Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
November 4, 2011
Issue No. 597

Follow the CBB on TWITTER at http://twitter.com/cbbulletin and on FACEBOOK at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Columbia-Basin-Bulletin/230954175071

All stories below are posted on the CBB's website at www.cbbulletin.com
Also available is a free RSS news feed.

Table of Contents

* Winter Forecast Conference: Below Normal Temperatures, Above Average Precipitation?

* Senators Call For U.S. To Conduct Independent Testing To Assess Risk Of Salmon Virus

* Adult Chinook Transported Above Condit Dam Before Blast ‘Highly Successful’ With Spawning

* Judge Upholds Restrictions, Buffer Zones For Pesticides Used Near West Coast Salmon Habitat

* Northern Pikeminnow Reward Program Snags 155,000 Fish; Top Angler Earns $66,478

* Report Shows Global Warming Causing Huge, Fast Tree Species Migration In West

* ODFW Recommends $2.5 Million In BPA Funding For Seven Willamette Basin MOA Projects

* BPA Funds Help Estuary Partnership Open Tidal Wetlands For Salmon Habitat

* First Of Four Steelhead Stocking Efforts In Boise River Begins Next Week

* For First Time, USFWS Analyzes Economic Contributions Of Nation’s Fisheries Programs


* Winter Forecast Conference: Below Normal Temperatures, Above Average Precipitation?

Each used a different combination of tools, climate indices and calculations, but all five meteorologists offering forecasts during a conference Oct. 29 in Portland agreed that “La Nina” could well influence what sort of upcoming winter the Northwest and other parts of the globe will experience.

Four of the five predicted that the winter of 2011-2012 will be wetter than normal, though none predicted a repeat of 2010-11 when stronger La Nina signals prevailed. Snowpacks across the Pacific Northwest reached near record levels when a cool, wet late winter and spring settled on the region.

The forecast presenters were among more than 350 people gathered last Saturday for the 19th Annual Winter Forecast Conference sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. The session was held at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

La Nina conditions are occurring and expected to gradually strengthen and continue this winter, according to regularly updated forecasts from National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center. Those La Nina conditions, which include cooler than normal sea surface temperatures across must of the equatorial Pacific, seem to increase the likelihood that the Northwest will be colder and wetter than normal.

This winter CIG suggests that there are significantly increased odds of above average precipitation; odds favoring near normal or cooler than normal temperatures and that there are significantly increased odds of an above average snowpack, according to Dave Elson, lead forecaster for the Weather Service’s Portland office.

“La Nina, that’s really what drives this forecast,” Elson said. The agency says the region can “expect an active weather pattern this winter.”

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission hydrologist/meteorologist Kyle Dittmer used a host of tools, including indices such as the El Nino/Southern Oscillation and the Multi-variate ENSO Index, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Sea-surface temperature departure forecasts, and comparisons of past years’ La Nina outcomes (analog years), including water year volume forecasts. And he even factors in sunspot cycles (though they are currently in a relatively neutral mode), which he says can influence global weather patterns.

He predicts the Columbia-Snake river basin will be “slightly below normal temperature-wise for the season” and should see above average precipitation.

Dittmer said the region can expect some variability, which might include heavy rain events west of the Cascades, flooding, arctic blasts and high wind events. And rainy Portland should expect a few snow events from December to early March, he said.

His water supply forecast for January-July 2012 as measured at the lower Columbia’s The Dalles Dam is 117 million acre feet, or 109 percent of the recent 30-year average. In October 2010 Dittmer predicted that 2011 runoff would be 129 MAF, 120 percent of normal, and that early season forecast was in the ballpark. The observed, unregulated runoff was 141.7 MAF from January through July.

Former Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor, as well as Pete Parsons and Jim Little, likened the pattern being experienced now to one that began in the winter of 2007-2008 played out in 2008-2009. That pattern saw La Nina conditions building in the 2007-2008, lapsing to neutral conditions during the late spring-summer, then rebuilding the following winter.

