Field reports: Canoeists on path of Columbia salmon
RIVERS – An expedition of canoeists and Native American students is leading an upstream effort advocating construction of a fish ladder at Grand Coulee Dam to reintroduce chinook salmon runs in the upper Columbia River.
On Aug. 2, five dugout canoes started a journey up the Columbia from Astoria to pay tribute to the salmon that have been barred from historic spawning grounds since the dam shut them off in 1935.
The expedition last week had canoed more than 545 miles to Chief Joseph Dam, the first Columbia dam without a fish ladder. At least two of the boats completed the portage around Grand Coulee Dam on Saturday. They’re expect to paddle up Lake Roosevelt past Keller Ferry today toward Two Rivers by Monday night.
From the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers, the paddlers will head up the Spokane River to Little Falls – the first dam that blocked salmon from migrating up to Spokane Falls in 1910. Spokane Tribe school kids, who helped build one of the dugout canoes, plan to join the paddle.
The “ Sea to the Source” expedition plans to continue its voyage toward Canal Flats, the source of the Columbia in British Columbia.
The crew consists of five river guides who oversee a river-based environmental education program called Voyages of Rediscovery. They are enlisting the muscle power of Indian Tribes, youths and other supporters along the way.
Indian Tribes propose a fish ladder at the dam be included in the rewriting of a U.S.-Canada treaty that’s being renegotiated.
Washington ends Sno-Park alliances
PARKS – Washington is ending more than 30 years of winter-recreation access permit reciprocity with Oregon and Canada, as well as Idaho.
Starting this season, out-of-staters will no longer be able to use the state’s nordic skiing and snowmobiling Sno-Parks simply by possessing a permit from their home state. Conversely, other states will stop honoring Washington Sno-Park permits.
Washington parks officials say their more expansive winter access program, which costs more, no longer matches those in Idaho and Oregon.
Vehicle permits are required to park at cross-country ski, snowshoeing and sledding areas with plowed access points, such as Mount Spokane in Washington and Fourth of July Pass in Idaho. Oregon also requires them at some downhill ski areas.
Washington charges $40 for an annual permit, $20 for a daily. Oregon charges $25 a year, $4 a day.
Washington uses the money to pay for its entire Sno-Park program, including snow removal, trail grooming, sanitation, education programs and enforcement.
Oregon and Idaho will continue to have reciprocal agreements on the permits.
Idaho dedicates sockeye hatchery
FISHERIES – Idaho fisheries managers on Friday dedicated a new $13.5 million Springfield Hatchery near American Falls Reservoir they hope will bolster the recovery of sockeye salmon that return 900 miles from the ocean each year to spawn.
The facility will be capable of producing up to 1 million juvenile sockeye annually.