2009 Winter NWIFC Magazine


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2009 Winter NWIFC Magazine

  1. 1. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission NWIFC News Winter 2009/10 nwifc.org Inside: ■ Coastal Coho Runs Robust ■ Seabird Deaths Raise Concern ■ Kokanee Studied Ahead of Dam Removal ■ Bridging Gap to Salmon Habitat ■ Fishing Restrictions Protect Chum ■ Salmon Discover Restored Habitat
  2. 2. Being Frank A Sense of Place NWIFC Chairman By Billy Frank Jr. NWIFC News Northwest Indian Through our five senses, all of Fisheries Commission us humans develop another sense: a 6730 Martin Way E. sense of place. It’s a powerful sense Olympia, WA 98516 that can be lost when we move from (360) 438-1180 home to home, job to job. I have been blessed with a strong sense of place for my home. The NWIFC News is published quarterly. Nisqually River is where I belong. Free subscriptions are available. This Our treaty rights are place-based, edition is also online at nwifc.org. too. Articles in NWIFC News may be re- We 20 treaty Indian tribes in west- ern Washington can only fish in the printed. places we have always fished. These NWIFC Chairman are our “Usual and Accustomed” Billy Frank Jr. fishing areas, the places where we exercise our treaty-reserved right to fish. In some cases, we are allowed to fish only in certain parts of Executive Director these areas. Mike Grayum For my tribe, the Nisqually, that is an area in southern Puget Sound. For my friends in Neah Bay, the Makah, it is an area around Information and Education Services Cape Flattery at the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula. As a Division Manager Nisqually tribal member, I can’t go to Neah Bay and exercise my Tony Meyer treaty-reserved right to fish. Good fishing or bad, we have our places. If the fishing is poor, it’s poor. We can’t pack up like sport fishermen and travel to where the Regional Information Officers fishing is better. We have to work to make it better from right where Debbie Preston, Coast we are. Emmett O’Connell, South Sound The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has seen its fall chinook fishery Tiffany Royal, Hood Canal/Strait of Juan de Fuca shrink to almost nothing in the last few years. Because the wild chi- Kari Neumeyer, North Sound nook run returning to the Puyallup is so small, all fisheries must be limited to protect the weak wild run. Even though thousands of Editorial Assistant hatchery chinook are available to fishermen throughout Puget Sound, Sheila McCloud the Puyallup Tribe has less than one day of fishing, to protect salmon in their home river. NWIFC Member Tribes: Hoh, Our place-based fishing rights require most of our tribes to fish in Jamestown S’Klallam, Lower Elwha what are called terminal areas. These include bays and the mouths of Klallam, Lummi Nation, Makah, rivers where salmon gather before heading upstream to spawn. They Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Nooksack, are the places we have always fished, and will always fish. Port Gamble S’Klallam, Puyallup, By the time the salmon reach these terminal areas, weak and strong Quileute, Quinault Indian Nation, stocks have sorted themselves out. We know where, when and how Sauk-Suiattle, Skokomish, Squaxin many fish we can selectively harvest without harming the run. Island, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Place limits on our treaty rights mean we have to be extra careful Swinomish, Tulalip and Upper Skagit when managing our fisheries in these terminal areas. We have to focus harvest on strong hatchery stocks while protecting and recov- Tribal contact information is available ering weak wild stocks. We have to fix the habitat in our watersheds. under Member Tribes at nwifc.org. We have to work hard at management to make sure fish come back to us and that enough survive to spawn and continue the run. We have to watch our fisheries closely and adjust them as necessary to make sure we aren’t having too great of an impact on the run. Time, place and method are the main ways that we control our fisheries. We limit our fishermen to a certain number of days of fish- ing and then monitor those fisheries closely to see if we need to make any changes. We also regulate fishing methods, such as net mesh On the cover: A male and female coho hover over a redd in Taft Creek, a tribu- sizes and lengths, to provide more protection to the salmon. tary to the Hoh River. Tribal fisheries So the next time you see tribal fishermen exercising our treaty technicians counted robust coho re- rights in a bay or at a river’s mouth, remember why we are there. We turns in most tributaries on the Olympic are there because we have to be. Coast. See related story on page 3. For the treaty tribes, our place is right here on every major water- – Jon Preston shed in this region as co-managers of the salmon resource.