“That’s about as good of a match as you can get,” Parson said of the strategy of identifying start-of-year conditions from the past that might apply to the current year’s forecast. The winter of 2008-2009 started out strong with an early season dump of snow even into lower level sites such as Portland but ended up being a relatively average precipitation year overall. Parsons and Little do forecasts for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Taylor said he expected November to be relatively benign with a transition in December into cooler, wetter conditions. He forecast December through February to be “very active” with above-average mountain snowfall for the winter; significant precipitation totals with possibility of flooding in the west, cooler than average temperatures and a good chance of low elevation snow, especially in January.

Parsons’ forecast followed the same track with above average temperatures early and weather turning stormy in December and January, followed by a cold February.

“Cold periods will have a better chance of being accompanied by snow this winter. Most mountain snowpacks should be above normal by late January-February,” Parsons’ forecast said.


* Senators Call For U.S. To Conduct Independent Testing To Assess Risk Of Salmon Virus

With additional reports of British Columbia salmon testing positive for Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, and Mark Begich, D-AK, this week sent a letter to key senate appropriators calling for the federal government to independently test samples of the recently detected virus, rather than relying on Canadian scientists.

“The threat of a potentially devastating infectious salmon virus needs an immediate federal response,” said the senators. “We are writing to urge you to marshal the resources we need to prioritize Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) research, surveillance, outreach, and mitigation measures across the Pacific Northwest and develop a response plan.

“At risk are healthy salmon populations which are the foundation for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity throughout the West Coast. Besides the two infected sockeye salmon found in Rivers Inlet, there are now additional reports that a wild adult coho salmon found in a tributary of the Fraser River showed signs of infectious salmon anemia disease.”

The full letter can be found at http://cantwell.senate.gov/news/110211_Salmon_Virus_Letter.pdf

(For more information see CBB, Oct. 21, 2011 “Researchers Say Lethal Marine Influenza Virus Found In Wild Salmon Off British Columbia Coast” http://www.cbbulletin.com/413445.aspx)

Regarding the additional reports, the senators were referring to information in a blog posting by British Columbia biologist and activist Alexandra Morton, who said she received a report from “Dr. Fred Kibenge, of the World Animal Health reference lab for ISA virus in Province Edward Island, on salmon a small group of us collected in the Fraser River on Oct. 12.

“Late last week results from this group of tests was leaked to the New York Times and we heard that a coho salmon tested positive for ISAv. Now that I have the complete report we learn that, similar to the sockeye from River's Inlet, the coho in the Fraser River was infected with the European strain of ISA virus. But we see from this report that a chinook salmon and a chum salmon also tested positive,” Morton wrote.

Morton’s full posting and reports can be found at http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2011/11/more-european-isa-virus-detected-in-wild-bc-salmon.html

Cantwell and the two Alaska senators urged appropriators to “prioritize the resources and coordination necessary to address this emerging salmon virus threat.”

“We urge the U.S. government to obtain samples from the two infected sockeye and run independent diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of the ISA virus in British Columbia,” the senators wrote. “We should not rely on another government – particularly one that may have a motive to misrepresent its findings-- to determine how we assess the risk ISA may pose to American fishery jobs.”

The letter came one day after Senate passage of legislation authored by Cantwell and backed by all eight West Coast Senators that requires an investigation be conducted and a rapid response plan be delivered to Congress within six months.

The amendment was included in the minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2112), which passed the Senate by a vote of 69 to 30. The next step will be a conference of the House and Senate.

Cantwell’s amendment was backed by Sens. Murkowski, Begich, Patty Murray, D-WA, Ron Wyden, D-OR, Jeff Merkley, D-OR, Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and Dianne Feinstein,D-CA.

The letter was sent to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies which funds the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The letter outlined actions the senators urge be taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including:

-- Confirmation by the U.S. government of the presence of the salmon virus in British Columbia. Evaluate and bolster the nation’s surveillance and monitoring framework;

-- Measure salmon virus susceptibility among different populations and species of wild salmon in the North Pacific;

-- Develop essential action plans to respond to the salmon virus;

-- Integrate salmon virus monitoring into existing outreach programs to protect the seafood industry from consumer uncertainty (the virus does not pose a threat to human health);

-- Protect current salmon restoration programs.

