Posts tagged: fisheries
UPDATE: State fish managers say the small fish hatchery to be built under this licensing agreement will be devoted to restoring native cutthroat and bull trout. Fish for stocking in northeast Washington lakes under the agreement will come from existing hatcheries under a contract between the utility and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
RIVERS — The license for Boundary Dam has met the requirements for approval with no appeals submitted, according to Seattle City Light, and that spells the beginning of projects to improve wildlife habitat, recreational facilities and fisheries along the Pend Oreille River.
The license was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March, but utility officials said today that the final hurdles had been cleared.
Under the new 42-year license, City Light will be required to mitigate the impacts of the dam to the surrounding environment in Pend Oreille County. These measures include long-term water quality monitoring programs, terrestrial habitat improvements, and wildlife monitoring programs for bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other species.
For example, Mill Pond Dam on Sullivan Creek will be removed under the agreement, clearing the way for fish passage — and kayakers — for the first time since 1909.
A native trout conservation hatchery is planned to raise cutthroats and bull trout that will be planted to help restore the native species in tributaries to the Boundary Reservoir. Required habitat restoration in these tributaries will benefit westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout and mountain whitefish.
Contracts will be signed with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide fish of various species from other hatcheries to stock in area lakes.
The utility is required to make avariety of recreational improvements in the Boundary project area including:
“This has been a long and carefully managed process, drawing input from many stakeholders and taking into account wildlife protection, recreational and cultural amenities, and the water quality of the Pend Oreille River,” said City Light General Manager Jorge Carrasco.
Approval of the 42-year license is a critical economic benefit to City Light’s customers and to Pend Oreille PUD customers whose primary source of electricity is low-cost Boundary power, he said
Read on for details about the conclusion of the license renewal process, according to a Seattle City Light media release:
RIVERS — In Fiscal Year 2012, the Bonneville Power Administration reported $644.1 million in total costs for its federally mandated actions to mitigate the impacts Columbia River Basin hydroelectric development has had on fish and wildlife.
The costs are listed an annual report released last week by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council to the governors of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
The Northwest Power passed by Congress in 1980 requires BPA, which markets power generated at federal dams in the region, to fund the NPCC programs undertaken by state and federal agencies and some tribes.
Bonneville estimates the grand total expended since 1978, when the costs began, through 2012, is about $13 billion, not including $2.27 billion in capital investments for fish hatcheries and fish passage facilities at dams.
Read on for a summary of the 2012 costs, compiled by the Columbia Basin Bulletin:
FISHING — After my post on a Spokane Fly Fishers outing to catch large Lahontan cutthroat trout at Omak Lake, I received an email from an angler who was surprised.
“When I lived in Omak in 1965-67, we waterskied there and as I remember the lake was very alkaline and nobody fished it,” he said. “Is it possible that the lake I remember is another lake?”
“No, it's the same lake,” I responded. “But you hit exactly on the reason it is stocked with Lahontan cutthroat trout, a species originating from the southwest and specially adapted to thriving in alkaline waters. The Lahontan species also is stocked in Lake Lenore and Grimes Lake.”
By coincidence, The New York Times has just published a story recounting the successful effort to revive and preserve the Lahontan cutthroat's genetics originating from Pyramid Lake, Nev.
Note: Check out the NYT photo of the anglers wading out with ladders to get out to deeper water while gaining a higher profile for longer casting.
FISHING — Holy heresy! The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department is considering the image of a bass for a logo in its statewide “Fish Washington” campaign.
Actually, that decision already has been made. Instead of taking a stand, the state fisheries managers chose to have logos featuring both trout and bass.
But the public gets to chime in through February on the graphic technicalities of the logos.
Click here to vote and help choose a pair of new logos that will identify Fish Washington on the web and in other applications.
PUBLIC LANDS — The U.S. Forest Service has completed a 2.25 mile reroute of Forest Road 1935000 (Middle Branch of LeClerc Creek) north of Newport and east of the Pend Oreille River as part of a larger road relocation and restoration project to benefit water quality and fish habitat.
The re-routed section of road begins near the new bridge crossing of the Middle Branch of LeClerc Creek and has been relocated away from the bottom of the drainage in order to improve the riparian and stream habitat. The old section of road is currently being decommissioned and is no longer open to motor vehicle use. The decommissioning of the 2.6 miles of road along Middle Branch LeClerc Creek includes the removal of fish passage barriers at 4 locations, restoring the stream channel at each of those four stream crossings as well as floodplain re-establishment and re-contouring the road.
Read on for funding sources and details.
CLIMATE CHANGE — Out of sight, out of mind. Next thing you know, they're extinct.
And it's happening faster than ever to fish species, according to a recent study detailed in a Columbia Basin Bulletin report.
From 1900-2010, freshwater fish species in North America went extinct at a rate 877 times faster than the rate found in the fossil record, while estimates indicate the rate may double between now and 2050, the Bulletin reports.