  3. 3. D. Preston A pair of coho salmon make their way up Taft Creek, a tributary of the Hoh River. Hoh tribal fisheries technicians said it was a good year for coho throughout the Hoh River system. Coho Returns Robust on Olympic Coast As coho swim into Olympic coastal felt reasonably confident that the forecast Survey crews from the Hoh, Makah and streams, tribal biologists are cautiously op- would be met, and possibly exceeded. Quileute tribes, and Quinault Indian Na- timistic that returns are at least as robust “There are a lot of redds (egg nests) tion monitor streams weekly and count the as predicted, and possibly better. That’s out there and it’s great to see,” Gilbertson total number of egg nests. These results, good news after a summer of extremely said. coupled with tabulations of out-migrating dry conditions that dried up streams, pos- A number of streams in the Quillayute young fish in the spring, help tribal and sibly stranding and killing large numbers River system also are showing good re- state fishery managers predict future re- of young coho. turns of coho, said Roger Lien, fisheries turns of fish. “The coho survival rate forecast for the biologist for the Quileute Tribe. “The Hoh Tribe has been collecting ocean was 8 percent, up from 3 percent the “With all the November rain, it gave the this fundamental information about fish year before,” said Joe Gilbertson, fisheries fish a good opportunity to move into the returns in the Hoh River watershed since manager for the Hoh Tribe. “That’s a high tributaries,” Lien said. “We’re seeing a lot 1974,” Gilbertson said. “This kind of on- survival rate, and we are seeing a lot of fish of coho in some streams, and in others we the-ground work is critical for fish fore- returning to the Hoh River tributaries in think we’ll see more than usual farther up casts and managing the resource.” our spawning surveys.” in the stream reaches because of the higher – D. Preston The peak of the spawning season occurs flows. It’s definitely looking like a pretty in December, so while the final numbers good year.” had not been tabulated, Gilbertson said he Fish Barrier Removal Opens Small Creek to Coho Adult and juvenile coho will are historically significant above the pond will be used as swim in the upper reaches of coho producers and we think spawning and rearing habitat. Chalaat Creek for the first time we’re going to see a notice- Tributaries like Chalaat of- in decades thanks to a fish pas- able increase in the numbers of fer more consistent flows and sage improvement completed young coho coming out of Cha- convenient escape from flood by the Hoh Tribe in the fall. laat Creek.” conditions in the river as well Chalaat Creek is a tributary The tribe, through a $218,000 as a sanctuary for salmon to to the lower Hoh River. The Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery feed and grow before migrat- 5-mile-long creek meanders Fund grant, replaced a failing, ing to the ocean. through mature second-growth impassable culvert with a “We will monitor these timber and forested wetlands bridge, and created a 330-foot streams and continue to do on the tribe’s reservation about section of stream channel to spawning fish surveys, smolt 30 miles south of Forks. It emp- allow fish access to a pond with trapping and coded-wire tag- ties into the Hoh River several about 2.5 miles of additional ging,” Allison said. “We’ve had thousand feet from the ocean. habitat upstream. as many as 1,000 coho smolts “This is the first main tribu- The low-gradient channel migrating out of Chalaat Creek tary to the Hoh River that fish gives salmon access to a 2-acre recently. It will be exciting to encounter coming in from the natural pond that provides ex- see how much more productive D. Preston ocean,” said Steve Allison, cellent over-wintering habitat it becomes in the years ahead.” Bernard Afterbuffalo, fisheries habitat biologist for the Hoh for young fish, Allison said. – D. Preston technician for the Hoh Tribe, Tribe. “These kinds of streams The reopened miles of stream surveys redds in a new channel of Chalaat Creek.
  4. 4. Larry Workman, QIN In this 1979 photo, a Quinault Indian Nation tribal member walks the beach in heavy foam near Duck Creek, several miles north of Taholah. Seabird Deaths Highlight Need for More Ocean In only the second incident other species. would die then too,” said Gerald thread to follow when you talk of its kind reported in scientific Tribal members and technical “Juke” Ellis, a QIN tribal mem- about this recent event,” said Joe journals on the West Coast, staff from the Hoh, Makah and ber who has fished for decades. Schumacker, marine scientist for thousands of seabirds died on the Quileute tribes, and Quinault In- “We had really good ocean QIN. “There are signs that the Washington coast as the result dian Nation (QIN) were among conditions back then too – like ocean conditions in QIN’s tra- of the effects of a harmful algae those who helped record the we have out front in our fish- ditional fishing area are becom- bloom. magnitude of the problem. They ing grounds now,” said Ellis, 65. ing colder and more productive Foam generated from a brown counted and identified bird car- Other signs of those times are be- in terms of feed for fish, like algae (akashiwo sanguinea) casses and gathered water sam- ing seen now, too. Anchovies and they were in the 1960s and early acted as a detergent, stripping ples for testing. Results were other small baitfish are showing 1970s. Maybe these algae events the birds’ feathers of their used by ocean researchers to as- up in large numbers in the waters are the double-edged sword of waterproofing protection. Unable sess the event. near Taholah. productive ocean conditions. to dive to feed or keep warm, the For some tribal members, the Scientists have been tracking You get improved fish feeding birds died. Nearly 10,000 scoters bird die-off wasn’t anything new; West Coast algal blooms for only conditions, but you also maybe perished, representing up to 7 they’d seen similar events in the about 30 years, but tribal mem- get more of these kinds of algae percent of the total West Coast 1950s and 1960s. “We would get bers have stories about them that events.” population, along with hundreds that foam nearly up to our shoul- are hundreds of years old. Large numbers of seabird of loons, murres and several ders – every year – and the birds “It’s kind of an