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Weekly Fish and Wildlife News October 16, 2009 Issue No. 504

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

* Colville Tribes, States Test 'Selective' Commercial Fishing Gear To Reduce Wild Fish Mortality

* Angler Success Closes Hanford Reach Salmon Fishery To Protect Spawner Escapement

* Snake River Wild Steelhead Return Breaks Record; Fall Chinook Jacks Four Times Previous Record

* Fall Fish Returns Strong, Catch Rates High; Sport Coho Catch Second Highest On Record

* Fish Biologists Tagging Willamette Coho To Better Understand Surprisingly High Return

* Council Approves 'High-Level Indicators' To Measure Fish And Wildlife Project Success

* Study: Fisheries Management Too Slow To Account For Climate Change, Human Behavior

* NOAA Designates Critical Habitat For Green Sturgeon, Includes Columbia River Estuary

* NOAA's 2009 Winter Outlook Has Pacific Northwest Drier Than Average Due To El Nino

* Using Life-Long Tags, Study Monitors Causes Of Death For Steller Sea Lions

* NOAA Honors Three Seattle-Area Researchers For Scientific Publications

* Bureau Of Rec Announces $3.7 Million For Deschutes Water Conservation Projects

* Three Men Charged With Salmon Theft, Allegedly Night Fishing At Hatchery Site

* Feedback: Snake River Sockeye Decline


* Colville Tribes, States Test 'Selective' Commercial Fishing Gear To Reduce Wild Fish Mortality

The notion of harvesting fish from the Columbia River basin with "selective" commercial gear is gaining attention, with central Washington's Colville Tribes among those taking the lead.

The ultimate goal is to boost the harvest of hatchery fish while aiding in the conservation of imperiled wild salmon and steelhead stocks.

By picking and choosing what's harvested, fishery managers could better control the straying of hatchery fish onto spawning grounds, and also pluck out enough wild fish to enhance gene pools at hatcheries.

The latest science indicates that a mingling of hatchery and wild fish on the spawning grounds can reduce the fitness of the natural population, while an infusion of wild native genes can likely improve the hatchery product.

"I think it's going to take time, but I think it's going to move forward," the Colville Tribes' Joe Peone said of the desire to see selective techniques employed upstream and downstream by sport and commercial fishers. Peone is director of the tribes' fish and wildlife department.

In the mid-Columbia region where the Colvilles fish, the ability to live capture fish would aid in the recovery of stocks that are protected under the Endangered Species Act, such as Upper Columbia wild spring chinook salmon and steelhead. The wild fish could be released to continue their spawning journey and marked hatchery fish harvested to fill tribal members' stores.

The ideal is to identify gear that can be obtained at relatively low cost and can be operated with high catch rates and high fish release survival.

"You can use a whole range of gears in different areas," Keith Kutchins told the Northwest Power and Conservation Council during an August presentation about the gear testing. Kutchins supervised the testing last year and again this year. Considered would be beach and purse seine netting, fishwheels, weirs, hoop nets, tangle nets, dip nets, angling, surface Merwin traps and other alternatives.

Tribal tests using a variety of gear are continuing for the second season with positive results. For five days in late September tribal researchers deployed a purse seine in the reservoir above Wells Dam on the mid-Columbia to test, primarily, its effectiveness at harvesting steelhead without harming protected members of the run.

The score? Some 68 fin-clipped hatchery steelhead "keepers," seven unmarked wild fish that were released, and zero wild steelhead mortalities.

The catch was modest given the enormity of this year's steelhead run, but tribal fishermen proved once again that they could catch and release wild fish relatively unharmed with the purse seine.

"I'd say we've had a real good year," Colville biologist James Ives said of the spring, summer and fall gear testing. One disappointment was the inability to land larger numbers of steelhead from what is a banner 2009 run. Through Oct. 9 a total of 38,709 steelhead had been counted swimming up Priest Rapid Dam's fish ladders. That's the second highest count on record.

The count upriver at Wells Dam through Oct. 13 includes 8,280 wild steelhead and 15,756 hatchery origin steelhead.

But, "it was really slim pickings. We though we would catch a lot of steelhead but it just didn't happen," Ives said. "We just didn't find them."

The following week the tribes used a "tangle" net, catching another 44 steelhead, including 33 hatchery fish and 11 "natural origin" steelhead. Unfortunately, six of the wild fish died, leaving that gear with a 55 percent mortality rate for steelhead. Tangle nets had been used in 2008 to catch summer chinook with an 80 percent survival rate. The tangle nets have a smaller mesh than traditional gill-nets so that netted fish are less likely to "gilled" and suffocated.

"Purse seines are the way to go" in most instances for steelhead and performed well on other species as well, tribal biologist Michael Rayton said.

The tribes will spend more time this fall using tangle nets to target coho salmon.

Using the purse seine this summer and fall the tribes harvested 2,394 summer chinook, including 1,196 hatchery origin and 1,198 natural origin fish with only four mortalities. That amounts to a 99 percent direct survival rate, according to preliminary data compiled by the researchers. They also caught 62 summer chinook with tangle nets and released 24 of the fish that were of natural origin. The survival rate was nearly 88 percent.

The tribes also caught 14,422 sockeye this summer, about 500 with a tangle net and the rest with the purse seine.

The summer-fall chinook or the sockeye are not ESA-listed. But the tribes' want a sufficient number of the wild fish to escape spawn and keep the populations healthy.

The 700-foot long purse seine is deployed in a J or U shape, extending down into the water 40 feet. As it fills with fish, the ends are pulled together to entrap salmon and other stocks.

"You can go through and pick those that have an adipose fin and let them swim over the cork line" to continue their journey, Kutchins Most of the hatchery fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin.

Tribal officials are promoting the use of selective gear and showcasing their results. They presented this year's preliminary research data to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission as well as to the NPCC.

Peone said that about 30 different people, most of them fishery managers, came out during August to watch the tribes' gear testing.

