Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Spring 2008

■ River Flow Increased
■ Carcasses...
Being Frank

                           Year-Round Rescue Tug Closer To Reality
Skokomish Mark Return Of North Fork Flow

                                              Above: The new flow of 240 cubi...
Tribe Preps for Dam Removal                                                                EPA Certifies Tribal
Salmon carcasses:                                                                                   Left:    Lower      El...
Geoduck Shells Show
Water Quality History
  Deep in the mud of Hood Canal lives          Researchers from the
a creature t...
Coast Salish Gathering

Tribal Leaders Meet to Discuss Salmon Needs
  At the third annual Coast                           ...
Elk Benefit From Tribal Managem

    Muckleshoot Tribe Supports Elk Nutrition Needs
      The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe ...
ment Efforts
     Skokomish Tribe Uses
     Paintballs to Count Elk
        Sitting in a helicopter, high above the forest...
Blowdown Tests Timber/Fish/Wildlife
Culvert Removal:
                                                                             Before and After
Researcher Focuses on
                                                                                       Tribe’s Tatoo...
Puyallup Tribe Opens Wetland Habitat
                                                                               Most o...
Tribal Enforcement
Acts on Anglers’ Tip
 Responding to a tip, Nooksack tribal enforcement officers in Febru-
ary removed s...
Searching for Steelhead Family Tree
Staff from the Puyallup Tribe and state Department of Fish and Wildlife look for young...
Hauling Halibut
     Coastal tribes, along with some tribes in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan
     de Fuca, participat...
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NWIFC Magazine Spring 2008


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River Flow Increased
Carcasses Provide Nutrients
Elk Beneft from Tribal Management Efforts
Searching For Steelhead Families
Floods Hurt Chinook Run
Windstorm Tests Timber/Fish/Wildlife

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NWIFC Magazine Spring 2008

  1. 1. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission NWIFC News Spring 2008 INSIDE: ■ River Flow Increased ■ Carcasses Provide Nutrients ■ Elk Benefit from Tribal Management Efforts ■ Searching For Steelhead Families ■ Floods Hurt Chinook Run ■ Windstorm Tests Timber/Fish/Wildlife
  2. 2. Being Frank Year-Round Rescue Tug Closer To Reality By Billy Frank Jr. NWIFC Chairman I’m excited that the cargo ships enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca bound for Puget state Legislature recently Sound. earmarked $3.6 million The Gladiator ended its tour of duty March 7, but with the to station a rescue tug new funding, it will be back on station from July 1 through year round at Neah Bay. June 30 this year. I just hope we can continue to dodge the We dodged the oil spill bullet until then. bullet along our coast this We commend the state Legislature for its effort, but it remains winter, but there were a short-term solution to the $10,000-per-day price tag for the more than a few close tug and crew that must be ready to respond around the clock. calls. Permanent, long-term funding support for the rescue tug is Take Dec. 3 for what we need. example: Another near That’s why we’re encouraged by Sen. Maria Cantwell’s efforts grounding of a cargo ship to draw attention to oil spill prevention along the Washington off the Washington coast coast. As Sen. Cantwell points out, in 1990, Congress directed near Neah Bay. the U.S. Coast Guard to place adequate salvage, rescue and Forty-foot seas powered firefighting vessels in strategic locations around the United by 90-mph winds knocked States. So far, that hasn’t happened. out the main steering on the 720-foot Mattson Kauai near the Sen. Cantwell is pushing hard for federal legislation that entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Waves shattered all of would require the oil shipping industry to fund a rescue tug year the windows in the ship’s wheelhouse as the vessel wallowed round in Neah Bay. We wholeheartedly support that effort. offshore. We’ve known for many years that permanently stationing a Thankfully, the ocean rescue tug Gladiator was on station tug year round in Neah Bay is one of the best steps we can and able to escort the Kauai to safety. take to protect the people, fish, wildlife, environment and Close calls like the Kauai don’t make much of a splash in the economies of the Washington coast. We just hope it won’t take news, and they happen more often than you know. In the past much longer for that to become a reality. eight years, the part-time rescue tug at Neah Bay has assisted Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before the law of averages more than 30 ships in distress. Every year, more than 2,000 catches up with us. NWIFC News NWIFC News is published quarterly on behalf of the treaty Indian tribes in western Washington by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Com- mission, 6730 Martin Way E., Olympia, WA 98516. Free subscriptions are available. Articles in NWIFC News may be reprinted. For more information: NWIFC Information Services in Olympia: 360-438-1180; Mount Vernon: 360-424-8226; Kingston: 360-297-6546; or Forks: 360-374-5501. Visit the NWIFC Web site at NWIFC Executive Director: Mike Grayum; Information and Education Services Division Manager: Tony Meyer; Contributing Editor: Steve Robinson; Regional Information Officers: Debbie Ross Preston, Coast; Emmett O’Connell, South Sound; Tiffany Royal, Hood Canal/Strait of Juan de Fuca; Kari Neumeyer, North Sound; Editorial Assistant: Sheila McCloud. NWIFC Member Tribes Nisqually..........................360-456-5221 Skokomish........................360-426-4232 Hoh..............,....................360-374-6582 Nooksack..........................360-592-5176 Squaxin Island..................360-426-9781 Jamestown S’Klallam......360-683-1109 Port Gamble S’Klallam....360-297-2646 Stillaguamish....................360-652-7362 Lower Elwha Klallam......360-452-8471 Puyallup............................253-597-6200 Suquamish........................360-598-3311 Lummi .............................360-384-2210 Quileute ...........................360-374-6163 Swinomish........................360-466-3163 Makah...............................360-645-2205 Quinault ...........................360-276-8211 Tulalip..............................360-651-4000 Muckleshoot.....................253-939-3311 Sauk-Suiattle....................360-436-0132 Upper Skagit.....................360-856-5501 On The Cover: A bull elk pauses while grazing in the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula. Tribes are protecting and enhancing elk populations throughout western Washington. See stories on pages 8-9. Photo: D. Preston
