeekdayA20081229.mp3
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