Much of the test fishing took place at the confluence of the Columbia and Okanogan rivers and in the Okanogan and at its confluence with the Similkameen.

"We've been up there and people have been out with us," the WDFW's Eric Kinne said of the learning process related to selective fishing. The state agency this year launched its own tests of live capture gear.

The WDFW this late summer-early fall targeted tule fall chinook and early-run coho using the same purse seine boat, Dreamcatcher, used by the Colvilles. The boat was specially outfitted for the tribes and was leased this past season. But, the tribes intend to buy it, Peone said.

The state is testing three selective gear types -- purse and beach seines and a floating Merwin trap. All corral fish while leaving them free-swimming. Once contained, fish can be identified and released by type or species with a minimum amount of handling.

"Instantaneous mortality is next to none," Kinne said of the state's gear tests. And again the purse seine did best, sweeping in about 100 fish per day, including tule and bright fall chinook, coho, steelhead and a few small sturgeon. The beach seine netted about 70 fish per day and the Merwin trap only 16 total, Kinne said.

The one-year pilot study is supported by $200,000 in federal funding. If selective gear is employed it would allow commercial fishers to catch more hatchery fish overall by reducing the mortality rate. Impacts (mortalities) on listed wild fish serve to limit both sport and commercial harvests.

It is estimate that standard mesh gill-nets cause a post release mortality of 30 percent for steelhead and 40 percent for spring chinook salmon. The estimates for smaller mesh tangle nets are 14.7 percent for spring chinook and 18 percent for steelhead. In the fall the estimated steelhead mortality is 66 percent when gill-nets with 8-inch mesh are deployed and 59 percent with 9-inch mesh.

The WDFW says the pilot study is likely just the first step in a multi-year effort to identify -- and likely modify -- commercial fishing gear for possible incorporation into fisheries. The state contracted with commercial fishermen to conduct the tests.

Shifting to more selective gear is consistent with principles developed by the Hatchery Scientific Review Group and with the state's Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries Plan, Kinne said. The HSRG says selective fisheries should be used to control the number of strays on spawning grounds and help fortify hatchery broodstock.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will be testing more selective gear as well in the coming days, evaluating the effectiveness of using tangle nets on coho salmon.

The Colvilles would like to see some of the returning salmon get through the gauntlet of fisheries that the fish face in the ocean and in the lower Columbia.

"We're at the end of the line," Peone said. Funding for the Colville gear testing was approved as part of the NPCC's 2007-2009 fish and wildlife program budget and guaranteed in May 2008 with the signing of a memorandum of agreement that calls for continued testing through 2010 and deployment of selective gear, if appropriate through 2017.

The MOA was signed by the tribes, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. BPA provides funding for the Council program and for much of the work called for in the MOA. The selective fish gear evaluation and deployment is earmarked for $2.8 million over the 10-year span.


* Angler Success Closes Hanford Reach Salmon Fishery To Protect Spawner Escapement

A highly successful fishing season has raised concerns that the spawner escapement to the mid-Columbia River's Hanford Reach will be less than desired to assure maintenance of the most heralded of the basin's wild salmon populations.

Through Oct. 11 the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates, based on creel census data, that anglers have harvested an estimated 6,340 Hanford Reach adult fall chinook, leaving 27,000 adults to potentially spawn.

The in-season forecast for fall chinook escapement to the Hanford Reach is 28,800 adult chinook. The revised total return estimate (spawning escapement plus harvest) is predicted to be 33,381 adults.

As a result of a higher-than-expected harvest, the WDFW closed to salmon retention the Columbia River from the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco up to Priest Rapids Dam. The closure went into effect Thursday.

Fishery officials estimated that if the season were to continue until Oct. 22 as originally planned the number of spawners would fall to 26,000 adult fall chinook, well below the minimum escapement goal.

Closing the salmon retention fishery eight days early will result in approximately 1,000 additional adult fish surviving to spawn. Those 1,000 spawners represent roughly 40 million eggs, according to Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 biologist.

"In general the catch rates are much higher than last year," Hoffarth said. "And last year was no slouch."

Traditionally, the Hanford Reach harvest was about 11 percent of the returning run but that percentage has been increasing. The catch through Oct. 11 represented about 19 percent, with four days of harvest yet to add to the equation.

"New lures, and new techniques -- a lot of guys have got it dialed in," Hoffarth said improved catch rates.

The reach's share of the total fall chinook escapement past McNary Dam has shrunk in recent years. McNary is the fourth and last dam the fish pass before entering the Hanford Reach.

Over the past three years about 22 percent of the run has taken a right turn soon after McNary into the Snake River to be counted at Ice Harbor Dam. Prior to that the Snake River run usually represented about 10 percent of the escapement past McNary, Hoffarth said.

"It has gone up dramatically," he said, because of increased overall numbers resulting from a growing hatchery supplementation program in the Snake River basin.

The past 11 years have also seen a large jump in numbers of fall chinook -- and in the percentage of the overall escapement past McNary -- that swim through the Hanford Reach and up and over Priest Rapids Dam.

"The upper Columbia is definitely getting a big return" of fall chinook, Hoffarth said. Through Oct. 12, 31,222 adult fall chinook had been counted climbing over Priest Rapids' fish ladders. Since 1999 annual fall chinook counts at the dam have ranged from 18,851 to 48,546. From 1960 through 1998 only three years had seen Priest Rapids fall chinook counts higher than the low end of that recent 10-year range. The season totals were 19,014 in 1986, 34,982 in 1987 and 22,153 in 1988.

Where are all these fall chinook coming from in recent years?

Probably many factors contribute, but the fish are not from hatchery fall chinook production and releases above Priest Rapids. According to the WDFW's Joe Hymer there have been no fall chinook hatchery releases above the dam since 1996.

Some of the fish could be hatchery fall chinook that strayed up and over the dam from Priest River Hatchery. They also could be late arriving summer chinook, a stock whose status has also greatly improved over the past 10 years with a boost from the Colville Confederated Tribes' hatchery program.

