Outdoors

Kalispell Tribe calls Pend Oreille pike 'disaster' to native fisheries

An angler shows the northern pike she landed while fishing in the Pend Oreille River near Cusick, Wash.  Pike are a relatively recent nonnative invasive species that's booming in the river between Newport, Wash., and Box Canyon Dam. (Rich Landers)
An angler shows the northern pike she landed while fishing in the Pend Oreille River near Cusick, Wash. Pike are a relatively recent nonnative invasive species that's booming in the river between Newport, Wash., and Box Canyon Dam. (Rich Landers)

INVASIVE FISHERIES — The Kalispell Tribe's top Fish and Wildlife official called it like he sees it in a presentation on the invasion of northern pike into the Pend Oreille River. He was speaking this month to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Deane Osterman, the tribe’s executive director for Natural Resources, said that the introduction of northern pike to Box Canyon Reservoir has quickly become “a long-term disaster to our native fisheries.”

A story by the Columbia Basin Bulletin detail's Osterman's presentation and reasoning behind the Northeast Washington tribe's effort to turn back a wave of invasive northern pike that has devastated local fish populations. Joining the concern of state and federal biologist, Osterman warns that other areas of the Columbia River basin could suffer the same consequence — and salmon and steelhead runs could be impacted.

Referring to the Columbia's confluence with the Okanogan River, he said;

“That particular piece of water is ideal as well” for nonnative pike to flourish, Osterman said. If pike got a foothold there, they very well could tarnish salmon recovery investments made by the Bonneville Power Administration and channeled through the Council to the Colville Tribes. BPA funds the NPCC’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program as mitigation for impact of the federal Columbia-Snake river hydro system on fish and wildlife.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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