interesting deaths were probably not as no- ticeable in the 1960s because the populations were so much larger, Quinault Helps Host Timely Symposium on Harmful Algal Blooms Ellis said. “Now, there aren’t as many birds – so when a lot of As an algal bloom slowly waned along the Wash- marine scientist for the Quinault Indian Nation them die, it’s a big deal.” ington coast, nearly 200 of the nation’s leading said. The group plans to produce a scientific paper Some of the largest bird losses researchers and scientists gathered for the fifth based on the algal bloom. occurred between Neah Bay and National Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Symposium “Between the seabird event and our continuing in Ocean Shores. trouble with toxic algae and shellfish, we really high- LaPush on the Olympic Peninsu- The Quinault Indian Nation helped host the bi- lighted the HAB research and monitoring needs for la. In those waters, the algae was annual symposium that provides a forum for sci- our northwest region,” Schumacker said. found in high densities. Heavy entific exchange on all aspects of HAB research in QIN and other coastal tribes participate in the surf caused the algae cells to the United States. Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom (ORHAB) break down and create foam. The “It was timely in that it allowed the research- partnership that investigates toxic algae blooms. ers and managers to meet and discuss the HAB brown algae was so thick that event we had on our coast,” said Joe Schumacker, the ocean looked like the muddy
  5. 5. Bridging the Gap to Salmon Habitat A pair of fish-blocking culverts was re- channel-spanning bridge. This project opened placed with bridges by the Quinault Indian 1.5 miles of spawning and rearing habitat. Nation (QIN) to open up more than 2 miles of The project also provided salmon access to a salmon habitat in tributaries to the Quinault large wetland that is ideal rearing habitat for River. young fish. The two projects on the Quinault reserva- “Adult coho have been seen above each of tion were on forest roads near the Moclips the projects this fall,” Rasmussen said. “It’s Highway south of the Quinault River. Both great they are using the reopened habitat were completed last summer. right away.” The Hatchery Creek bridge replaced a 5- The projects were paid for by combined foot-diameter culvert that was a barrier to funding from QIN, the National Resources salmon migration. Since the culvert was Conservation Service and the state Salmon undersized, substantial streambed material Recovery Funding Board. – D. Preston accumulated upstream of the culvert while the downstream section was severely eroded. Rock weirs were installed in the streambed to create grade control, help retain gravel and minimize turbidity as the creek regrades D. Preston following the removal of the blocking A dead scoter lies on the beach culvert. south of the Hoh Tribe’s reserva- tion following an algae bloom in “The weirs are great because they are September. catching sediment, creating pools and allowing nice spawning gravel to accumulate behind them,” said Nicole Rasmussen, fish Research habitat biologist for QIN. More than half a mile of spawning and rearing habitat is now accessible to all fish. waters of the Mississippi River, The second blocking culvert was replaced said Jonathan Scordino, marine in Chow Chow Creek. Rock weirs also were mammal biologist for the Makah installed as part of this project to control Tribe. the grade and retain spawning-sized gravel. Additionally, Scordino said he The undersized culvert was replaced with a typically observes about 1,000 sea lions in the waters around Neah Bay in the early fall, but Before: Nicole Rasmussen, right, fisheries habitat biologist for the QIN, stands on a culvert that was during the algae bloom, he count- replaced later by a bridge on a stream south of Lake ed fewer than 300. Quinault. After: A channel-spanning bridge, below, “In fact, most of the marine and habitat improvements allow fish to move up- mammals seemed to have gone stream on Hatchery Creek. elsewhere during the peak of D. Preston (2) these algae events,” Scordino said. For the tribes, recent algal events underscore the need for additional research that will help predict when these events oc- cur and understand what causes them. “This is an example of why we need to continue to do data col- lection and add additional ocean moorings,” said Ed Johnstone, fisheries policy representative for QIN. “We know now that gather- ing just temperature and salinity isn’t enough. Ocean currents and wind play a big part in some of these events.” – D. Preston
  6. 6. Tracking Olympic Peninsula Elk T. Royal Lake Sutherland kokanee are examined as biologists gather data prior to the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams. Tribe Studies Kokanee Ahead of Dam Removal It’s an annual one-day opera- profile of the kokanee,” said tion, but what comes of it will Larry Ward, the tribe’s hatch- help the Lower Elwha Klallam ery manager. Tribe learn more about Lake It’s possible that the kokanee Sutherland kokanee. may leave the lake and head for The tribe has been studying the Strait of Juan de Fuca after the landlocked sockeye salmon the dams come down, but it is within the Elwha River more likely the fish will stick D. Preston watershed for four years, to the fresh water, Ward said. including the population’s “Having a solid database of A bull elk with moss entangled in its antlers stands in the health and genetics. The the health of the kokanee will upper Quinault River watershed. Elk are important to tribes culturally, providing meat as well as items for regalia. The purpose is to gather baseline help us keep tabs on the health Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) manages its elk harvest through data about the population of the watershed,” Ward said. research and harvest data gleaned from the tags that successful before the river’s fish-blocking “It’s all part of learning more tribal hunters are required to turn in. dams are removed starting in about the enormity of the El- 2011. The lake is connected to wha River system and what Jeremiah Johnson, below, wildlife technician for the Makah Tribe, inserts a radio transmitting device into a cow elk while the river via Indian Creek. species have what roles in it. Chris Conklin, water hydraulics biologist for QIN, assists. The Like sockeye, kokanee