"It's gotten bigger and the tails have gotten longer," Hymer said of the summer chinook population and the start and finish of their spawning run.

Both Hymer and Hoffarth note that there is a known fall chinook spawning population below Wanapum Dam, the next dam upriver from Priest Rapids.

"That has been a pretty good fishery," Hoffarth said of the Wanapum area.

"We get some spawning below just about every dam," he said.

The 2009 harvest of Hanford Reach spawners is well above the anticipated level and has already surpassed the 2008 harvest by more than 40 percent, according to WDFW.

All salmon caught in the reach must now be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

Anglers will be allowed to continue to fish for and retain hatchery steelhead between the old Hanford town site wooden power line towers and Priest Rapids Dam through Oct. 22. Angling for hatchery steelhead from McNary Dam to the old Hanford town site wooden powerline towers will remain open after Oct. 22 under the regulations listed in the Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules.

Wild steelhead (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.


* Snake River Wild Steelhead Return Breaks Record; Fall Chinook Jacks Four Times Previous Record

The total 2009 steelhead count at the lower Snake River's Lower Granite Dam has broken the record, and the so-called "wild" portion of the return is also the biggest on the books.

From March 3, when the counts at the dam's fish ladders began, through Wednesday a total of 60,359 unmarked steelhead had passed the southeast Washington hydro project. That betters the previous record, a March through December total of 59,291 wild steelhead in 2002.

Hatchery managers, for the most part, clip the adipose fin of juvenile steelhead before their release so most of the returning "unmarked" adults are of natural origin. Those wild Snake River steelhead are listed as threatened and protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1997. The Snake River stock originates in streams in southeast Washington, northeast Oregon and Idaho.

The wild steelhead record only dates back to 1994 when the marking of hatchery fish had become more commonplace.

The overall steelhead count at Lower Granite had risen to 263,417 with 3,725 passing the dam Wednesday and 3,995 on Thursday. The previous record was a count of 262,568 in 2001. Run counts go back to 1975, the year construction of the dam was completed.

The vast majority returning steelhead are classified as summer stock. The Lower Granite count from June 1 through Wednesday, is 248,641. That total is also approaching the record count of 256,810 from June through December, 2001.

The steelhead bounty has allowed fishery managers to liberalize bag limits for anglers. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced this week that, beginning Sunday, Oct. 18 the bag limit for several northeast Oregon streams the bag limit will increase from three to five fin-clipped steelhead fish per day.

The new regulation will remain in effect through April 15 in the following areas:

-- Grande Ronde River from the Oregon/Washington state line to the mouth of the Wallowa River;
-- Wallowa River from the mouth to Trout Creek, and
-- Imnaha River from the mouth to Big Sheep Creek.

In the Snake River from the Oregon/Washington state line to the angling deadline below Hell's Canyon Dam, the bag limit will be five adipose fin-clipped steelhead of which no more than three may be 32-inches total length or greater. The states of Idaho and Washington have implemented similar regulations in the Snake River and tributaries.

With such a large run in the Snake River, ODFW managers expect abundant hatchery steelhead to return to trapping facilities on the Wallowa River, Little Sheep Creek (Imnaha basin), and at Hell's Canyon Dam on the Snake River.

"We expect a very good fishery this year," said Bill Knox, an ODFW fish biologist based in Enterprise. "There will be plenty of fish and we encourage anglers to keep adipose fin-clipped, hatchery steelhead to help reduce the potential interactions with ESA-listed wild steelhead in these waters. Retention of adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead will also help reduce surplus returns to hatchery trapping facilities next spring."

On the Idaho side, the steelhead fishing season open was opened Thursday, Oct. 15, on the Clearwater River upstream of the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Highway 12 near Lewiston.

The steelhead season has been open downstream of the bridge since Aug. 1, and the river upstream of the bridge has been open only to catch-and-release fishing since July 1. The Clearwater River sections open to steelhead harvest will include the mainstem upstream of Memorial Bridge to Clear Creek; the South Fork from its mouth to the confluence of American and Red rivers; the North Fork from its mouth to Dworshak Dam. The fall seasons run through December 31.

The Idaho steelhead season had opened earlier on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

Much of the record run is comprised of A-run hatchery fish destined for the Snake, Little Salmon and Salmon rivers in Idaho as well as Washington and Oregon streams, but not the Clearwater.

The Clearwater return features larger B-run steelhead. The most recent forecast for this year's Columbia River basin upriver summer steelhead run is 541,000 A-run and 43,000 B-run fish, as counted at the Columbia's Bonneville Dam. The Snake River steelhead swim through sport and commercial fisheries and up and over Bonneville and six other dams before reaching Lower Granite.

The steelhead limit on the Clearwater is two fish per day, six in possession and 20 for the season.

Elsewhere in Idaho, the limit is five steelhead per day, of which no more than three may be 32 or more inches in total length. The possession limit is 15, no more than nine may be 32 or more inches long. The statewide limits in the fall and spring seasons is 40 steelhead in each, but no more than 20 of those may be caught in the Clearwater River drainage in each season.

Once daily, possession and season limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch-and-release.

The big steelhead run follows a seeming basin trend in which so-called one-ocean fish fared well while in saltwater. The adult Snake River fall chinook salmon run is strong this year with 14,270 having been counted through Wednesday at Lower Granite. That's already the third highest count on record, trailing last year's final count of 16,628 and the 14,960 tally in 2004. Daily counts this week dropped below 100 as the run fades.

The jack count, however, is already nearly four times the previous record of 10,228 last year. The count of jacks, which spent less than 2 years in the Pacific, was 39,016 through Wednesday.

"The A (steelhead) run is quite dominated by 1-ocean fish, just like all of these jacks," biologist Stuart Ellis of the Columbia River Inter-Fish Commission said. Other Columbia basin chinook stocks have also returned a much larger number of jacks than normal.


* Fall Fish Returns Strong, Catch Rates High; Sport Coho Catch Second Highest On Record

Sport, non-Indian commercial and tribal fishers this late summer and fall are sharing the wealth of strong returns of salmon and steelhead to the Columbia River basin.