“We sincerely hope that the recent detection of ISA in Pacific salmon turns out to be a false alarm,” the senators continued in the letter. “However, waiting for even more red flags to appear would be irresponsible. We know that ISA has catastrophically impacted salmon industries around the world, costing tens of thousands of jobs abroad, and that the virus is virtually impossible to eradicate once it has spread within an area. We urge you to act now to prevent a similar catastrophic outbreak in the salmon populations of the Pacific Northwest.”

Cantwell’s legislation approved by the Senate calls on the National Aquatic Animal Health Task Force to evaluate the risk the virus could have on wild salmon off West Coast and Alaskan waters, and to develop a plan to address this emerging threat. The legislation requires a report be delivered to Congress within six months.

The task force works cross-jurisdictionally with several agencies, including NOAA, the United States Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The task force brings together federal, state, local, and tribal government. Sen. Cantwell’s legislation requires the Task Force to prioritize ISA research, surveillance and response.

In addition, the legislation calls on the task force to make recommendations for management, evaluate mitigation techniques, and ensure the nation has the needed tools to adequately respond to infectious salmon anemia.

The amendment requires a report be delivered to Congress within six months which outlines surveillance, susceptibility of species and populations, potential vectors, gaps in knowledge, and recommendations for management.

The amendment does not have a cost but rather streamlines existing research goals and surveillance efforts, highlights research needs and forges critical collaborations necessary to assess this potentially devastating risk to wild salmon and the coastal economies which rely on them.


* Adult Chinook Transported Above Condit Dam Before Blast ‘Highly Successful’ With Spawning

Adult tule fall chinook salmon trapped this late summer and early fall in the lower White Salmon River and transported upstream above Condit Dam were “highly successful” in their spawning efforts, according to biologists that monitored the effort.

There was no sign of prespawn mortality, i.e. females dying before they lay down their eggs, among the 120 carcasses found along the southwest Washington stream. That’s fact that is stunning, as in stunningly good, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Rod Engle.

“Those fish put their eggs in the grounds,” Engle said of gravel redds or nests built by the fish.

The trapping was conducted in order to prevent the fish from putting those eggs down in the lower three miles of the river. If planted there biologists believed the eggs would be suffocated by a flood of sediment that was to be swept downstream Oct. 26 when a dynamite blast cleared a tunnel built through the base of Condit and emptied the content of its reservoir, Northwestern Lake.

The tunnel is the beginning of the end for Condit, which has since the early 1900s blocked fish passage to habitat upstream that had historically been used by salmon and steelhead, and likely lamprey as well. The dam will be removed next spring and summer.

(For more information see CBB, Oct. 28, 2011, “Blast Drains Condit Dam’s Reservoir On White Salmon River; Dam Structure Removal Set For Spring 2012” http://www.cbbulletin.com/413585.aspx)

Meanwhile any young fish produced from this year’s spawning should be able to make their way down stream through the tunnel on their way to the Columbia River and then the Pacific Ocean. And any of their number that survive to return to freshwater as adults should have clear path up the White Salmon.

Condit's removal opens an additional 5 miles of spawning grounds for fall chinook and up to 33 miles for steelhead. Both species are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The White Salmon Working Group, which is a consortium of Yakama Nation, federal, state, and PacifiCorp biologists, estimates the White Salmon River has enough spawning grounds to accommodate more than 600 steelhead spawners and 1,200 fall chinook. Bull trout, coho, lamprey and spring chinook could also benefit from a reconnected river. Pacificorp owns the dam.

The working group came up with the plan to trap and haul spawners upriver so they could build redds where they wouldn’t be covered by sediment.

Four surveys conducted Oct. 18-20 in areas considered to be prime spawning habitat turned up 180 redds. That count would be the minimum estimate, given the fact that redds built in deeper water can easily be missed, and the fact that only a portion of the available habitat was surveyed.

“You can only see redds that are in pretty shallow water,” said the USFWS’ Joe Skalicki.

A total of 679 tule spawners were trapped and hauled above the dam, which is well above the goal of moving at least 500 fish. Of that total 299 or about 45 percent were females. The fish were mined for genetic samples.

“It’s amazing, I don’t even know what to say,” Engle said of the prospect of those higher reaches of the White Salmon returning to salmon productivity after being idle for nearly 100 years.