The database we are building is two helped wildlife biologists capture 27 elk in Quinault’s tra- spawn only once in their life incredibly valuable on its own, ditional hunting area to equip with radio transmitting devices. cycle, typically in rivers and but more so if anything were to The ongoing study aims to establish home ranges for the elk herds as well as population estimates and survival rates for streams that are tributaries to happen to this population.” calves. lakes, but also on lakeshores Fish pathologists from the where groundwater comes up Northwest Indian Fisheries through gravel. Commission and U.S. Fish and Unlike sockeye, however, Wildlife Service sample the kokanee spend their entire fish for diseases and to develop lives in fresh water. Because genetic profiles. Special atten- they don’t migrate to sea to tion is paid to looking for In- feed, kokanee are much smaller fectious Hematopoetic Necro- than their anadromous sockeye sis (IHN), to which sockeye are cousins. susceptible. The fish disease “After the dams are removed, causes death by destroying we’ll continue this effort and blood-forming tissues such as see if anadromous fish begin to the kidney and the spleen. use Lake Sutherland, and see – T. Royal if there is change in the health D. Preston
  7. 7. Shellfish Beds Reopen after Sewage Addressed Approximately 300 acres of shellfish beds in Annas Bay near the mouth of the Skokomish River were re- opened to harvest this fall. “We’re very pleased to know that more of Annas Bay has been opened up to shellfishing,” said Joseph Pavel, the Skokomish Tribe’s natural resources director. “Though much of this particular area is owned by private growers and not currently available for tribal harvest, it is a sign that efforts to protect and restore water quality are begin- ning to have a positive effect.” The bay’s poor water quality in 2005 forced the state Department of Health to close the beaches to harvesting Guide Aids Lamprey Identifications because of high levels of pollution coming from near- by farms and septic systems. Water quality improved, A new field guide to lamprey on the Olympic Peninsula is thanks to better management of animal waste and educa- now available. Funded by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, “Lamprey of tion about faulty septic tanks. the Olympic Peninsula Field ID Key” has been published by Last summer, however, there was an emergency closure Western Fishes. The 11-page document is filled with de- because anglers were using the riverbanks as a toilet. tailed information and pictures of pacific and western brook Soon after the closure, the Department of Fish and lamprey. River lamprey also are included, even though they Wildlife and sport fishermen worked together to clean up have only been found in Puget Sound and Fraser River drainages. the riverbank. Garbage containers and additional portable Researchers are interested in any reported sightings of toilets were installed. The shellfish beds near the mouth these specific lamprey, as well as any odd-looking speci- of the river, with more than 170,000 oysters available for mens. harvest, were reopened a month later. – T. Royal Copies of the key are available by contacting Larry Ward at 360-457-4012 ext. 17 at Lower Elwha or Tiffany Royal at 360-297-6546 at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Com- mission. Passage Restored to Chico Creek through Golf Course Recent passage improvements on Chico Creek paid off for salmon returning to Kitsap County’s biggest salmon- producing stream. “Gravel berms, logs and rootwads were installed at the mouth of the creek near Kittyhawk Drive to help cre- ate better salmon habitat,” said Jon Oleyar, a Suquamish Tribe fisheries biologist. “It worked tremendously be- cause the chum were able to move into the system quickly this fall.” Changes such as these help slow down the water veloc- ity and create pools of water for salmon to rest, feed and spawn. The fish used to have only a four-hour window to make it through the road’s culverts because of the tides, Oleyar said, but after the first survey of the watershed in Octo- ber, he saw fish in every tributary in the system. Upstream, the creek runs through Kitsap Golf and Suquamish Tribe Country Club. Last spring, a new stream channel was developed with proper salmon habitat, such as native vegetation and a meandering waterway, to help salmon migrate through the property. “It’s thrilled me to see the fish being able to utilize all Fish passage improvements to Chico Creek, which runs through the Kitsap Golf and Country Club, allow fish to reach habitat upstream. this,” Oleyar said. – T. Royal
  8. 8. Lower Elwha Restores Fish Passage with Huge Culvert The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe reached a milestone this fall in its massive effort to restore salmon habitat in the Salt Creek watershed. The tribe worked with Clallam County, private landowners and the state to remove a 5-foot-wide concrete culvert and replace it with an 18-foot-wide metal culvert on Nordstrom Creek, a tributary to Salt Creek, which empties into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. “Getting rid of barrier culverts is crucial to salmon survival in watersheds,” said Mike McHenry, the tribe’s habitat program manager. “Very few of the fish that get to these culverts can jump up and into the culvert, much less swim along the concrete bottom. Fish need gravel and shallow water to help them get deep into the watershed and spawn.” The new culverts are buried halfway underground and their bottoms are lined with gravel to aid fish passage. During an intensive study of the Salt Creek watershed E. O’Connell in 2004, the tribe discovered 31 fish-blocking culverts on state, county and private land needing replacement. The tribe’s analysis showed that the culverts blocked access to Joe Puhn, environmental program technician for the Squaxin Island Tribe, samples water to measure dissolved oxygen. more than 25 miles of tributary habitat. So far, the tribe has replaced 17 of the 31 culverts with bridges or modern Testing Underwater O2 fish-friendly culverts. Coho, steelhead, cutthroat and the occasional chum in- habit the highly productive Salt Creek watershed. On Salt Tribal researchers are tracking dissolved oxygen close- Creek alone, as many as 30,000 young salmon have been ly on a handful of small creeks in deep South Sound to counted making their