Columbia mainstem sport fisheries remain open with the emphasis shifted, for the most part, from chinook salmon to coho salmon, steelhead and white sturgeon.

There already have been 109,400 angler trips logged to the lower Columbia between Aug. 1 and Oct. 11. That is the highest total for the "fall" season since 2003 and the third largest on a record dating back to 1980.

So far the anglers have caught 14,500 fall chinook and 3,600 coho, according to preliminary data compiled by the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife. That would already be the largest lower Columbia (from Bonneville Dam 146 miles down to the river mouth) chinook catch since 2005. The sport coho catch to-date is already the second highest on record back to 1980, according to the ODFW-WDFW Fall Joint Staff Report. The top coho catch in the lower river was 4,027 in 1986.

Rain and higher flows should also improve fishing for late-run coho , which were already producing decent catches from Buoy 10 to the Bonneville Pool before the skies opened up in mid-October, according to the state agencies.

So far, this year's overall coho returns are running close to expectations, the WDFW's Joe Hymer said. "The early run exceeded the pre-season forecast of 467,000 fish and the late run is looking promising."

"We expect to see late-run fish returning through November and beyond, but a total return of 700,000 coho to the Columbia River - as originally forecast - still looks like a real possibility."

If that forecast proves accurate, this year's coho run to the Columbia would be the largest since 2001.

The upriver fall chinook and summer steelhead runs have mostly exited the lower river. Daily fall chinook counts at Bonneville's fish ladders have dwindled from a peak of 15,497 on Sept. 2 to fewer than 600 daily over the past week.

Upriver steelhead counts at Bonneville have slowly fallen from a peak of 34,053 -- the highest daily count on a record -- on Aug. 13 to 500 or fewer on recent days.

Through Wednesday, 596,897 steelhead been counted this year at Bonneville. That's the second highest on record.

The non-tribal commercial gill-net fleet caught 9,453 chinook, 160 coho and 2,213 white sturgeon during "early August" fisheries staged from Bonneville down to the mouth.

So far during the "late fall" season, the gill-netters have caught 5,493 chinook, 40,185 coho and 1,214 white sturgeon through Oct. 8, according to preliminary data completed by the states.

The Columbia River Compact on Monday approved four more 12-hour fishing period for the non-Indian commercial fishers. Three will be nighttime fisheries in two fishing zones between Portland and Bonneville targeting primarily chinook and sturgeon. The fourth is a daytime fishery throughout the five fishing zones between Bonneville and the river mouth.

Fishery managers at this point in time are trying to hold down impacts on wild/natural Lower Columbia River coho, which are listed as threatened and protected under the Endangered Species Act. Under an approved harvest management agreement, combined ocean and Columbia River fisheries are allowed up to a 20 percent impact on the LCR stocks. State staff estimate that total impact so far this year will total 19.3 percent following the four scheduled commercial fisheries.

In mainstem reservoirs upstream of Bonneville, tribal ceremonial and subsistence and commercial fishers have focused on chinook during the fall season. The tribal catch includes an estimated 88,000 chinook, 13,000 coho and 34,000 steelhead, according to preliminary data. The upriver fall chinook catch includes a mixture of upriver brights, Mid-Columbia brights and Bonneville hatchery tules.

The treaty tribes closed out their 2009 fall commercial season with a 2 ½-day fishery beginning Sept. 29 and ending Oct. 1.

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission's Stuart Ellis said all of the catches left tribes well within impact limits specified in the long-term management agreement between the states, tribes and the federal government.

The tribal impacts so far on the upriver bright fall chinook run are about 18 percent. The management agreement would have allowed impacts impact up to 27 percent on the URB run, which includes a Snake River wild component that is ESA listed.

Impacts on B-run Snake River steelhead are at about 17.5 percent and could rise to 18.5 percent if subsistence permits are issued next week and the fisheries conducted, Ellis said. The management agreement caps B-run impacts at 20 percent. Snake River steelhead are also listed as threatened.


* Fish Biologists Tagging Willamette Coho To Better Understand Surprisingly High Return

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Grande Ronde tribal biologists are busy these days tracking the whereabouts of an upper Willamette River coho salmon stock that has persisted beyond expectations.

The number of mostly wild coho passing over the Willamette Falls Fishway near Portland this year is at an all-time high. The total count of adult coho had reached 18,652 by Oct. 9 with more fish undoubtedly on the way. The previous highs were 17,902 adults in 1970 and 17,410 in 1971. The facility began keeping fish count records in 1946.

The last time ODFW saw the kinds of numbers it is seeing this year, the department was releasing approximately 10 million hatchery fish into the system primarily to support commercial and sport fisheries in the ocean and Columbia River. That practice ended in 1998 with a small release of hatchery coho into the Tualatin River.

Since 1998 the counts of coho spawners at Willamette have grown, though experiencing year-to-year ups and downs.

The coho are predominately fish produced by natural spawning in the wild in tributary rivers like the Tualatin, Molalla, Pudding and Yamhill. The Santiam River, which empties into the Willamette south of Salem, Ore., is the mostly southerly occurrence of coho in the drainage. The Willamette flows north into the Columbia at Portland.

The coho are not known to be a species native to the Willamette basin but are an artifact of that hatchery release history. Coho spawners return to the Columbia River basin in the fall when water levels are low and were probably not able to hurdle Willamette Falls as it is now geologically configured. But the fishway ladders have changed all that.

ODFW staff had as of late this week placed radio tags in 80 coho salmon bound for the upper Willamette River and its tributaries in an attempt to better understand the movements of fish returning to the basin.

The goal is to implant a total of 130 coho captured at ODFW's fish monitoring station at Willamette Falls this year. The tags will transmit signals to receivers stationed at the mouths of various rivers. Project managers hope the information collected from the study will help identify how coho move in the mainstem Willamette, and where they hold prior to moving up the tributaries to spawn later in fall.