Those involved in the project hope to be able to set up a so-called screw trap in the river next year so they can trap a sampling of any juvenile fish that might be migrating toward the ocean. That would give biologists an idea about the productivity of this year’s spawners, and again take genetic samples so they can start building fish family trees. The USFWS through its Abernathy Fish Technology Center plans to verify genetic lineages of wild stocks in the river, and initiate plans to monitor how those populations are faring after dam removal


* Judge Upholds Restrictions, Buffer Zones For Pesticides Used Near West Coast Salmon Habitat

A Maryland-based U.S. District Court judge on Monday upheld a 2008 NOAA Fisheries Service “biological opinion” that says the federal registration of the three pesticides without recently imposed restrictions would jeopardize 27 West Coast salmon and steelhead species that are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

“Upon reviewing the extensive administrative record and briefings by the parties, the Court discerns a rational connection between the voluminous facts and studies considered by the NMFS and the decisions reached in the NMFS’ final BiOp,” the Oct. 31 “memorandum opinion” from Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., says. “Although Plaintiffs disagree with many of the NMFS’ findings and conclusions and have presented persuasive arguments as to why the NMFS should have used different numbers and reached different conclusions, Plaintiffs have not shown that the NMFS ignored the best scientific and commercial data available or that the NMFS’ conclusions are irrational.

“Although Plaintiffs have demonstrated that the BiOp is of ‘less than ideal clarity’ at points and that the NMFS could have reasonably reached a conclusion more favorable to Plaintiffs, the Court finds that the BiOp is not arbitrary and capricious,” the judge wrote.

Plaintiffs in the case, Dow AgroScience, Makhteshim Agan of North America, Inc., and Cheminova, Inc., “especially contest” the first element of the ESA BiOp’s reasonable and prudent alternative, which requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit use of the chemicals by ground application within 500 feet, and aerial application within 1,000 feet, of any salmonid habitat, the opinion says. The three companies hold registrations issued by EPA that authorize them to sell products containing the three insecticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion.

Federal agencies are required to engage in an official ESA consultation with, in this case NOAA Fisheries, regarding actions that might affect listed species. The action is the registration for use of the three pesticides. The end result of consultation is a BiOp that judges whether the action poses jeopardy to species and, if it does, can recommend actions NOAA Fisheries feels are necessary to avoid jeopardy.

The final BiOp on chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion, which was released on Nov. 18, 2008, is the first in a series of BiOps being prepared by NOAA Fisheries in which a total of 37 pesticides will be evaluated. It said the three pesticides jeopardize the survival of listed salmon and prescribed numerous actions intended to eliminate that threat.

To-date a total of four BiOps have been completed for that evaluate 24 of those pesticides, according to NOAA Fisheries’ Monica Allen.

All opinions for these active ingredients are scheduled to be completed on or before April 30, 2012.

Three (1-3) of the completed opinions consider organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. The most recent opinion (4) considers four herbicides and two fungicides.

For more information about the consultation process go to:

Earthjustice represents the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and Defenders of Wildlife, which intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of defendant NOAA Fisheries.

“The Court’s decision is a victory for everyone’s health,” said Aimee Code with the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides. “It foiled the pesticide industry’s attempt to evade the laws that protect both people and wildlife.”

“This case was ultimately just a diversion from the main issue. The fact is, many pesticides are getting into the nation’s rivers and poisoning fish as well as destroying fisheries jobs,” said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “With this diversion behind us, the agencies can now turn to solving the real problem.”

The case stems from a lawsuit originally filed by conservation and fishing groups in 2001. In response to that litigation, the fishery experts at NOAA Fisheries evaluated these pesticides and determined that no-spray buffer zones next to streams and vegetated strips to catch pesticide-laden runoff from fields are needed to protect salmon.

NOAA scientists found the three chemicals not only can be lethal to salmon at certain concentrations, but can also hinder salmon growth at lower levels of concentration by impairing their ability to smell their prey and by reducing the amount of small fish and insects for food. The chemicals have also been found to slow the swimming of salmon or make their swimming erratic, impairing their ability to return to their natal streams to spawn and to avoid predators.