  3. 3. Skokomish Mark Return Of North Fork Flow Above: The new flow of 240 cubic feet per second blasts from Cushman Dam No. 2 into the North Fork of the Skokomish River. Photo: T. Royal. Left: Skokomish tribal member Delbert Miller and other tribal members offer a song to mark the event. Photo: T. Meyer Utilities, a decision by the federal courts will increase and enhance spawning has required the restoration of flows up habitat for chinook and steelhead and to 240 cubic feet per second (cfs) into increase egg-to-fry survival of salmon More than 80 years ago, President the North Fork. Before the construction when emerging from gravel egg nests in Calvin Coolidge pushed a button that of the dams, the average annual flow was the spring. energized Cushman Dam No. 1 on the 847 cfs. But the 240 cfs is not enough to help North Fork of the Skokomish River. The The flow of the Skokomish River main rebuild the lost habitat, said Marty hydroelectric dam dewatered the North stem, which feeds off the North Fork and Ereth, the tribe’s habitat biologist. A Fork, wiping out salmon runs upon runs through the tribe’s reservation on varied range of flows would best benefit which the Skokomish Tribe has always Hood Canal, has been impacted severely the environment. Good salmon habitat depended. by sediment buildup and flooding. Tribal includes deep pools for resting and Cushman Dam No. 1 was joined a few treaty-reserved rights to fish, hunt and feeding, and logjams for shade, keeping years later by Cushman Dam No. 2, built gather have been affected – traditional water temperatures lower. just downstream. Neither dam allows fishing sites on the river are unusable “It is not all that we hoped for, but this is fish passage. Together, the two dams because of either too much or too little an important step in the right direction,” reduced water flows to a trickle, altering water. The lack of water in the North Fork Strong said. – T. Royal the biology and geology of the river has impacted shellfishing system, and deeply affecting Skokomish beds at the river’s mouth tribal culture and treaty-reserved fishing on Hood Canal. The South rights. On March 7, after decades of Fork has reduced flows, efforts, tribal member Dave Herrera causing excessive gravel pressed a button that restored a small part buildup and dry sections of the North Fork’s historic flow from during salmon spawning Dam No. 2. season. “While we are happy to see part of the The increased flow is river’s flow returned, we will continue expected to widen the North working to restore a more normal Fork and deepen the pools of flow regime to the North Fork,” said water that juvenile salmon Tom Strong, Skokomish deputy tribal and trout rely upon for manager and tribal council secretary. “It rearing. This is especially has been a long battle to get water back important for juvenile to the North Fork.” steelhead and coho, which Skokomish Fish and Wildlife Policy Representative Dave After decades of struggle between the rear in freshwater for up Herrera pushes the button that increases the amount of tribe and the dams’ owner, Tacoma Public to two years. Higher flows water flowing into the North Fork. Photo: T. Royal
  4. 4. Tribe Preps for Dam Removal EPA Certifies Tribal Some of the smallest Watershed Plan residents of the Elwha River The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is the estuary are providing tribal first tribal nation in the country to receive researchers with valuable federal approval for its watershed plan. information about the The U.S. Environmental Protection health of the river system, Agency (EPA) Region 10 recently certified which has been degraded the tribe’s watershed-based plan, “Protecting by the presence of two fish- and Restoring the Waters of the Dungeness.” blocking dams for the past Certification was based on compliance with 90 years. federal tribal nonpoint source program Matt Beirne, the Lower guidelines. Elwha Klallam Tribe’s “The tribe has been an active participant environmental coordinator, in efforts to protect and restore local has been collecting baseline watersheds for over 20 years,” said Scott biological data around the Chitwood, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s river’s mouth since 2006. natural resources director. “Achieving EPA This information will help certification for the plan allows the tribe to the tribe prepare for impacts become eligible for badly needed resources to the estuary following the necessary for implementation.” removal of two dams, slated The purpose of the plan is to characterize to begin in 2012. the Dungeness watershed area, highlighting The 108-foot Elwha Dam the causes and sources of nonpoint source and 210-foot Glines Canyon Above: Tribal habitat manager Mike McHenry (left) and pollution. This type of pollution is caused Dam were built to provide hatchery manager Larry Ward pull in a beach seine in by runoff that picks up natural and human- hydroelectric power to Port one of the Elwha River’s estuary ponds. Below: A juve- made pollutants and deposits them in local Angeles. Both dams were nile coho is inspected before being released. waterways. The pollutants can include built without fish ladders, Photos: T. Royal fertilizers from agricultural and residential preventing salmon from migrating upstream to spawn. Historically, the Elwha River areas and bacteria from livestock, pet waste produced 100-pound chinook. and faulty septic systems. Beirne, with tribal staff and interns from Peninsula College, conducted fish seining, The tribe’s planning goals include insect collection, amphibian egg mass counts and sediment and vegetation sampling protecting and enhancing the tribe’s natural throughout the estuary. One resources, fisheries and hunting/gathering element of this study involves opportunities. collecting the stomach Much of the tribe’s involvement with contents of juvenile salmon nonpoint source pollution stems from to determine whether diet the goal to have Dungeness Bay waters preferences vary from early clean enough for safe shellfish harvest spring through late summer. and consumption. Several areas within He’s also contrasting the Dungeness watershed are impaired differences between diets of by low dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform the fish in the estuary versus contamination, loss of habitat and the those living in river’s main presence of heavy metals. stem. “This plan is an excellent