way downstream to sea. figure out how much oxygen is available for salmon eggs “There are so many fish-passage barriers in this water- before they hatch. shed,” McHenry said. “People tend to only correct them “Measuring dissolved oxygen gives us a handle on if they are an immediate hazard. Not everyone has the something that might be limiting the survival of salmon resources, so we’re helping the best way we know how just as they hatch,” said John Konovsky, environmental – partnering with others to get it done.” program manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe. Dissolved The tribe was awarded $1.5 million for this project from oxygen is the amount of oxygen suspended in water. the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “Fish can suffocate when dissolved oxygen levels are (NOAA) Open Rivers Initiative, the U.S. Department too low,” Konovsky said. “Fish breathe the same oxygen of Commerce and the state Salmon Recovery Funding we breathe.” Board. – T. Royal While juvenile and adult salmon can avoid some low oxygen areas, salmon that are still developing in the grav- Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe habitat program manager Mike McHenry, el are dependent on oxygen levels in their immediate en- left, peeks inside the new metal culvert on Nordstrom Creek, while vironment. “If their parents spawned in an area with low Clallam County engineer Rich Fox looks on. dissolved oxygen levels, those salmon may never hatch,” Konovsky said. Coho salmon, which spend a larger part of their life cycle in fresh water than most other salmon species, have been in steady decline in deep South Sound. “Coho salm- on depend more on the quality of freshwater habitat than any other species of salmon,” Konovsky said. “There are probably a number of factors, mostly habitat related, for the decline in coho populations down here,” Konovsky added. “Dissolved oxygen levels on the spawn- ing beds may well be one of the major factors leading to their decline.” – E. O’Connell T. Royal
  9. 9. Stillaguamish Tribe’s Wetland Project Expands with State Highway Funding The state Department of Transportation With DOT’s support, the project expand- (DOT) and a crew of inmates helped the ed to include more extensive ditch filling, Stillaguamish Tribe restore 40 acres of earth moving and planting. Up to 15 acres floodplain adjacent to Interstate 5. of new wetlands will be created, some of The tribe acquired the parcel of land which will be banked by the state to miti- along Pilchuck Creek with plans to restore gate for future improvements. wetland habitat. The state offered to con- The Pilchuck Creek restoration will cre- tribute to the project because it needed to ate quality salmon rearing habitat, frog mitigate for 2 acres of wetlands that would ponds, floodwater storage and wildlife be destroyed during safety and congestion habitat. State Salmon Recovery Board improvements to Highway 532. funding is contributing to restoration sepa- During the past 100 years, the land rate from the mitigation work paid for by around the creek near its confluence with the DOT. the mainstem Stillaguamish River was A work-release crew of minimum- cleared, graded, farmed and eventually security inmates from the Snohomish turned into a dirt bike track. County Jail is planting the newly excavated “We were just going to plug the ditches floodplain with 60,000 plants and shrubs. and contour the fields so there were high The tribe has employed an inmate crew and low spots,” said Pat Stevenson, envi- for years. In a typical year, the crew plants K. Neumeyer ronmental manager for the tribe. “DOT is trees and shrubs in about 30 different paying for a more elaborate wetland proj- riparian projects. – K. Neumeyer ect than we proposed.” A Snohomish County Jail inmate plants native Lummi NatioN vegetation along Pilchuck Creek. Estuary Project to Help Build Homes, Create Wetland Bank A combination of Lummi Nation projects not only will repair past destruction of more than 2,000 acres of salmon and wildlife habitat, but also will help build homes Coastal Wetlands Program. Additional funding for the restoration project comes from areas. In addition to hundreds of acres on Smuggler’s Slough, the tribe has set aside 1,000 the National Oceanic and At- acres of the Nooksack delta and for tribal members. mospheric Administration’s 760 acres of the Lummi delta The Lummi Natural Resourc- Bellingham Bay and Lummi Coastal Wetlands American for the mitigation bank. es Department is reconnecting Bay, but it was turned into a Recovery and Reinvestment “We have a shortage of build- tidal channels and restoring drainage ditch in the 1930s Act, the U.S. Fish and Wild- able land for homes on our wetlands to provide rearing when most of the Nooksack life’s Coastal Program and reservation, because so much habitat for juvenile salmon River delta and associated es- Tribal Wildlife Grant, and the of it is wetlands,” said Merle along Smuggler’s Slough. In tuary was converted to farm- state Estuary and Salmon Res- Jefferson, natural resources a separate but related project, land. toration Program. director for the tribe. “These Lummi is creating the first The restoration project will The tribe is funding the two projects not only will re- tribal wetland and habitat miti- provide fish access to 6.7 miles wetland and habitat mitigation store fish and wildlife habitat gation bank in the country. The of slough habitat and wetlands, bank for now, but eventually, and improve water quality for wetland and habitat mitigation and restore tidal flow to 640 the mitigation bank will be shellfish beds, but also will bank will generate credits to acres of potential salt marsh supported though the sale of generate income to stimulate offset any unavoidable impacts habitat. mitigation credits sold to devel- the local economy.” of development elsewhere, in- Some of the former estuary opers in exchange for rehabili- – K. Neumeyer cluding homes built on tribal had been deeded to tribal mem- tating and enhancing wetland members’ land assignments bers after it was turned into Lummi tribal technician Chris Phair excavates a channel that eventually and Lummi Nation economic farmland. The tribe bought that will reconnect the Nooksack River delta with Lummi Bay. development projects. property outright or obtained While the two complemen- conservation easements using tary projects share the goal of funding from the state Salmon restoring habitat and fish pas- Recovery Funding Board, U.S. sage, the funding is separate. Department of Agriculture’s Restoration project grant mon- Natural Resources Conserva- ey cannot be used for work that tion Service Wetlands Reserve generates mitigation credits. Program and the U.S. Fish Smuggler’s Slough once pro- Wildlife Service through vided fish passage between the Department of Ecology’s K. Neumeyer