NMFS handed off implementation of the BiOp’s pesticide restrictions to EPA, the agency charged with regulating pesticides, almost three years ago. According to the defendant intervenors in the lawsuit EPA has yet to take any actions to implement any of the measures outlined in the BiOp.

“EPA’s priority should be preventing the poisoning of America’s endangered wildlife, not boosting the profits of pesticide manufacturers,” said Jason Rylander, attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “Now that the court has ruled, hopefully the agency will get back to saving imperiled salmon and steelhead without further delay.”

NOAA Fisheries’ biological opinion says these three chemicals may be used in pesticides if farmers and others follow specific restrictions on how and when they apply the pesticides to their fields and crops. NOAA says these restrictions should be made explicit on the pesticide labels.

EPA examines and registers ingredients of a pesticide to ensure there will be no unreasonable adverse effects. Once registered, a pesticide must be used in a way that is consistent with approved directions on the label.

The ruling can be found at:


* Northern Pikeminnow Reward Program Snags 155,000 Fish; Top Angler Earns $66,478

Anglers participating in a special reward program this year hauled more than 155,000 northern pikeminnow from the Columbia and Snake rivers, thus saving an estimated 4 million young salmon and steelhead from getting eaten by the hungry predators.

The Northern Pikeminnow Sports Reward Program pays cash for catching and removing the pikeminnow. The top angler in 2011 earned $66,478 during the six-month season. The second place fisherman brought in $60,742. Anglers also caught 156 pikeminnow that were specially tagged and worth up to $500 each.

“This program is not only good for salmon, it provides an opportunity to earn income, which is especially important during these tough economic times,” said Russell Porter, senior program manager for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. “We appreciate the effort of all those anglers who participated, and we look forward to another successful year in 2012.”

Anglers get paid $4 to $8 for northern pikeminnow 9 inches and larger caught in the lower Columbia (river mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and Snake (river mouth to Hells Canyon Dam) rivers. The anglers get paid $4 for each of the first 100 pikeminnow they turn in in a season, $5 for each of the next 300 fish and $8 for fish No. 401 and beyond.

The annual program started May 1 and was originally scheduled to close Sept. 30. Program managers extended the season through Oct. 16. The extension resulted in rewards to anglers for catching more than 7,000 additional northern pikeminnow.

The northern pikeminnow is a large member of the minnow family native to the Pacific slope of western North America. Formerly known as "northern squawfish", the name was changed to northern pikeminnow by the American Fisheries Society in 1998. It has a long snout with a large mouth extending back to the eye. The body is dark green or dusky green above and silvery or creamy white below, with clear fins. Northern pikeminnow are similar in shape to the non-native walleye, but lacks the walleye's obvious teeth and spiny fin rays.

The northern pikeminnow of the Columbia River is not the same species as the Colorado pikeminnow, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. They are two distinct species.

Since 1991, more than 3 million pikeminnow have been removed from the Snake and Columbia rivers through the sport reward program. Last year, anglers caught approximately 174,000 pikeminnow. The harvested fish are processed into fertilizer and poultry food.

The goal of the program is not to eliminate northern pikeminnow, but rather to reduce the average size of the population by removing larger, older fish. Reducing the number of these predators can greatly help the salmon and steelhead juveniles making it out to sea.

BPA funds the program to partially mitigate for the impact of the Columbia River hydroelectric system on salmon. Results indicate the program is successful. Predation on juvenile salmonids has been cut by an estimated 40 as a result of the program.

The program is administered by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration.

Get more information at www.pikeminnow.org


* Report Shows Global Warming Causing Huge, Fast Tree Species Migration In West

A huge “migration” of trees has begun across much of the West due to global warming, insect attack, diseases and fire, and many tree species are projected to decline or die out in regions where they have been present for centuries, while others move in and replace them.

In an enormous display of survival of the fittest, the forests of the future are taking a new shape.

In a new report, http://www.fsl.orst.edu/~waring/Publications/pdf/RSE-in%20press_Aug%2022%202011.pdf, scientists outline the impact that a changing climate will have on which tree species can survive, and where. The study suggests that many species that were once able to survive and thrive are losing their competitive footholds, and opportunistic newcomers will eventually push them out.