"There is a slug of them hanging around the mouth of the Tualatin" River in suburban West Linn, according to ODFW biologist Tom Murtagh, who spent Thursday afloat trying to locate the tagged fish. A few fish were also detected near the mouths of the Mollala and Yamhill rivers.

The fish are likely waiting for a change in the weather before dashing up into the tributaries to spawn.

The research is a cooperative effort. The tags that will be used in the study are being donated by the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde and Eugene Watershed Enhancement Board. Acoustic receivers manned by the tribes as part of ongoing researched related to lamprey monitoring will also be helpful in following coho movement. Technical assistance is being provided by Portland General Electric.

The study is intended to gain a better understanding of behavioral traits and habitat factors that have allowed the coho population to succeed.

Anglers who catch a radio-tagged fish are asked to release the fish back into the wild unharmed. Anglers should be aware that each fish carrying a radio tag will also have a colored "floy" or "spaghetti" type tag in its back near the dorsal fin for identification. These tags are about 3 inches long and will be obvious to the angler.


* Study: Fisheries Management Too Slow To Account For Climate Change, Human Behavior

A new analysis of fisheries management concludes that climate change will significantly increase the variability of the size and location of many fish populations, creating uncertainty for fisheries managers -- and the need for greater flexibility.

Most management processes are slow and cumbersome, as well as rigid, the authors say, and don't adequately take climate change and human behavior into account.

"What climate change will do is pit the increased resource variability against the rigidity of the process," said Susan Hanna, a fishery economist from Oregon State University and co-author of the report. "Over time, managers will have to become more conservative to account for the greater uncertainty, and we will need to do a better job of understanding the effect of uncertainty on human behavior."

The study focuses on seven short international case studies in fisheries management -- including Columbia River basin salmon. It is being published in the journal Marine Policy.

Hanna said that while most fishery management models incorporate the latest data on fish populations and distribution, they are not adapted to incorporate climate data. That can be problematic when an El Niño looms, or other oceanic conditions have a negative impact on fisheries. Such was the case in 2005, when a delay in the spring upwelling had a catastrophic effect on ocean production, which many biologists say caused the recent collapse of salmon runs on the Klamath and Sacramento rivers.

Shorter fishing seasons and lower quotas are understandably frustrating for commercial and recreational fishermen, Hanna said.

"Human psychology can work against fishery management because our expectations are based on the high range of fish populations, not the low end," she said. "In salmon fisheries, the conditions of the 1970s may be taken as the norm, when in fact they represented an all-time high."

Hanna is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics who works out of OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. She is affiliated with the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station and Oregon Sea Grant, and has served as a science adviser to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

The need for better human behavioral data is acute, Hanna said. While resource managers have plenty of information about numbers of fishermen, where they fish and what they fish for, there is less knowledge about how people will react to changes in regulation -- or how they will adapt to climate change.

"We have a history of implementing regulations that have unintended consequences," Hanna said.

She cites as an example what happens when managers limit the number of boats in a fishery with the idea of limiting fishing effort. The result can be just the opposite, Hanna points out. "A boat limit as the single control over a fishing effort will give those who have the permits the incentive to invest in more speed and more gear to boost their fishing power and become more effective at catching fish.

"Managing resources," she said, "is all about incentives."

Management also is becoming more complicated -- a situation that may be exacerbated by changes in ocean conditions, whether natural or triggered by humans. There are many groups with claims on salmon resources, Hanna pointed out, from ocean trollers and river gill netters, to Native American tribes and recreational anglers. And management cuts across many boundaries.

In the past, Hanna said, fishermen could adjust to closures or shortened seasons by switching to different species. Now, she says, most fisheries are fully subscribed.

"If it's a bad year for salmon, you can't just switch to crabbing or fishing for rockfish unless you have the permits," Hanna pointed out. "It's not a question of gear, but of access."

Hanna said West Coast fishermen are progressive. They contribute to the knowledge base through cooperative research and participate in management decision-making processes. While some may grumble about regulations, she said, they generally see the need for management and are often in the lead in proposing new management approaches.

"Fishing operations are regulated businesses that fare more successfully the better they are understood," Hanna said. "We need to do a better job of knowing how fishermen will respond to changes in catch rates and length of season if we want to continue to have sustainable fisheries -- because greater uncertainty lies ahead."

Other authors on the study include Alistair McIlgorm of Southern Cross University in Australia; Gunnar Knapp, the University of Alaska-Anchorage; Pascal Le Floc'H, University of Brest in France; Frank Millerd, Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada; and Minling Pan, of NOAA Fisheries Service in Hawaii.


* Council Approves 'High-Level Indicators' To Measure Fish And Wildlife Project Success

A process of well over a year involving discussions with others in the region has resulted in the approval of three "easily understandable metrics" -- high level indicators of success of projects funded through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.

The Council was created at the direction of the 1980 Northwest Power Act and is comprised of two appointees each of the governors of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. One of the act's charges is to report to Congress on the actions taken through the program and "effectiveness of the fish and wildlife program.."

The reports have been filed annually but without a defined "suite of metrics" by which to measure progress towards Council goals of protecting and enhancing basin fish and wildlife populations, Chairman Bill Booth of Idaho said last week during the Council's meeting in Ketchum, Idaho.

The Council remedied that situation Oct. 7 with approval of three high-level indicators to be used in its annual report to Congress:

-- abundance of fish and wildlife as measured with data portraying the abundance of adult fish, adult abundance of wild and hatchery salmon and steelhead and juvenile abundance of wild and hatchery out-migrating salmon and steelhead;

-- hydrosystem survival and passage as measured by adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead passage survival, and

-- Council actions as measured in units of wildlife habitat protection; in-stream fish passage improvements; screens installed to protect fish, barriers removed to provide passage and miles of streams newly made accessible; land protected for fish and wildlife and coordination of Council fish and wildlife program actions.

Washington Council member Tom Karier called the end product "excellent work." He spearheaded the drive to develop a list of high level indicators.