  10. 10. Tribal Voice Taking a Closer Look at Habitat Puyallup Tribe: Rivers The Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Need Room to Move Group (SPSSEG) are getting the lay of the land on the Greenwater River before a sig- Diking and other nificant salmon habitat restoration project methods used to breaks ground next summer. control the Puy- The tribe and the enhancement group are allup River and restoring 3 miles of salmon habitat on the its tributaries are Greenwater, a major tributary to the White making floods River. But before they can begin, they’re worse and slowly conducting a series of habitat surveys so driving chinook that an accurate comparison can be made into extinction. after the project is complete. It didn’t used to “Being able to get a good pre-picture of be this way. Floods Fred Dillon the project site gives us a better idea of how historically served successful we are in the long run,” said a constructive role for salmon. They cre- Russ Ladley, resource protection manager ated new habitat like logjams and off- for the tribe. channel wetlands. Today dikes allow only Next summer, the tribe and enhance- damaging, egg-scouring floods. ment group will build a series of 15 log- E. O’Connell When the river had more room to move, jams and remove 4,500 feet of forest road floodwaters had slower velocity, and did riprap berm from the floodplain. Logjams less damage to private property. are important for salmon because they help Fewer and fewer places are left in the create stable habitat for shelter and places Kristin Williamson, a project manager with watershed where chinook can successfully for juvenile salmon to eat. Riprap hardens the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement spawn, so when a flood happens, there riverbanks and alters flows, damaging Group, surveys habitat on the Greenwater aren’t many salmon eggs left to kill. salmon habitat. River. The Puyallup Tribe and our partners “About 50 or so years ago, logging around SPSSEG. “Because those trees are just have been trying to reverse this trend. the Greenwater pretty much removed any now starting to grow back to the size that Over the last few years, we’ve taken part of the trees that would usually fall into the supports the habitat salmon need, we can in three projects to reconnect important river and eventually build logjams,” said kick-start the process.” – E. O’Connell wetlands to the river. The most recent proj- Kristin Williamson, project manager for ect, the Sha Dadx off-channel restoration, reconnected 17 acres of habitat to the main river. When the river rises, juvenile fish need Generations a safe, calm place, just like people who live in the river’s path. Off-channel habitat gives young salmon shelter as they prepare to migrate to sea. Salmon habitat is disappearing like never before. Ten years ago, we proposed a mile-long dike setback near Orting that would allow a tributary to the Puyallup to return to its natural meandering course. That project evaporated when a 170-acre housing development was built within yards of the river-hugging dike. We’re encouraged that Pierce County is taking a broader view of the flooding issue and is creating a countywide flood planning process. We hope we can move forward with the county to tackle flood protection in a way that protects both peo- ple and salmon. – Fred Dillon is the policy The Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the Washington State Historical Society representative for the Puyallup Tribe of Yelm Jim and George Leschi operate a fish trap on the Puyallup River in the 1880s. Traditional fisheries management required that fishing only occur during Indians. a portion of the salmon migration season, so that enough salmon reached the spawning grounds to perpetuate the run. 10
  11. 11. SquaxiN iSLaNd tribe Salmon to Benefit From Better Habitat To make the most of underutilized habi- additional juvenile fish are coming from tat, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the state De- the state’s nearby Minter Creek hatchery. partment of Fish and Wildlife, and the Al- Until 2007, salmon eggs were planted in lyn Salmon Enhancement Group (ASEG) the lower Sherwood Creek watershed us- are planning to release 30,000 juvenile ing Remote Site Incubators (RSIs) by the coho salmon into Schumacher Creek. ASEG, which turned out to be an ineffi- The supplementation comes after a cient way to boost salmon populations. multi-year investigation by the tribe and “Salmon were being put in, but they the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhance- weren’t producing more adult fish,” Stelt- ment Group (SPSSEG) into salmon habi- zner said. “The only thing the RSIs did was tat and production in the Sherwood Creek mask the real productivity of the creek.” watershed, to which Schumacher Creek is The tribal and state salmon co-managers a tributary. halted the use of RSIs to allow for the study “This kind of supplementation works of the local coho salmon population. The because while the number of adult spawn- tribe’s research eventually pointed to direct ers we get back is enough to be self sus- supplementation in the upper watershed as taining, there is more habitat in the system the best approach. than they actually take advantage of,” said “The research we completed gave us a Scott Steltzner, salmon biologist for the good idea of how many fish are using the tribe. “Supplementation isn’t a one-size- system and how many the system can ac- E. O’Connell fits-all solution, it has to be suited to the tually support,” Steltzner said. “Instead of watershed.” eggs in RSIs, older juvenile coho released “In the case of the Sherwood watershed, in the fall in the upper watershed will like- Joe Peters, fisheries management biologist and especially Schumacher Creek, there is ly be more successful.” – E. O’Connell for the Squaxin Island Tribe, measures a coho underutilized habitat,” Steltzner said. The salmon migrating out of Schumacher Creek. Tribe Restricts Fishing