In some cases, once-common species such as lodgepole pine will be replaced by other trees, perhaps a range expansion of ponderosa pine or Douglas-fir. Other areas may shift completely out of forest into grass savannah or sagebrush desert. In central California, researchers concluded that more than half of the species now present would not be expected to persist in the climate conditions of the future.

“Some of these changes are already happening, pretty fast and in some huge areas,” said Richard Waring, professor emeritus at Oregon State University and lead author of the study. “In some cases the mechanism of change is fire or insect attack, in others it’s simply drought.

“We can’t predict exactly which tree (species) will die or which one will take its place, but we can see the long-term trends and probabilities,” Waring said. “The forests of our future are going to look quite different.”

Waring said tree species that are native to a local area or region are there because they can most effectively compete with other species given the specific conditions of temperature, precipitation, drought, cold-tolerance and many other factors that favor one species over another in that location.

As those climatic conditions change, species that have been established for centuries or millennia will lose their competitive edge, Waring said, and slowly but surely decline or disappear.

This survey, done with remote sensing of large areas over a four-year period, compared 15 coniferous tree species that are found widely across much of the West in Canada and the United States. The research explored impacts on 34 different “eco-regions” ranging from the Columbia Plateau to the Sierra Nevada, Snake River Plain and Yukon Highlands.

It projected which tree species would be at highest risk of disturbance in a future that’s generally expected to be 5-9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by 2080, with perhaps somewhat more precipitation in the winter and spring, and less during the summer.

Among the findings:

-- Some of the greatest shifts in tree species are expected to occur in both the northern and southern extremes of this area, such as British Columbia, Alberta, and California.

-- Large declines are expected in lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce, and more temperate species such as Douglas-fir and western hemlock may expand their ranges.

-- Many wilderness areas are among those at risk of the greatest changes, and will probably be the first to experience major shifts in tree species.

-- Some of the mild, wetter areas of western Oregon and Washington will face less overall species change than areas of the West with a harsher climate.

-- More than half of the evergreen species are experiencing a significant decrease in their competitiveness in six eco-regions.

-- Conditions have become more favorable for outbreaks of diseases and insects.

-- Warming will encourage growth at higher elevations and latitudes, and increased drought at the other extremes. Fire frequency will continue to increase across the West, and any tree species lacking drought resistance will face special challenges.

“Ecosystems are always changing at the landscape level, but normally the rate of change is too slow for humans to notice,” said Steven Running, the University of Montana Regents Professor and a co-author of the study. “Now the rate of change is fast enough we can see it.”

Even though the rate of change has increased, these processes will take time, the scientists said. A greater stability of forest composition will not be attained anytime soon, perhaps for centuries.

“There’s not a lot we can do to really control these changes,” Waring said. “For instance, to keep old trees alive during drought or insect attacks that they are no longer able to deal with, you might have to thin the forest and remove up to half the trees. These are very powerful forces at work.”

One of the best approaches to plan for an uncertain future, the researchers said, is to maintain “connective corridors” as much as possible so that trees can naturally migrate to new areas in a changing future and not be stopped by artificial boundaries.

Also collaborating on the research was Nicholas Coops at the University of British Columbia. The work has been supported by NASA, and the study is being published in two professional journals, Ecological Modeling and Remote Sensing of Environment.


* ODFW Recommends $2.5 Million In BPA Funding For Seven Willamette Basin MOA Projects

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended seven projects to the Bonneville Power Administration for funding in 2012 under terms of the Willamette River Basin Memorandum of Agreement regarding wildlife habitat protection and enhancement.

All projects, says the agency, meet the requirements of protecting and/or acquiring wildlife mitigation habitats in the Willamette Valley. Five of the projects are within key Conservation Opportunity Areas as identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy.

-- Metro will be awarded $100,000 to help acquire the 107-acre Birkeland property near Sherwood which contains one of the few large unique wetland habitats that remain in the area. Protection of this property will build on and fill important gaps in regional acquisitions by the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge and 15 years of acquisition work by Metro.

-- The Western Rivers Conservancy will receive $1 million as part of the acquisition cost of the 160-acre Gray farm near Stayton. Located in the Lower and North Santiam rivers Conservation Opportunity Area, it provides riparian floodplain function and flood refugia habitats for ESA-listed chinook salmon, steelhead, Oregon chub and many other aquatic and terrestrial species identified as being in need of conservation help.