The boiling down of a longer list resulted in approval of "only those high level indicators that give us a focus" for the report to Congress, Karier said.

Fellow Washington Council member Dick Wallace noted that the process drew in fish and wildlife and hydro managers and others.

"A lot of people in the region recognized that this is important," said Wallace, who advised staff and led the work group that developed the list.

The Council also approved fish and wildlife program management questions as a working list and recommended that the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority include a longer list of fish and wildlife program indicators in its Status of the Resource report.

CBFWA's membership includes representatives of federal, state and tribal fish and wildlife management entities. Its Status of the Resource report presents data about the status of subbasins that make up the Columbia basin. It includes historical abundance data for focal species, geographic data representing species distribution and population and Endangered Species status, species limiting factors and projects that are in place to help fish and wildlife.

The Status of the Resource report can be found at:

"The Council understands that the information for these indicators is either currently available or will be collected within existing budgets and that no additional Council funding obligation will result from the adoption of the indicators unless first approved by the Council," according to the motion approving the indicators.

A working list of high level indicators was approved by the Council in July 2008.

The indicators are intended to gauge how well the program's strategies are actually being implemented and what goals are being achieved - i.e. its effectiveness. The 17 indicators cover the spectrum of work funded through the Council program -- how many fish are harvested that are produced from hatcheries funded through the program, what is the productivity of wild fish in watersheds targeted by the program's habitat projects, how many miles of stream have been reopened to allow fish passage, screens have been installed to keep fish out of irrigation and other diversions.

The biological indicators include portrayals of total salmon abundance, life-cycle mortality, harvest and hatcheries, hydro survival, habitat and wildlife.

Implementation indicators listed include passage barriers, water, land, habitat improvement, diversion screens, predators and watershed health.

Past Council reports to Congress can be found at:


* NOAA Designates Critical Habitat For Green Sturgeon, Includes Columbia River Estuary

NOAA's Fisheries Service has designated critical habitat, including the Columbia River estuary, for the southern distinct population segment of North American green sturgeon to ensure its survival and recovery.

The species spawns in California's Sacramento River and migrates along the west coast of the United States and Canada.

"This designation will help protect important habitat for this population of North American green sturgeon, a species that has persisted for 160 million years but is now likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future," said Melissa Neuman, a biologist for NOAA's Fisheries Service southwest regional office.

In April 2006, the southern DPS of North American green sturgeon was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The listing was due in part to the degradation of the primary spawning habitat in the Sacramento River and the declining numbers of green sturgeon.

The ESA requires designation of a critical habitat whenever a species is listed for protection. A critical habitat designation only applies when federal projects, permits or funding are involved. It does not apply to activities on private land that do not involve a federal agency.

Private land owners may continue to use the habitat as long as their activities do not require a federal permit, receive federal funding, or involve a federal project.

The designation is a primary component of the ESA listing, which will protect the sturgeon by requiring all federal agencies to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are not likely to destroy or adversely modify the critical habitat.

In September 2008, NOAA's Fisheries Service proposed areas for designation and requested input for a final rule that published last week in the Federal Register. Using information previously provided by the public and the agency's own data, NOAA's Fisheries Service designated the following areas as critical habitat:

--- Coastal U.S. marine waters within 360 feet depth from and including Monterey Bay, Calif., north to Cape Flattery, Wash., including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the U.S.
border with Canada;
--- The Sacramento River, lower Feather River, lower Yuba River, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun, San Pablo and San Francisco bays in California;
--- The lower Columbia River estuary; and
--- Humboldt Bay, Calif.; Coos Bay, Winchester Bay, Yaquina Bay, and Nehalem Bay, Ore.; and Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, Wash.

The areas designated comprise approximately 320 miles of freshwater river habitat, 897 square miles of estuarine habitat, 11,421 square miles of coastal marine habitat, 487 miles of habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and 135 square miles of habitat within the Yolo and Sutter bypasses, part of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project.

The critical habitat designation is a result of a 2007 settlement agreement arising out of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity to secure critical habitat.

"One of our largest and rarest freshwater fish will now have the habitat protection it needs for conservation and recovery," said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the center. "Recent surveys have shown some of the lowest recorded numbers of spawning green sturgeon in the Sacramento River. With so few sturgeon left, and the San Francisco Bay-Delta food web they depend upon unraveling, we are pleased to see critical habitat designated for this ancient fish."

The green sturgeon is one of the most ancient fish species in the world, remaining unchanged in appearance since it first emerged 200 million years ago. Green sturgeon are among the largest and longest-living fish species found in freshwater, living up to 70 years, reaching 7.5 feet in length, and weighing up to 350 pounds. Sturgeon have a prehistoric appearance, with a skeleton consisting of mostly cartilage and rows of bony plates for scales. They have snouts like shovels and mouths like vacuum cleaners that are used to siphon shrimp and other food from sandy depths.

Like salmon, green sturgeon are anadromous, migrating to the ocean and returning to freshwater to spawn. Only three known spawning grounds remain, in the Sacramento and Klamath rivers in California and the Rogue River in Oregon. Between four and seven spawning populations have already been eliminated in California and Oregon.


* NOAA's 2009 Winter Outlook Has Pacific Northwest Drier Than Average Due To El Nino

El Niño in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean is expected to be a dominant climate factor that will influence the December-through-February winter weather in the United States, according to the 2009 Winter Outlook released this week by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

The Pacific Northwest will see drier-than-average conditions this winter, says the report.

"We expect El Niño to strengthen and persist through the winter months, providing clues as to what the weather will be like during the period," says Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center -- a division of the National Weather Service. "Warmer ocean water in the equatorial Pacific shifts the patterns of tropical rainfall that in turn change the strength and position of the jet stream and storms over the Pacific Ocean and the U.S."