resource since While a detailed analysis of the data has not yet been completed, Beirne found it presents so much information already significantly more chinook, chum, coho and steelhead in the estuary ponds in 2006 available but it’s all in this one document,” than in 2007, attributing the change in population to a November 2006 storm that said Hansi Hals, the tribe’s environmental washed a large amount of sediment into the eastside estuary and created a barrier to planning manager. “It includes a discussion fish access. of agriculture, habitat alteration, roads and The tribe’s work is especially important in light of the large volume of sediment bridges, urbanization, forestry and both built up behind the dams that will be distributed downstream, including within the wetland and riparian management.” estuary, following their removal. The next step is to develop actions to “We’re getting a good handle on some baseline information regarding the physical, protect functioning habitat in the watershed chemical, and biological conditions within the estuary prior to the removal of the and clean up nonpoint sources of pollution. dams, before we start seeing influences from the sediment,” Beirne said. – T. Royal – T. Royal
  5. 5. Salmon carcasses: Left: Lower Elwha hatchery technician Gary Johnson secures salmon carcasses in a side channel of the Elwha River. Below: Lower Elwha hatchery technician Phillip Blackcrow prepares “purses” of fish for planting in the river. Photos: T. Royal Helping restore the Elwha River Perched on the tailgate of an old young salmon, trout and other wildlife. delivery truck in January, Mike McHenry They added nutrients to the river that channeled the spirit of Santa Claus, as are necessary for plant growth. Today, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe habitat salmon can’t get past the lower dam. The program manager handed out generous populations above the dams are long gone amounts of frozen coho carcasses to the and greatly depleted below the dams. tribe’s habitat restoration crew. As part of the Elwha River habitat But these presents were intended for restoration plan, tribal staff placed more the Elwha River, not the crew. Industrial- than 600 frozen spawned-out coho in strength green mesh bags were filled the river’s side channels. The carcasses with two carcasses each and then staked came from the 2006 and 2007 returns to into streambeds above one of the river’s the tribe’s hatchery. two fish-blocking dams. The bags will be “Fish haven’t been able to get up past removed after the fish decompose. the lower dam for 95 years, depleting Before construction of the dams in the the ecosystem of an important piece of early 1900s, salmon carcasses naturally the food chain,” McHenry said. “All the played a major role in the ecosystem’s elements are here that are important to food web. They provided food for the Elwha system – except the salmon.” – T. Royal Generations This is the site of a Suquamish tribal village at Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island. Tribal members had harvested salmon and were drying them outside. The picture was taken sometime between 1900-1905. Photo: Webster and Stevens, Courtesy of The Suquamish Museum
  6. 6. Geoduck Shells Show Water Quality History Deep in the mud of Hood Canal lives Researchers from the a creature that carries decades of crucial University of Washington water quality history. The geoduck, with determined the approximate a lifespan of more than 160 years, may age of the clams collected be the definitive record-keeper of the by WDFW by counting the canal’s oxygen levels, water quality and growth rings of the shells. changes over time. Gao analyzed the shell Teasing that information from the samples for oxygen and largest burrowing clam in the world has carbon isotopes and other never been tried – until now. Yongwen water quality indicators, then Gao, a researcher for the Makah Tribe compared that information with a doctorate in fisheries and ocean with data collected by DOE. sciences, is using a technique known “The chemical variations in to only a handful of scientists on the the shells corresponded with West Coast to extract the water quality the dissolved oxygen levels information. found by DOE monitoring,” Previously, Gao has used a similar Gao said. biochemical analysis technique to gather That’s important because information about salmon, halibut, black it validates the method Above: Yongwen Gao, a Makah Tribe researcher, studies cod and other species important to the for further use in probing a geoduck shell sample. Below: Samples of geoduck Makah Tribe. By analyzing ratios of information that the shells shells are prepared for analysis. Photos: D. Preston carbon and oxygen isotopes found in the may hold – especially fish’s ear bone, Gao is able to determine changes in nutrient levels over 160 “We hope it will continue in the future what the fish has been eating, migration years. as it ties in well with other collaborative patterns and the distribution of age High nutrient levels are the main cause research that’s being done in Hood Canal classes within a particular stock. of low oxygen in the canal today. Many and Puget Sound.” A geoduck’s shell can provide similar thousands of fish have been killed by “We are all in this together as co- information and more, using the same algae blooms that rob oxygen from managers when it comes to understanding technique. As part of a cooperative the water. The blooms are fueled by the health of our marine resources,” project with the Washington departments increased nutrient levels from fertilizers said Russell Svec, Makah fisheries of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and leaking septic systems. By analyzing program manager. “We think it’s great and Wildlife (WDFW), geoduck shells organic carbon and sulfur in shells, it is that Yongwen is expanding the use of were collected from three sites in Hood possible to find the nutrient level changes his research with other government Canal that have been closely monitored through the geoduck’s long life history. agencies. by the Department of Ecology (DOE) for To gain that the past 16 years. information and see ‘This shell work is really groundbreaking. further into It’s never been done before.’ the past, Gao – Todd Palzer, will need to program operations manager, analyze many more shells. Washington Department of Natural Resources Funding for that project is being considered by the Washington “Given the dramatic fluctuations in fish State Legislature. species and fish composition relative to “This shell work is really ocean environmental change, the Makah groundbreaking,” said Todd Palzer, Tribe believes that Yongwen’s research DNR program operations manager. “It’s is going to be vital to gaining a better never been done before. This helps us tie understanding of the effects marine together the health of North, Central and environments have on our commercially southern Hood Canal. valuable resources.” – D. Preston