at Arcadia to Protect Chum The Squaxin Island Tribe closed In addition to closely monitoring its coho fishery this fall at a popular tribal harvest, spawning surveys are tribal fishing site to protect a unique conducted by the tribe on area creeks run of wild chum salmon. to determine how many fish have re- Coho fishing was closed at Ar- turned to reproduce. cadia Beach, a tribally owned boat Restricting fishing in a particular launch that is one of the easiest spots area is a common method of fish- for tribal fishers to access. The beach eries management. Squaxin Island also is situated on the migration route Tribe fishers only harvest coho out- of chum salmon returning to Ken- side South Sound inlets. nedy Creek at the same time tribal “The outside-the-inlet fisheries fishermen are targeting coho in the method ensures we are targeting only area. The normal tribal coho fishing healthy stocks of hatchery coho,” Pe- season remained open throughout ters said. “More than 90 percent of South Sound. our catch consists of hatchery fish “Usually, chum and coho migrate when we harvest outside of the in- during different time windows, but lets.” Kennedy Creek chum tend to show Like most South Sound chum up early, so they can be caught dur- stocks, the Kennedy Creek chum run ing coho season right around Arca- is strong, with more than 30,000 fish dia,” said Joe Peters, the tribe’s fish- returning annually, Peters said. eries management biologist. “Still, we want to boost the overall An unusually high number of run to be as certain as we can that chum were caught at Arcadia dur- enough fish get back to the creek E. O’Connell ing coho season last year. That led every year,” he said. “Our extensive the tribe to close its chum fishery monitoring of harvest and escape- for a couple of weeks in November ment allows us to adjust our fisheries to ensure enough fish made it back quickly, even in mid-season.” Bear Lewis, a fisheries technician with the Squaxin Island Tribe, to Kennedy Creek to perpetuate the – E. O’Connell scans a coho salmon for a coded-wire tag. run. Benefits to the chum run out- weigh the loss of fishing opportunity for coho, Peters said. 11
  12. 12. SkokomiSh iNdiaN tribe Road Becomes Salmon Habitat It took just three weeks for spawning into the river, said Ron Figlar-Barnes, the adult salmon to find their way into newly tribe’s natural resources planner/EPA Co- created habitat that had once been a fre- ordinator. quently flooded road. Failing culverts under the road were River Road, a little-used access road just blocking water which was pooling on the north of the Skokomish River and south of road each spring. Juvenile salmon would the Skabob wetlands, was acting like a dike move into the road pools during spring Skokomish Tribe by preventing the wetlands from draining runoff, become trapped in the summer River Road is now a meandering streambed full months, and die when the water evaporat- of prime habitat for salmon that are coming up ed before the fall rains. the Skokomish River, seeking areas like this to The tribe had planned this fall to repair spawn. the road, remove the failed culverts and re- connect the wetlands to the river, but then Within three days of completion, a cray- decided to take it a step further. fish and newt were found in the restored Approximately 1,000 feet of the road area. Three weeks later, after October’s were permanently closed, culverts were first big rain, a chinook and three salmon removed, areas were deepened and the redds were found at the site. wetlands were reconnected. Fish can now “Seeing chinook use this stream so soon use the road as a side channel to access the was incredibly exciting,” Figlar-Barnes Skokomish River. said. “Soon after, we saw chum salmon The result of the restoration is a shaded, spawning in the creek, too, and we’re ex- meandering waterway with a gravel bed, pecting to see coho make their way into the which is prime salmon spawning and juve- stream as well.” – T. Royal nile rearing habitat. Skokomish Tribe Old road berms are removed as River Road is transformed into a new side channel. Enetai Hatchery Receives Much-Needed Upgrades When the Skokomish Tribe’s the hatchery’s water mainline. Three hatchery manager Laura Swaim of the raceways had inadequate flow came on board in September 2008, due to debris buildup in the main- she had fewer than three weeks to line. prepare the aging Enetai Hatchery “Our new custom-designed lift has for the annual influx of about 4,500 made a world of difference this year Hood Canal chum. too,” Swaim said. “We didn’t have to With the aid of assistant hatchery use a front-end loader/back hoe and a manager Lenora Gouley, the women bucket this year to retrieve fish from built a brand new incubation system the spawning channel.” and developed an efficient milt and When chum started showing up in egg collection method. They also late October, everything was ready to toured the Nisqually Tribe’s Clear go for the nearly 5,000 chum salmon Creek hatchery to learn more about that came back to the hatchery. The efficient spawning procedures, and tribe now has about 2.5 million eggs implemented changes for Skokom- in its incubation system. ish’s chum spawning system. Using a Bureau of Indian Affairs As soon as last year’s spawning cyclical maintenance grant and was complete, the women got busy self-governance funds, the tribe overhauling the hatchery, including completed $22,000 in upgrades, building new structures to hold eyed including designing the spawning embryos, fixing the leaking race- lift, re-piping water to seven ways, getting proper water flow to raceways, installing security fencing all of the hatchery’s seven raceways and constructing a spawning shed. T. Royal and installing a new cleanout trap for – T. Royal Enetai Hatchery manager Laura Swaim rinses chum eggs during a spawning session this fall. 1