Highlights of the U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February) include:

--- Warmer-than-average temperatures are favored across much of the western and central U.S., especially in the north-central states from Montana to Wisconsin. Though temperatures may average warmer than usual, periodic outbreaks of cold air are still possible.
--- Below-average temperatures are expected across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic from southern and eastern Texas to southern Pennsylvania and south through Florida.
--- Above-average precipitation is expected in the southern border states, especially Texas and Florida. Recent rainfall and the prospects of more should improve current drought conditions in central and southern Texas. However, tornado records suggest that there will also be an increased chance of organized tornado activity for the Gulf Coast region this winter.
--- Drier-than-average conditions are expected in the Pacific Northwest and the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys.

Northeast: Equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. Winter weather in this region is often driven not by El Niño but by weather patterns over the northern Atlantic Ocean and Arctic, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. These patterns are often more short-term, and are generally predictable only a week or so in advance.

California: A slight tilt in the odds toward wetter-than-average conditions over the entire state.

Alaska: Milder-than-average temperatures except along the western coast. Equal chances for above-, near-, or below-median precipitation for most areas except above median for the northwest.

Hawaii: Below-average temperatures and precipitation are favored for the entire state..
This seasonal outlook does not predict where and when snowstorms may hit or total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.

For more details and charts go to http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20091015_winteroutlook.html


* Using Life-Long Tags, Study Monitors Causes Of Death For Steller Sea Lions

A pioneering project that implants life-long monitors inside of Steller sea lions to learn more about why the number of these endangered marine mammals has been declining -- and remains low in Alaska -- is beginning to provide data, and the results are surprising to scientists.

Four out of five of the data sets that researchers have recovered indicate that the sea lions died from traumatic causes -- most likely, attack from transient killer whales.

This comes as a surprise to many scientists and resource managers who previously thought that recent sea lion population trends are largely attributable to depressed birth rates, a loss of fecundity, or poor nutrition, according to Markus Horning, a pinniped specialist with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University and principal investigator in the study.

"This obviously is a very small sample so we cannot overstate our conclusions," Horning said, "but the fact that four out of five deceased Steller sea lions that we received data from met with a sudden, traumatic death is well beyond what conventional thought would have predicted. It could be coincidence.or it could mean that predation is a much more important factor than has previously been acknowledged."

Results of the study are being published in the journal Endangered Species Research.

The science behind the discovery is a story within itself. The researchers worked with Wildlife Computers, Inc., in Redmond, Wash., to develop a tag that could be implanted in the body cavity of sea lions and remain there during their life span. Conventional externally applied tags rarely have the battery power to transmit data for longer than a year and are shed during the annual molt -- thus information about sea lion mortality is difficult to obtain.

These new tags, however, stay within the sea lion until its death, recording temperatures for as long as eight to 10 years. When an animal dies, and either decomposes or is torn apart by predators, the tags are released and send a signal to a satellite that transmits it to Horning's lab at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore.

"We can tell whether an animal died by acute death through the temperature change rate sensed by the tags and whether the subsequent transmission of a signal is immediate or delayed," said Horning, who is an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at OSU.

Horning and his collaborator, Jo-Ann Mellish, have tested cooling and decomposition rates of sea lions on animals that have died from stranding or other causes. They've also inserted tags within those animals to see how long it would take before the signal would transmit based on whether an animal was on the beach, was deep at sea, or was torn apart by predators.

Their protocol for inserting tags within live Steller sea lions was developed from initial deployments on non-threatened, stranded California sea lions at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif.

"We wanted to make sure there was no adverse impact on the animals," Horning said, "and there wasn't."

Since 2005, Horning and his colleagues at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward have implanted tags into 27 Steller sea lions that were captured and released off the coast of Alaska. Since that time, they have received data from five animals -- at least four of which appeared to die from traumatic deaths, based on the rate of tag cooling and immediate signal transmission.

Horning said the tags can precisely identify the moment an animal died from temperature data. And while they are confident in their ability to determine whether the death was caused by predation or non-traumatic causes, identifying the actual predator is admittedly a bit of guesswork, Horning says.

"There are only a couple of species that are known to target sea lions as prey," he pointed out. "Orcas are not only common in that region of Alaska, they also have been observed preying on sea lions. Some species of sharks are known to attack sea lions, but they aren't as common in those waters and there haven't been any observations of predation in the study area."

If predation of Steller sea lions is more prevalent than previously thought, Horning said, there are implications for management.

"If the proportion of sea lions killed by predation in our study was applied to population models, we estimate that more than half of the female Steller sea lions would be consumed by predators before they have a chance to reproduce," Horning said. "We recognize that this is a very coarse estimate based on a small sample size.

"But we hope this serves as a wakeup call to begin looking more closely into the actual role of predation as a determinant in Steller sea lion populations."


* NOAA Honors Three Seattle-Area Researchers For Scientific Publications

Three Seattle-area researchers have received 2009 Outstanding Scientific Paper Awards from the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. The three scientists are being honored for papers about discoveries on oceanic and atmospheric conditions that affect the West Coast.

Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research, and Alexander E. MacDonald, Ph.D., NOAA deputy assistant administrator for Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes, announced the awards in a recent organization-wide meeting. Two of the Seattle-area recipients conduct research in the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. The other is from the University of Washington at Seattle.

"These papers reflect the pre-eminence, the vision and the passion of NOAA researchers," Spinrad said. "Their work provides a strong foundation for understanding the complex oceanic and atmospheric systems that govern our planet." 

The Seattle area recipients are:

-- Richard Feely, Ph.D., Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
-- Christopher Sabine, Ph.D., Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
-- Jessica Lundquist, Ph.D., University of Washington at Seattle

Feely and Sabine measured indicators of ocean acidification -- a decline in the pH of seawater -- along the West Coast from central Canada to northern Mexico. Ocean water is becoming more acidic as it absorbs increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In the northern Pacific Ocean, subsurface waters that are naturally acidic mix with carbon dioxide from the surface to produce waters that are corrosive to many organisms that produce shells and skeletons made of calcium carbonate such as clams, oysters and crabs.