  7. 7. Coast Salish Gathering Tribal Leaders Meet to Discuss Salmon Needs At the third annual Coast right now if we are to have any Salish Gathering in February, hope for a healthy environment tribal leaders from western in the future.” Washington and British Representatives at the Columbia were committed to gathering agreed that tribes taking environmental action. must receive more funding to These include developing a deal with climate change. regional information sharing State and federal guests at database and a water quality the gathering acknowledged data gathering project. that the tribes’ historical The leaders created a knowledge of the region offers Coast Salish Gathering the only opportunity to gain Environmental Action Plan, comprehensive data regarding which also calls for tribal climate change. consultation on fish farming. “Without our traditional Tribes are concerned about Swinomish tribal Sen. Chester Cayou Sr. (left) and Billy Frank Jr. knowledge, nobody truly sea lice on farmed salmon that confer at the Coast Salish Gathering. Photo: K. Neumeyer has the ability to compare the infect wild fish, threatening status of fish and wildlife habitat today with its condition their survival. The tribes pledged to continue working toward before the white man came,” said Terry Williams of the Tulalip the replenishment of natural runs. Tribes. “We’re on a journey here that has no end,” said Billy Frank “These are tribal resources being destroyed,” he said. “We Jr., chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. have got to have the ability to help clean up the mess, even “We’re the only ones who are willing to do it. Action is needed though the tribes didn’t create it.” – S. Robinson Tribes Blend Canoe Tradition with Science During this summer’s Watershed Council, which piloted this method of data- annual Canoe Journey, gathering. Northwest tribes plan to The research will contribute to a larger information- blend modern science sharing network among all the Coast Salish tribes in western with traditional ways, by Washington and British Columbia. Many of these tribes came collecting water quality together in February for the third Coast Salish Gathering, and data from their canoes. many participate in the annual Canoe Journey, which this year The U.S. Geological will culminate in Cowichan, British Columbia. Half a dozen Survey (USGS) is canoes traveling each of the five or six main routes in the assisting with the journey will be outfitted with a probe. – K. Neumeyer technology, which was first used with canoes last year on the Yukon River. As paddlers make their journey, a 15-pound probe about 2 feet long is towed behind the canoe. The probe samples the water at set intervals to measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity and nutrients. “No one has ever taken basic water quality measurements simultaneously from different points throughout the Coast Salish region,” said Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Tribe. “The best way to collect it is from the back of a canoe, because the data is so sensitive.” If taken from a motorboat, the readings would be tainted by the exhaust and propeller turbulence. Above: Eric Grossman of the USGS (left), and Bryan Maracle of “I love that native people are the first to use this technology,” the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (center), show said Jon Waterhouse, who is part of the Coast Salish tribal tribal members how to use a water quality probe. Left: A canoe community and director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal tries out the equipment. Photos: K. Neumeyer
  8. 8. Elk Benefit From Tribal Managem Muckleshoot Tribe Supports Elk Nutrition Needs The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has having a hard time even moving around,” four straight weeks. Contributions from established a temporary feeding program Anderson said. Near Huckleberry Creek, the Upper Skagit, Swinomish and Tulalip for the White River elk herd, to prevent the snow is more than 3 feet deep. tribes, as well as Hancock Timber, which mass starvation caused by inability to The project involves hauling 66 tons of manages much of the property where find food following this year’s record- alfalfa to more than a dozen remote sites most of the elk live, have offset the food breaking snowfall. throughout the upper White River for bill. “We know that elk are having a The Muckleshoot Tribe has also hard time this winter,” said Dennis closed ceremonial hunting on the Anderson Sr., chairman of the herd and asked that all tribes do the tribe’s Wildlife Committee. “The same. “We only took a few male point of this feeding operation is elk each winter, for memorials and to help the elk herds survive until funerals,” Anderson said. “But we the snow melts.” recognize that even that would be “This herd is already in too much this year.” trouble. One hard winter can do The tribe will conduct a a lot of damage to a small herd,” population survey in the spring to Anderson said. The size of the estimate the herd size. “Hopefully, White River elk herd has declined we will find that fewer elk died in recent years from 1,700 to 550 than would have otherwise,” animals due to many factors, Anderson said. including loss of habitat. Last “Having healthy elk herds is a spring, the herd rebounded to top priority for the Muckleshoot about 700 elk, but that is still well Tribe, because we have always below the population objective of depended on the health of our around 1,000 elk. natural resources,” Anderson said. “These elk are not only having a Above: Tony Benson, wildlife program field monitor for the “We are happy that so many have hard time finding food, the snow is Muckleshoot Tribe, unloads an alfalfa bale during the tribe’s joined us to protect the health of so deep in some spots that they’re recent elk feeding effort. Top: Elk feed on alfalfa. this herd.” – E. O’Connell Photos: Dave Vales, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