This new information comes from a U.S. Geological Survey study to be published in the September issue of the journal BioScience.
In the fossil record, one freshwater fish species goes extinct every 3 million years, but North America lost 39 species and 18 subspecies between 1898 and 2006. Based on current trends in threatened and endangered fish species, researchers estimate that an additional 53-86 species of freshwater fish may be extinct by the year 2050.
Since the first assessment of extinct North American freshwater fishes in 1989, the number of extinct fishes increased by 25 percent.
“This study illustrates the value of placing current events into the context of deep geologic time, as rocks preserve an unbiased record of natural rates of processes before human activities began to alter the landscape, the atmosphere, the rivers, and oceans,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt.
RIVERS — Two conservation groups and three phosphate mining companies in eastern Idaho have formed a partnership intended to improve water quality in the Blackfoot River in eastern Idaho.
JR Simplot Company, Monsanto and Agrium/Nu-West Industries have joined with the Idaho Conservation League and Trout Unlimited to form the Upper Blackfoot River Initiative for Conservation.
The announcement came after a study revealed mutated trout in Idaho streams, possibly related to mining pollution. The study had been highligted on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (above) as well as the New York Times, as featured in this blog post.
Meanwhile, here's another interesting angle on the story, giving Simplot some credit, by Idaho Statesman columnist Rocky Barker.
In the latest story, the Idaho Statesman reports the conservation initiative group had compiled data on fish populations throughout the Upper Blackfoot and completed an assessment of fish passage obstacles and habitat conditions in February.
Monsanto, Boise-based J.R. Simplot Co., and Agrium/Nu-West Industries have mines in the so-called phosphate patch near the Idaho-Wyoming border.
Environmental groups have been concerned about selenium pollution from phosphate mining that’s killed livestock and aquatic life in eastern Idaho waterways.
I mean, who would believe anything in the New York Times.
Maybe there's no involvement with the giant agribusiness and the silence on the research by Idaho politicians who've married into the Simplot family.
But this special video report by Jon Stewart's reporter Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show last night sure makes an angler think about the possibilities, and have a good laugh about how things operate.
Mutated fish: another good reason for catch-and-release.
Meanwhile, here's another interesting angle on the story, giving Simplot some credit, by Idaho Statesman columnist Rocky Barker.
FISHING — A channel catfish, of all things, has set the record for traveling the longest distance of any fish in Wyoming fish-tagging history.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department official say the catfish was tagged in June 2007 just below the Kendrick Diversion Dam on Clear Creek east of Sheridan.
Last month, the fish was caught 415-miles away by an angler on the Yellowstone River near Pompey’s Pillar, Mont.
The fish likely traveled down the Powder River into Montana aided by this year’s high water and then turned upstream in the Yellowstone.
FISHERIES — Asian bighead carp have become a big pain in the rear for fisheries managers and boaters in the Great Lakes region.
To get a sense of the danger they pose to boaters, check out this video of flying carp on the Illinois River.
Illinois officials say some creative thinking about the exotic species might offer a solution to two major problems _ the Asian carp's threatening of the Great Lakes and record numbers of people facing hunger.
In other words, quit carping about the carp and start commercial fisheries to catch them so they can be consumed.
Starting last week, the state's Department of Natural Resources launched a campaign to change the fish's image and teach people how to cook the ultra-bony meat.
FISHERIES — The Inland Northwest netted millions for fish and wildlie habitat restoration from a total of $53 million grants recently awarded from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund primarily aimed at boosting endangered species.
States must contribute a minimum match of 25 percent of the estimated program costs of approved projects, or 10 percent when two or more states or territories implement a joint project.
In Washington, state partners will receive $4.6 million in grants benefiting dozens of species.
The Eastern Washington projects include:
Western Montana partners landed $4 million for funding a conservation easement on 9,300 acres of the Stimson Forestlands Conservation Project in Missoula County to benefit fish and wildlife.
See a complete list of the National 2011 grant awards under these programs.
OCEAN FISHERIES — Forty stocks of fish populations are subject to overfishing in U.S. waters, but progress is being made to rebuild stocks and reduce overfishing, federal officials say.
The number of fish populations being fished at too high of a level at the end of 2010 was up by two from 2009, according to an annual report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Among the stocks being overfished are cod in the Northeast, red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific bluefin tuna off the West coast.
But officials said many key populations of fish have shown improvement over the years. Twenty-one stocks have been rebuilt to healthy levels since 2000, and three key stocks in the Northeast — Georges Bank haddock, Atlantic pollock and spiny dogfish — reached healthy levels in 2010, said Eric Schwab, the head of NOAA’s Fisheries Service.
“We are turning a corner as we see important fish stocks rebounding,” Schwab said in a statement.
BOATING — Dworshak Reservoir is within 5 feet of full pool today. That's lower than normal for the Fourth of July holiday, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still leaving room for the unusually high, late snowpack to pour out of the mountains.