-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $150,000 toward the acquisition of the 44-acre Six Corners property near Sherwood which is directly adjacent to the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge in the Tualatin River Conservation Opportunity Area. It has high restoration potential at low cost and will benefit a variety of species.

-- The Mckenzie River Trust will receive $37,000 to purchase the 57-acre Swango property near Harrisburg. The island property has not been farmed or developed and remains in its natural state. It is located in the Willamette River Floodplain Conservation Opportunity Area and has excellent habitat for native fish species. Other species to benefit include red-legged frogs, dusky Canada geese and American bitterns.

-- The Mckenzie River Trust will receive $350,000 to help purchase the 170-acre Harper property near Junction City. The area contains an extensive network of off-channel habitat and cold water sloughs, shallow gravel bars and native riparian vegetation. It is located in the Willamette River Floodplain Conservation Opportunity Area and provides habitat for chinook salmon and Oregon chub. Other species that use the area include American bitterns, olive-sided willow flycatchers, white-breasted nuthatches, American kestrels, dusky Canada geese, hooded mergansers, red-legged frogs, western pond turtles, ospreys and bald eagles.

-- The Nature Conservancy will receive $47,000 to purchase the Rattlesnake Butte property, a 97-acre parcel near Monroe. BPA will hold a conservation easement on the property which will be transferred to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. It is located in the West Eugene Conservation Opportunity Area and has one of the very few remnant populations of the western rattlesnake known in the Willamette Valley. The south facing rocky slopes harbor populations of virtually every reptile native to the Willamette Valley. It is widely recognized as a significant area by the state’s herpetologists.

-- The Trust for Public Lands will receive $800,000 to acquire a conservation easement on the 284-acre Koelling property near Yamhill. The property hosts one of the northernmost known populations of Fender’s blue butterflies in the valley. Large populations of Kincaid’s lupine and other nectar species are present. It is about 10 miles from the Yamhill Oaks Conservation Opportunity Area.

The Oregon Conservation Strategy provides a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats through a voluntary, statewide approach to conservation. It was developed by ODFW with the help of a diverse coalition of Oregonians including scientists, conservation groups, landowners, extension services, anglers, hunters, and representatives from agriculture, forestry and rangelands.

ODFW Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/willamette_wmp/index.asp


* BPA Funds Help Estuary Partnership Open Tidal Wetlands For Salmon Habitat

Young salmon and steelhead now have more access to wetlands in the Columbia River estuary where they can rest, eat and grow before heading out to the ocean.

Through the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership, the Bonneville Power Administration provided more than $650,000 to help the Columbia Land Trust reopen 50 acres of historic tidal wetlands on the Grays River in Wahkiakum County, Wash.

The Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation also provided support.

A dike built 100 years ago for agriculture blocked the wetlands from the river's tidal influences.

Over the past two years, the Columbia Land Trust worked with neighbors, county leadership and the flood control district to design the project approximately three miles upstream from the river's confluence with the Columbia.

This summer construction crews built a new dike that allowed workers to breach the old levee. The project was completed earlier this month. For the first time in a century, tidal water from the Grays River overflowed into part of the old floodplain roughly the size of 40 football fields.

Ian Sinks, stewardship program manager with the Columbia Land Trust, says tidal wetlands are very productive ecologically. They offer fish refuge from predators while transitioning from fresh to salt water. "It gives them a chance to grow and to feed. We know the bigger the fish is when it hits the ocean the better chance for survival it has," said Sinks.

BPA ratepayer funding supports such restoration projects to mitigate for the environmental impacts of the Federal Columbia River Power System. BPA and other federal agencies have committed to habitat improvements that will boost estuary survival of salmon and steelhead protected under the Endangered Species Act, helping more fish reach the ocean and return to Northwest streams as adults.

The Grays River restoration effort has also brought jobs to the area. For the past two months, the local construction company on the project employed four full-time and several part-time workers.

To date, the project is the fifth wetland restoration effort by Columbia Land Trust to help young salmon and steelhead in the Grays Bay watershed.