  9. 9. ment Efforts Skokomish Tribe Uses Paintballs to Count Elk Sitting in a helicopter, high above the forest between Lake Quinault and southern Hood Canal, paint gun in hand, Bethany Tropp keeps her eyes peeled for Roosevelt elk. As a small herd appears, the Skokomish Tribe wildlife biologist takes aim for an elk’s rump. “The paintballs don’t hurt the elk. They have thick skin and a lot of fur,” Tropp said. “We use the same kind of equipment used in recreational paintball.” Tropp is marking the elk to gauge herd size and identify foraging areas. The last survey done by the tribe in 1995 estimated there were 258 elk in the 415-square-mile Game Management Unit 636 on the southern Olympic Peninsula. The herd was estimated at a peak of 550 in 1980. Preserving the population is key to supporting the tribe’s treaty-reserved right to hunt elk, which contribute to the tribe’s subsistence and ceremonial needs. Elk are a traditional food and a good source of protein. Elk are also integral to tribal ceremonies and regalia. Following the survey, the tribe’s goal will be to provide the herd with the proper environment to survive and grow. A group of Roosevelt elk are spotted at the top of Lake Cushman during “Good elk habitat includes both forest for cover and open an elk population study in March. Photo: T. Royal space for foraging,” Tropp said. “In this area, some parts of the replanted timberlands are too thick for elk and the nearest open areas are residential farmlands. We want to work with local timber owners and Puyallups Enhance Elk Habitat the U.S. Forest Service on improving habitat. We’re also planning forage Elk near Mount Rainier will have more food next enhancement projects for this summer.” – T. Royal winter, thanks to forest thinning last fall by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The tribe, working with the U.S. Forest Service, selectively thinned more than 300 acres of winter elk habitat. New Home for Acme Elk “The work will give plants that elk like to eat more room to grow,” said Barbara Moeller, the tribe’s wildlife biologist. “Modern forestry and fire prevention techniques have encouraged a more uniform forest, so these clearings have to be deliberately made.” Elderberry and huckleberry are some of elk’s favorite foods. “With a full growing season ahead of us, the clearings should be ready for elk next winter,” Moeller said. “The more sunlight that hits the forest floor, the more undergrowth there is and the more food for elk during the winter.” Development has encroached on the elk’s traditional feeding grounds. Portions of the 1,000- head herd migrate in summer to surrounding alpine meadows from the winter range along the Cowlitz River valley. Elk arrive in their new home in the North Cascade Mountains. North Sound The tribe has been studying the local elk herd for tribes and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) relocated more than five years, using radio collars to track the five female elk in March from the Acme area in Whatcom County, where elk travels throughout the year. “Because we collect the animals were known to disturb crops.The relocation is meant to reduce this data on such a regular basis, we have a pretty agricultural damage while augmenting a herd in the Caskey Lake region with good idea how these elk move through their habitat a low population. Photo: Scott Schuyler, Upper Skagit Tribe during the seasons,” Moeller said. – E. O’Connell
  10. 10. Blowdown Tests Timber/Fish/Wildlife individual site visits because the wind treated each area differently.” Roughly 600-800 million board feet of lumber may be salvaged from the blow- down in the next 16 months. That’s about 20 percent of the annual timber harvest for Washington state. Two-thirds of the salvage will be on private timber lands. Under normal conditions, a buffer of trees is left along fish-bearing streams. Timber harvest is rarely allowed close to the stream, but because the storm flat- tened many of these areas, TFW partners are deciding where and how much can be salvaged. Downed timber provides important habitat near streams. “Trees that fall into the stream create Joel Green (left), TFW biologist for the Quinault Indian Nation, and representatives from state and federal agencies survey blowdown damage in Grays Harbor. Photo: D. Preston pools and backwater areas for fish to rest and hide, and trees that fall on the forest Timberlands about half the size of sentatives and the timber industry aim floor provide habitat for amphibians and Washington, D.C., were flattened by the to protect fish and wildlife habitat while small mammals,” said Joel Green, TFW early December storm that packed winds providing for the economic health of the fisheries biologist for QIN. “Downed of more than 147 mph along the south- timber industry. trees also help prevent bank erosion, and western coast of the state. “We didn’t want to make some sort of provide nutrients for the forest floor and The estimated 17,000 acres of blown blanket exception to go in and harvest it the nearby stream as they decay.” down timber on state and private tim- all just because it was such an unusual Also being discussed is whether to allow berlands will rigorously test the forest event,” said Mark Mobbs, manager of the more salvage to make it easier to plant practice regulations developed within the Department of Environmental Protection new trees. “We have to balance the long- Timber/Fish/Wildlife (TFW) program. for the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN). term benefits of planting the new trees Through TFW and its evolution – the “We’re using the process outlined in versus the importance of the downed tim- 1999 Forests and Fish Report – state, the forest practice regulations,” Mobbs ber already there,” Green said. federal, tribal and environmental repre- added. “We will have to make a lot of – D. Preston Hoh River: Needs of Fish and People Must be Balanced Before 1970, the Hoh River flooded tant to fish. In addition, it prevents a river “The problem with the ‘cheaper, quick- once or twice every 10 years. But since from creating logjams, which are impor- er’ fix is that it removes prime spawning then, the river has flooded five or six tant to fish habitat. and rearing habitat, and ultimately, only times a decade. To protect roads and Over time, miles of riprap in the Hoh deflects the river’s energy to another property from these floods, tons of large River have created a straight river chan- area,” said Tyler Jurasin, fisheries man- rock, called riprap, have been used to ar- nel devoid of the natural bends, eddies ager and biologist for the Hoh Tribe. mor the river bank. and holes that help control flooding Riprap puts a straitjacket on the river These emergency fixes have seriously while providing places for salmon and channel, eliminating the creation of degraded fish habitat in the Hoh River. bull trout to rest, feed and spawn. side-channel habitat and consistent wa- “We understand that resources ter flow, Jurasin said. The twin Riprap on the Hoh River has eliminated spawning grounds have to be protected, but it’s time and side-channel salmon habitat. Photo: D. Preston pressures of increased flooding to move toward more natural solu- and decreased spawning and tions that pose less harm to salmon rearing habitat could easily put and trout,” said Vivian Lee, Hoh fish populations on the Hoh in tribal chairwoman. “Ultimately, decline. we would like to look for ways The Hoh tribal center and some to move as many of the people, tribal housing will need to be buildings and roads out of the riv- moved out of the flood plain er’s floodplain.” within the next 30 years. A chan- Riprap speeds the river’s flow, nel migration study shows that eliminating resting pools impor- the river will slice right through the lower reservation by then. 0 – D. Preston