Their study found that seasonal wind patterns pull the subsurface corrosive waters up onto the continental shelf where they come in contact with many economically important shellfish. These corrosive waters were not expected at the depth of the continental shelves for several decades. Published in the journal Science, this study shows that the combined effects of ocean acidification with other natural processes can accelerate the impacts of reduced pH on marine resources in our coastal regions.

Lundquist worked with a team of researchers from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., on a study on atmospheric rivers -- long, narrow plumes that transport water vapor toward the poles -- and their impact on snow and rain patterns along the West Coast of North America.

Published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology, their paper used satellite data to identify atmospheric rivers that make landfall along the West Coast. It also describes, for the first time, the impact these rivers have on precipitation along the West Coast - increased snow in winter and decreased rain in spring.


* Bureau Of Rec Announces $3.7 Million For Deschutes Water Conservation Projects

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor has announced the award of $3.7 million grant for water conservation projects in central Oregon under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The grant will be used by the Deschutes River Conservancy to improve water quality, fish passage and create habitat enhancements in the Deschutes River system. The DRC-managed projects will refine irrigation water usage through conservation technology and renovations to existing canal systems.

"These water conservation projects will increase flows in the Deschutes River and tributaries, as well as create construction jobs," said Connor. "The projects have dual benefits of enhancing water quality, while also increasing river flows to help threatened and endangered fish."

The ARRA grant will provide the DRC with the ability to help local irrigation districts fund water conservation projects. These projects include:

-- Three Sisters Irrigation District Main Canal Piping -- This project involves replacing over 3 and 1/2 miles of the TSID Main Canal with a buried pipeline which will improve the stream flow and water quality conditions in Wychus Creek for fish, wildlife and aquatic habitat.

-- Central Oregon Irrigation District Juniper Ridge Piping Project -- This project will pipe over 2 miles of open canal with a buried pipeline. COID has agreed to place 100 percent of the conserved water permanently in the Deschutes River downstream of the city of Bend.

-- Deschutes Water Banking -- The Deschutes Water Bank will acquire irrigation water rights that serve up to 80 acres of land and reallocate those rights to instream purposes.

-- Crook County Improvement District Canal Piping Project -- This involves piping nearly 10 miles of porous canals, resulting in up to 4,400 acre feet of water to remain in the Deschutes River system to benefit fish.


* Three Men Charged With Salmon Theft, Allegedly Night Fishing At Hatchery Site

Three Kennewick men have been charged in Washington's Franklin County District Court on several counts involving theft of salmon and steelhead from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish hatchery collection site on the Snake River in southeast Washington.

Peter P. Robison, 50, Robert D. Bowen, 31, and William S. Lueck, 40, all of Kennewick, were charged with unlawful fishing, fishing closed waters and closed season, and several other violations in an Oct. 2 incident.

The men are accused of illegally taking 22 fish, including three wild steelhead and two wild chinook salmon. Federal charges are pending on possession of the wild steelhead and salmon, which are listed as threatened in the Snake River under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The alleged ESA violations are being referred to the federal NOAA Fisheries Service for review and possible civil prosecution.

Fines for the multiple state charges range up to $5,000 per count and up to year in jail. An 18-foot boat, trailer, five fishing rods, and miscellaneous fishing and boating equipment were seized for forfeiture proceedings.

Working on an anonymous tip, WDFW enforcement officers Brian Fulton of Pasco and Rob McQuary of Walla Walla observed the three men fishing from a boat at night within the 400-foot area around the broodstock collection area on the Snake River adjacent to the Lyons Ferry Fish Hatchery -- an area closed to all fishing, as stated in the state fishing rules pamphlet.

Fulton and McQuary reported the boat had no navigation lights. The boat made several passes inside the closed area, and the men caught and landed several fish, which were placed in a large cooler. The officers confronted the men just before 3 a.m. after they removed the boat from the river at the Lyons Ferry Marina and were attempting to leave the parking lot.

Mike Jewell of Pasco and Jim Nelson of Walla Walla, WDFW enforcement sergeants, commended their officers' diligence in making the case, and noted that the anonymous tip instigated their nighttime watch.

"We appreciate this kind of information from citizens," Nelson said. "We need everyone's eyes and ears out there to protect our fish and wildlife resources."


* Feedback: Snake River Sockeye Decline

--- From Fred Mensik, Pomeroy, WA

The October 10, 2009 CBB article, "Idaho Wants New Hatchery To Increase Snake River Sockeye Smolt Production Up To One Million" http://www.cbbulletin.com/360326.aspx
had a section describing the demise of the sockeye that was incomplete. It starts with the discussion of the Sunbeam Dam and ends mentioning the four Lower Snake River dams. There are several important facts missing in this description.

Stanley Lake was treated with "Fish-Tox" in 1954 and remained toxic to fish until 1955. In the fall of 1954, a concrete migration-block dam was constructed in the outlet of Stanley Lake preventing sockeye, returning from the ocean, from getting to their historic spawning grounds (IDFG Biennial Report, 1956. p.52).

Pettit Lake was treated with toxaphene in September of 1960 and live box tests conducted in the fall of 1962 indicated the lake was still toxic (IDFG Annual Report, 1962). A migration block barrier dam was constructed on the outlet of Pettit Lake (IDFG, Federal Aid in Fish Restoration, Completion Report, Project F 46-D-1).

Yellowbelly Lake was treated with toxaphene in September 1961 and remained toxic to fish in the fall of 1962 (IDFG Annual Report, 1962). A concrete migration barrier dam was constructed on the outlet of the lake in the fall of 1963 (IDFG Annual Report, 1963. p.67).

These three lakes were stocked by the IDFG with trout and kokanee. Trout are piscavorious and kokanee compete with sockeye for the available food in these lakes.

There were only 55 returning adult sockeye returns counted at the Redfish Lake Creek weir in 1958 and 75 in 1960. Ice Harbor Dam, the first dam constructed on the Lower Snake River, was completed in 1961.

Fred Mensik
Pomeroy, WA


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.

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