Officials flew the headwaters Tuesday and determined about 10 percent of the area was still snow covered.
“We’ll be at about 1 foot from full pool (1,600 feet) on July 5, and anticipate reaching full pool by July 10,” said Steve Hall, Corps reservoir manager.
All campgrounds and boat ramps are open.
Info: Dworshak Dam Visitor Center, (208) 476-1255.
Dworshak Dam Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
FISHERIES — Managers at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery say they have destroyed 332,000 juvenile summer steelhead since April to protect the rest of the hatchery’s fish from a deadly virus.
In April, 240,000 steelhead were destroyed after IHNV was confirmed in some rearing tanks by the Idaho Fish Health Center.
Officials say they still expect to have enough fish to meet their requirements for mitigating the impacts of Dworshak Dam on wild fisheries.
Read on for details.
FISHERIES — Although the group is a bit off our inland radar, the Pacific Fishery Management Council and its advisory bodies are making important decisions that affect our ocean fisheries and the returns of salmon and steelhead to our inland waters.
And the group is deliberating and hearing presentations in public meetings right here in Spokane this week.
The council's meeting started Monday and runs through the weekend ending next Monday at the DoubleTree Hotel Spokane City Center, 322 N. Spokane Falls Ct., to address issues related to salmon, groundfish, coastal pelagic species, highly migratory species and habitat matters.
One key decision will be whether to move ahead with ecosystem management on ocean fisheries, says Erik Robinson of the Pew Environment Group.
Conserving forage fish is an emerging topic, with a California forage fish protection law that just passed out of the Assembly last week, and newly published research on forage fish is catching attention.
Read on for more agenda items and details.
RIVERS — The Clark Fork River was a foot over flood stage in Missoula on Tuesday, the Missoulian reports.
The Montana river was predicted to rise another couple of feet by Thursday as rainfall and snowmelt increased flows.
This isn't good news for anglers with an itch to get out for traditional June hatches.
Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop fishing report:
Rock Creek is unfishable, and that's probably an understatement. Look for it to get bigger with the rain and warm weather we are supposed to get at the end of the week. We might just have to day dream about salmonflies this year.
Most of Western Montana and parts of Idaho are under flood warnings.
FISHERIES — The new upstream fish ladder at the Thompson Falls Dam and hydropower project in Thompson Falls, Mont., has opened and apparently fish such as bull trout and rainbows have started moving freely past the structure since April.
The fish ladder was completed and dedicated last fall.
The report comes from GEI Consultants Inc., the firm selected by PPL Montana to provide ecological and engineering services for the project. The story is published today at HydroWorld.com.
The $7.5 million project is designed to provide endangered bull trout and other fish varieties unhindered access to hundreds of miles of the upstream Clark Fork River and its tributaries.
Read on for more details.
FISHING — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks fisheries biologist, Ladd Knotek, will present a free program about the population and health of fish in the Fish Creek drainage on Saturday, 7 p.m., at Big Pine Fishing Access Site Campground.
That's right off I-90 west of Alberton. Take Exit 66. Head south to Fish Creek Road and drive 4.5 miles from I-90 to the Big Pine Campground. Bring a lawn chair and dress for a Montana evening.
FISHERIES — Owners of Pacific Seafood say the dissolved gasses resulting from increased flows out of Grand Coulee Dam are killing up to 100,000 large rainbow trout a day in the commercial net pens downstream.
The fish are raised in the Lake Rufus Woods net pens for sale and for stocking the Colville Indian Reservation lakes. The fish also help nurture a popular rainbow trout sport fishery.
Pacific Seafood officials called on the Bureau of Reclamation to alter the way it’s coping with flood-stage flows out of Grand Coulee, although the resolution isn't clear since the Columbia River is flooding in its lower reaches.
“If this practice isn’t stopped immediately, it will result in more than $30 million in economic damage to our company alone,” Craig Urness, Pacific Seafood spokesman said today.
“There are currently 2.7 million fish still living on the fish farm that are being threatened by this environmental and economic catastrophe.”
Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries biologists had not investigated the fish kill. They said wild fish outside the net pens would likely have the opportunity to detect poor water conditions and move to safer waters. However, they couldn't say for certain today.
FISHING — Improvements in operating Rock Island Dam will allow survival of at least 93 percent of the young salmon and steelhead migrating downstream, according to the Chelan County PUD.
The utility had to be able reach the 93-percent survival goal to meet federal criteria for boosting spring chinook, steelhead and sockeye runs.
The fish-survival debate regarding the region’s Columbia River dams began in the late 1970s and ’80s, with federal and state agencies and tribes mandating what PUDs had to do to improve fish survival numbers.
Each dam has its own plan for reaching the goals.
Rock Island Dam is fitted with fish ladders that mature fish use to get around the dam on their homeward migration to spawn. But it has no bypass system for young, ocean-bound fish. Spill is the method used to transport the fish downstream.