  11. 11. Culvert Removal: Before and After The Skagit River System Cooperative (SRSC) is taking a before-and-after look at changes to stream habitat fol- lowing the removal of two fish-blocking culverts from a tributary to the Skagit River. SRSC field biologist Mike Olis and watershed scientist Jeff Phillips are closely monitoring the two sites where the undersized culverts will be removed, in the east and west forks of Hooper Creek, near Concrete. They are measuring channel topography, habitat quantity and quality, and fish distribution before the removal later this year. After the removal, they will return to monitor the changes to the habitat. The culvert removal is expected to provide passage for resident trout, and possibly anadromous fish. However, the removal also will release a large amount of sediment that has accumulated over the years above one of the cul- verts, and the SRSC is investigating the potential impact downstream. SRSC field biologist Mike Olis (left) and Fine sediments can smother redds (fish nests) by blocking the flow of oxygenated watershed scientist Jeff Phillips measure water to the eggs. Fine sediments also can prevent fry from emerging from their gravel pebbles above a culvert that is set to be nests. Conversely, there’s the possibility that larger gravel will move downstream and removed from Hooper Creek near Con- improve spawning habitat. crete. The data will help them observe The long-term benefits of removing fish-passage barriers outweigh any potential changes to the habitat following the re- short-term effects on the habitat. SRSC’s research will examine how much sediment moval of two fish-blocking culverts. Photo: K. Neumeyer moves through the channel and how long it takes for the sediment to settle, in addition to documenting changes to fish habitat and distribution. – K. Neumeyer Stillaguamish, Tulalip Tribes Seek to Preserve Port Susan Stillaguamish fisheries biologists Jason Griffith The Stillaguamish and Tulalip tribes many marine species have declined be- (left) and Jody Brown look for wild chinook in are working toward the designation of cause of habitat loss and pollution from Port Susan Bay. The Stillaguamish and Tulalip Port Susan Bay as a Marine Stewardship the ever-increasing human population. tribes hope to have the bay designated a Ma- Area – a crucial first step in restoring Designating the bay as a Marine Stew- rine Stewardship Area. Photo: K. Neumeyer and conserving the 41-square-mile bay. ardship Area will help reverse these The tribes are partnering with the declines and promote sustainable use of Snohomish and Island county marine living marine resources. resources committees, The Nature “Our tribal culture depends on healthy Conservancy and the Northwest Straits ecosystems to support the resources we Commission. The Stillaguamish Tribe harvest,” said Tulalip Chairman Mel received a $10,000 grant from the state Sheldon. “A Port Susan Marine Stew- Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s ardship Area will be a vehicle by which Community Fund for the effort. we can work with local citizens to main- “It is our duty to restore and maintain tain these resources for all of us.” this ecosystem for future generations,” Port Susan Bay is bounded by Camano said Stillaguamish Chairman Shawn Island and mainland Snohomish Coun- Yanity. “This is an opportunity to raise ty. The bay’s rich estuaries provide food awareness of existing regulations and and shelter for species such as Puget demonstrate responsible stewardship to Sound chinook salmon and steelhead everyone connected to the bay.” – both listed as “threatened” on the fed- Historically, tribes fished and clammed eral Endangered Species Act List. in Port Susan, but the populations of – K. Neumeyer
  12. 12. Researcher Focuses on Tribe’s Tatoosh Island Ocean researcher Robert Payne has been studying the Makah Tribe’s Tatoosh Island for more than four decades. He’s seen oil spills threaten the fragile ecosystem of the island at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. “Oil kills life in the intertidal zone and it’s just re- ally toxic when it comes to seabirds such as murres,” Payne said. Tatoosh Island, on the Makah Reservation, is home to the largest breeding marine colony of common murres Marine Spill Response Corp. employees demonstrate an oil boom to Quinault Indian Nation tribal members and employees. Photo: D. Preston in the continental United States. Hundreds of the birds died in 1972 when the General M.C. Meiggs dumped Coastal Tribes Train for 23 million gallons of oil along the coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Early Oil Spill Response In 1991, the Te- nyo Maru spill dumped more Action in the first hours after an oil spill is critical to protect the most sensitive areas of shoreline on the Olympic coast. than 100,000 gal- That’s why coastal tribes, in partnership with the state and federal lons of oil near government, and private industry, train personnel as first responders Tatoosh. “There to spills. was this terrible “There is a lot of ship traffic out there,” said Justine James, Tim- sheen on the bull ber/Fish/Wildlife biologist for the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN). “We kelp, and many have 26 miles of rugged coastline and many cultural resources such as more murres died. razor clams that could be impacted if a spill does occur.” It’s pervasive,” James completed the 24-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emer- Payne said. gency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) training with 11 other QIN A groundbreak- staff and community members ing researcher, in February. “They tell us it’s Payne coined the ‘It’s in our best interest widely used term to have as many trained going to be 12 to 16 hours be- fore any of the other trained “keystone spe- local responders as responders and equipment can cies,” to refer to Robert Payne tries on a hat given to possible.’ get out here, so it’s in our best an organism that him by the Makah Tribe. Payne has spent 40 years studying the inter- – Justine James, interest to have as many trained plays a greater tidal life around the tribe’s Tatoosh Timber/Fish/Wildlife biologist, local responders as possible.” role in the func- Island. Photo: D. Preston Quinault Indian Nation Tribal members from the Hoh, tion of an ecosys- Makah and Quileute tribes also tem than would completed the course earlier in be predicted by its population. the year. Each tribe has a first-response oil spill equipment trailer pro- The keystone species hierarchy has been found vided by the Department of Ecology. throughout ocean and freshwater communities and aids “The local folks with this training are ready to go and don’t have to scientific understanding about what happens when top mobilize from outside the area,” said Scott Knutson, engineer for the predators are removed in any natural system. U.S. Coast Guard District Response Advisory Team. “Disturbance isn’t all bad,” Payne said. “For instance, Washington, Idaho and Oregon are all part of the Northwest Area the wave energy on Tatoosh is astounding and can re- Contingency Plan, which lays out a coordinated response to oil spills. order whole intertidal communities by wiping rocks A successful model of coordinated local oil spill response and training clean.” is found in the San Juan Islands. Payne said he is grateful for the hospitality of the “There, you had a group of people who wanted to protect the San Juan Makah Tribe, which allowed him to spend the last 40- Islands and they knew that to reduce the damage from oil spills, they plus years studying the island’s intertidal life. needed to have trained responders who lived there,” said Knutson. “It all started with a handshake more than 40 years From a loose collection of volunteers, the Islands’ Oil Spill Associa- ago,” Payne said. “It’s been a wonderful relation- tion has grown to 354 members. The group can be contracted to handle ship.” a variety of spill tasks including early assessment, containment and – D. Preston treatment of oiled birds. – D. Preston
  13. 13. Puyallup Tribe Opens Wetland Habitat Most of that habitat was lost when the river was diked and filled to create farmland, and later, an urban port and the Tacoma city dump. To restore off-channel habitat, dirt was removed from the site until the remaining soil tested clean. “We actually increased the overall environmental quality of the region by taking dirt and material from what was an unlined landfill to a modern, lined landfill that will prevent toxics from seeping,” said Bruce McDonald, the port’s proj- ect manager. Called the Gog-le-hi-te wetland – which means “where the land and waters meet” – the off-channel restoration was completed as mitigation for the construction of a new port facility. A similar restoration project nearby was completed more than 20 years ago and opened 11 acres to salmon. Bill Sullivan, natural resources director for the Puyallup Tribe, observes During the past century, the lower Puyallup River was new habitat in the Gog-le-hi-te wetland. Photo: E. O’Connell straightened from its original path. Dikes keep the river from meandering, creating an almost entirely straight river Salmon making their way down the Puyallup River to Puget for miles. Sound will have a new place to rest and feed this spring. The Port While these changes were good for urban development, of Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians recently completed a they weren’t for salmon. “Fish need bends in the river and restoration project on the lower Puyallup River, opening 8 acres of off-channel areas to rest and feed,” said Russ Ladley, re- off-channel habitat to salmon. source protection manager for the tribe. Puyallup River chi- “Historically, the Puyallup River had hundreds of these little nook, steelhead and bull trout are listed as “threatened” un- spots where juvenile salmon could stop, rest and feed,” said Bill der the federal Endangered Species Act. – E. O’Connell Sullivan, natural resources director for the Puyallup Tribe. Floods, Lack of Habitat Hurt Puyallup River Chinook Fewer juvenile wild chinook migrated Andrew Berger, a biologist with the from the Puyallup River last year, likely ‘There are only a few Puyallup Tribe, checks for migrating ju- places where chinook can venile salmon in the tribe’s smolt trap. because winter floods washed away chi- Photo: E. O’Connell nook redds – or nests – before the fish had spawn throughout the a chance to emerge from the gravel. Puyallup watershed.’ The Puyallup Tribe counts outgoing chi- – Russ Ladley, nook with a smolt trap in the lower Puy- resource protection manager, allup River, to estimate the productivity Puyallup Tribe of the entire watershed. A smolt trap is a safe and effective way to capture and count juvenile salmon. Smolt refers to the term South Prairie Creek near Orting and the “smoltification,” a physiological process upper Puyallup River watershed near Mount juvenile salmon undergo that allows them Rainier are the two remaining strongholds to migrate from fresh to salt water. for chinook spawning in the watershed. According to recently analyzed data, few- Low numbers of migrating juvenile chi- er than 10,000 wild chinook left the Puyal- nook this year will mean even fewer adult lup watershed last year, down from a peak chinook returning three and four years from of 60,000 fish in 2005. now, leading to restricted fisheries. “There are only a few places where chi- “Chinook fisheries on the Puyallup, even nook can spawn throughout the Puyallup fisheries on abundant hatchery stocks, are watershed, so one flood can do terrible driven by the number of wild chinook re- damage to an entire run,” said Russ Ladley, turning in a particular year,” Ladley said. resource protection manager for the Puy- “In the past few years, the tribe has worked allup Tribe of Indians. “Development and with partners throughout the watershed urbanization have changed the watershed to restore habitat for juvenile salmon, but so much that even minor flooding can do those projects have only covered a fraction incredible damage to young fish.” of the entire watershed.” – E. O’Connell