BPA also funded part of the Fort Columbia Restoration Project near Chinook, Wash.


* First Of Four Steelhead Stocking Efforts In Boise River Begins Next Week

More than 250 steelhead will be stocked in the Boise River on Thursday, Nov. 10, the first of four planned stocking efforts during the next few weeks.

The fish will be stocked in the Boise River from Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park. Additional stockings are planned for Thursday, November 17, Tuesday, November 22 and Thursday, December 1, weather permitting.

Because of their size - six to 12 pounds - the actual number of steelhead stocked will depend on the capacity of the tanker truck hauling the fish from Oxbow Hatchery on the Snake River.

Besides a fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit. Though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling.

All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin - the small fin normally found immediately behind the dorsal fin. Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider the fish a steelhead. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water.

Steelhead limits on the Boise River are three fish per day, nine in possession, and 20 for the fall season.

The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to the Idaho Power Co.-owned and funded Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River.

Many of the returning steelhead will become part of the ongoing steelhead hatchery program at Oxbow Hatchery as part of Idaho Power Company's mitigation.

"We're hopeful that this year's hatchery steelhead run will easily allow Oxbow Hatchery personnel to fill their fish quota," said Sam Sharr, Fish and Game's anadromous fish coordinator. "Any additional hatchery fish collected at the fish trap will be divided among Idaho Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife."

For more information regarding the Boise River steelhead release, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465 or check the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.


* For First Time, USFWS Analyzes Economic Contributions Of Nation’s Fisheries Programs

The fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in association with state agencies and other conservation organizations, contributes $3.6 billion to the nation’s economy and supports 68,000 jobs across the country, according to a new report issued by the agency.

“The report confirms once again that fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreational activities are an economic engine for our country,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “When we invest in restoring fish and wildlife habitat and creating opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation, we are investing in economic growth and jobs for the American people.”

Overall, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year, Salazar noted. One in 20 U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

The report, “Conserving America’s Fisheries, An Assessment of Economic Contributions from Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation,” says that each dollar invested in the Service’s Fisheries Program, combined with its partners, generates about $28 in economic contributions and value.

The economic contributions generated, the report says, are evidenced at sporting goods stores, marinas, guides and outfitter services, boat dealerships, bait shops, gas stations, cafes, hotels, and many other enterprises.

The report – the first time that Service economists have analyzed the economic contributions of the nation’s fisheries programs – finds that a total of 68,000 American jobs are associated, directly or indirectly, with the fisheries conservation programs and projects. The report also shows the Service’s National Fish Hatchery System alone generates $900 million in industrial output and $550 million in retail sales. National Fish Hatchery programs generate 8,000 jobs and $256 million in salaries and wages.

Meanwhile, the National Fish Passage Program works with partners to reopen an average of 890 miles of river habitat annually, which has an economic value of $483 million and supports 11,000 jobs. That is more than $542,000 in economic benefit per stream mile restored.

For a copy of the report, go to http://www.fws.gov/fisheries

For more information about the CBB contact:
-- BILL CRAMPTON, Editor/Writer, bcrampton@cbbulletin.com, phone:
541-312-8860 or
-- BARRY ESPENSON, Senior Writer, bespenson@msn.com, phone: 360-696-4005; fax: 360-694-1530

The stories in this e-mail newsletter are posted on the Columbia Basin Bulletin website at www.cbbulletin.com. If you would like access to the CBB archives, please consider becoming a Member of the CBB website for as little as $5 a month. Your membership will help support maintenance of the 10-year (1998-2008) news database and the production of trustworthy, timely news and information about Columbia Basin fish and wildlife issues.


Feedback comments should be sent by e-mail to the Editor at bcrampton@cbbulletin.com. Please put "feedback"in the subject line. We encourage comments about particular stories, complaints about inaccuracies or omissions; additional information; general views about the topic covered; or opinions that counterbalance statements reported.

The Columbia Basin Bulletin e-mail newsletter is produced by Intermountain Communications of Bend, Oregon and supported with Bonneville Power Administration fish and wildlife funds through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.
Home Contact


              Page Updated: Friday November 04, 2011 11:46 PM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2011, All Rights Reserved