  14. 14. Tribal Enforcement Acts on Anglers’ Tip Responding to a tip, Nooksack tribal enforcement officers in Febru- ary removed several sections of old fishing nets from the Nooksack River between Highway 9 and Nugent’s Corner. The pieces of net were unmarked, so tribal enforcement couldn’t tell whose they were, but the gear didn’t look like it had been there long. “Sometimes, nets are set by non-tribal poachers, who check them at night, and assume everyone will think it’s tribal gear,” said Nooksack Police Chief Jim Fernando. Most lost gear is discovered and re- ‘We established a relationship, moved during the which I believe will be mutually spring and early beneficial in the future.’ summer, when the – Ed Megill, river levels are low- sport fisherman er. Pieces of net can entangle fish, birds and other wildlife, and pose safety hazards to boaters. Sport fishermen Jason Cross and Ed Megill had been trying for two months to get the nets removed, before they connected with the Nook- sack Tribe. They had contacted “just about every entity you can think of,” Megill said. The pair met with Nooksack tribal enforcement and provided Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates for some of the net pieces. The next day, Nooksack enforcement officers recovered the net sections. Assisting Nooksack tribal enforcement, Jerry Fernando “We established a relationship, which I believe will be mutually ben- (Upper Skagit) untangles a piece of fishing net from a tree. eficial in the future,” Megill said. Nooksack tribal enforcement officers Photo: K. Neumeyer can be reached at 360-592-9065. – K. Neumeyer Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Studies Shellfish Toxins The waters of Sequim Bay seem clean, even death. “We want to better under- increasing in recent years,” Erickson with visibility for several feet within the stand how frequently these toxins are said. “It has been suggested that increas- nearshore. But biotoxins lurk within the showing up in the water and develop an es in nutrient loads in marine waters and waters, plaguing the Strait of Juan de early warning system for the presence of changes in water temperature and circu- Fuca each summer and fall. these toxin-producing algae blooms,” said lation are possible causes.” The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is con- Aleta Erickson, Jamestown S’Klallam Shellfish closures in Sequim Bay have cerned about these naturally occurring Tribe’s marine ecologist. hit the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe hard toxins that show up regularly in shellfish Using a special microscope, tribal staff both financially and culturally because tissues following algae blooms. The tox- is identifying and photographing the or- much of the intertidal acreage at the head ins don’t harm shellfish, but if consumed ganisms that could be contributing to of the bay is owned by the tribe. Clams by humans, they can lead to illness or the problem. The tribe also is studying and other bivalves there are actively weather patterns and excess nutri- managed and harvested for commercial ents, such as lawn fertilizers, to see and subsistence use. if they contribute to the problem. Last year was the fourth year the tribe “The frequency of shellfish clo- has conducted the research, a partner- sures due to high tissue levels of ship with the National Oceanic and At- the poisons saxitoxin and domoic mospheric Administration’s Northwest acid, which are produced by dino- Fishery Science Center. flagellates and diatoms, have been – T. Royal Akashiwo sanguinea is a naturally occurring algae that has been found to form massive algae blooms in local waterways, especially in shallow estuaries from late summer to early fall. Photo: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
  15. 15. Searching for Steelhead Family Tree Staff from the Puyallup Tribe and state Department of Fish and Wildlife look for young steelhead on South Prairie Creek. Clockwise from top left: Andrew Berger, Russ Ladley and Terry Sebastian, all with the Puyallup Tribe, and Mike Scharpf, WDFW. Photo: E. O’Connell The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is col- returned to the creek. The tribe will com- protect these fish,” Ladley said. lecting DNA from South Prairie Creek pare the DNA from South Prairie fish to If the South Prairie fish are genetically steelhead to find out to whom they are samples taken from adult steelhead on unique, the tribe could consider a new related. the nearby White River as well as juve- broodstock program. “Steelhead evolve to survive in specific nile steelhead from the main stem Puy- Ten years ago, more than 1,700 steel- creeks and rivers,” said Russ Ladley, re- allup River. South Prairie Creek and the head were seen throughout the Puyallup source protection manager for the Puyal- White River are both tributaries to the watershed. That number dropped to just lup Tribe. “So we can tell, by analyzing Puyallup. over 1,000 in 2001 and then to fewer their DNA, how closely related they are The Puyallup Tribe, along with the than 300 in 2007. to other stocks of fish that have adapted Muckleshoot Tribe and WDFW, recently “If steelhead native to the Puyallup to survive in other rivers.” began a steelhead broodstock program River watershed can’t thrive in the wild, Tribal and state Department of Fish and for White River steelhead. Broodstocking the only option is to raise some of them Wildlife (WDFW) staffers are walking programs remove adult fish from the wild in a hatchery to ensure their survival and the creek with an electro-shocker that and rear their offspring in a hatchery, in make sure their genetic traits aren’t lost,” temporarily stuns young steelhead. A hopes that more salmon will return. “By said Blake Smith, Puyallup enhancement tissue sample is collected for genetic in- knowing how closely related each stock manager. formation and the young fish are quickly is, we can find out what steps to take to – E. O’Connell Misdemeanor Charges Dropped in Unauthorized Whale Hunt Several federal misdemeanor charges were dropped against The men also face charges in tribal court, including violating five Makah men facing charges of illegally hunting a gray the tribe’s gray whale management plan and reckless endanger- whale in September 2007. Charges of violating the Whaling ment for firing a rifle over water. Convention Act were dismissed. If convicted in tribal court, the five could have their treaty Remaining are charges of violating the Marine Mammal Pro- rights suspended, be fined up to $5,000 and spend up to a year tection Act and conspiracy to break that law. The five will ap- in the Neah Bay jail. pear in federal court to face the reduced charges. – D. Preston
  16. 16. Hauling Halibut Coastal tribes, along with some tribes in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, participated in the first halibut fishery of the season in March. (Above) Makah fisherman Bruce Gonzales (left) and Ken Ward pack floats in prepara- tion for the 50-mile trip to the fishing grounds. Below left: Hazel Secor (left) Makah fisheries data manager, and Zac Espinoza, fisheries technician, sample halibut ear bones to learn more about the population. Below right: A Makah tribal fisherman’s catch is unloaded at the Neah Bay dock. Photos: D. Preston 6