  13. 13. Native Plants Major Part of Ohop Project Squaxin Island Tribe Tracks Low Water Flows Work Will Help Protect Coho, Habitat The Squaxin Island Tribe is tracking low flows in a dozen small South Sound streams to try to figure out how low the flows can drop in late summer. The tribe is one of 19 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington participating in a re- gionwide study with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to build a model that can predict low stream flows. “This is important information for protecting salmon, and it’s something we don’t know a lot about in ungauged stream systems,” said John Konovsky, environmental program man- ager for the tribe. “The science tells us that the more water there is in summer, the more rearing coho there are.” E. O’Connell Tribal staff take weekly record- ings during rain- Rachel Simmons, left, and Eddie Villegas, both Nisqually Indian Tribe free periods in late members, plant willow stakes during a riparian restoration project summer and early along Ohop Creek. fall (when streams The Nisqually Tribe is us- The planting is part of a flows are the low- ing an unusually large amount much larger salmon habitat est) carefully quan- of local plants for a riparian restoration project by the tribe, tifying any drop in restoration project along Ohop the group and the Nisqually flow. All streams Creek. Land Trust. The project in- within the Squaxin “Its pretty rare for this much volved digging an entirely new Island Tribe’s trea- native plant stock to be har- channel for the creek to create ty-reserved fish- vested nearby for a restoration better quality habitat for salm- ing area depend project,” said Cathy Sampselle, on than the current channel. exclusively on rain restoration biologist for the “The creek will be rerouted or groundwater for Nisqually Tribe. While most into the new channel next year, their flows. of the plants will come from but before that, we’re going to Under st a nd i ng native plant nurseries, which restore the native vegetation low-flow variabil- truck the plants to the restora- that historically would have ity is important to tion site, a lot will come from been alongside the creek,” said protect species like either the project site itself or David Troutt, the tribe’s natu- coho and trout be- will be donated by local land- ral resources director. cause they spend owners. Riparian habitat is impor- a good portion of E. O’Connell Not only does using local tant because it helps shade the their lives in fresh John Konovsky, environmental program plants save money on shipping, creek, keeping water tempera- water. manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe, takes they probably are more likely tures cool enough for salmon. “As the water a low-flow measurement on Schneider to survive. “Salmon need trees and levels drop each Creek, which flows into Totten Inlet. “Local plants mean that their plants along the creek to sur- summer, salmon genetics are adapted to that vive,” Troutt said. habitat disappears and water temperatures increase, which is particular area,” Sampselle “Getting the most out the harmful to salmon,” Konovsky said. “Being able to predict said. money you have to spend on that is important.” Because of an agreement any particular project is im- The tribe is especially concerned about the health of coho, worked out with a local land- portant in salmon restoration,” which have been on a downward slide for years. The tribe owner by Brian Combs, a proj- Troutt added. “Every year there suspects that a decline in the health of coho freshwater and ect manager with the South is less and less money available saltwater habitat is the cause, but the specific reasons remain Puget Sound Salmon Enhance- for these vital projects, so when a mystery. – E. O’Connell ment Group, even more na- we can stretch a dollar, we do tive plants will be coming in. the best we can.” Tribal crews will spend about – E. O’Connell a week harvesting willow and cottonwood before beginning to plant. 1
  14. 14. Stillaguamish Tribe, City, USGS Studying Wastewater Pollutants Something in the water could be pesticides, birth control pills, deter- slowing salmon reproduction rates. gents and other industrial, agricultural Wastewater containing pharmaceu- and household products. ticals and other products that mimic In 2006 and 2007, the tribe partnered estrogen can interfere with the endo- with the National Oceanic and Atmo- crine system of fish, potentially result- spheric Administration to test adult ing in males displaying both male and male chinook at the Harvey Creek female characteristics, which inhibits Hatchery for the female egg-produc- breeding. ing protein, vitellogenin. The protein The Stillaguamish Tribe has part- was present in all male fish, but at lev- City of Arlington nered with the U.S. Geological Sur- els that may not lead to feminization Mike Wolanek, right, water resources planner for the vey’s Water Science Center in Tacoma in adult fish. The tribe is concerned city of Arlington, samples water at the city’s Wastewa- and the city of Arlington to look at that chronic low levels of emerging ter Treatment Plant. contaminants in the wastewater that contaminants could combine to have a winds up in the Stillaguamish River toxic effect on fish. and Port Susan Bay. “The Arlington Wastewater Treat- are documenting what is there now and These “emerging contaminants” ment Plant is upgrading its system to what we find after the upgrades are have become an increasing concern filter some of these compounds out of complete. Arlington is a small munici- because they are present in the envi- the water before it is discharged into the pality and they are way ahead of larger ronment on a global scale. They in- river,” said Jennifer Sevigny, a biolo- cities in trying to improve water qual- clude endocrine disruptors such as gist with the Stillaguamish Tribe. “We ity.” – K. Neumeyer Upper Skagit Uses Unique Tree-Planting Method The restored freshwater flood- See a video plain habitat will create 53 acres of demonstration of river delta and 87 acres of forested the rotary stinger wetlands in the Skagit County- at go.nwifc.org/ owned Northern State Recreation 2qfsfn Area. The past 60 years of dredging and levee maintenance has degraded spawning habitat and interfered with natu- ral stream processes. “We have all six species of salmon in the Skagit water- shed,” said Scott Schuyler, the tribe’s natural resources director. “Hansen Creek supports chinook, steelhead, coho, chum and pink salmon, but it has been straight- ened, narrowed and disconnected from its floodplain fan and wetlands.” The Upper Skagit Tribe is removing parts of the levee K. Neumeyer and building logjams that will restore natural sediment A crew from WildLands plants trees uses a mechanized rotary stinger, which was developed by SK Environmental Restoration, a division of the Confeder- movement and improve salmon habitat. The project will ated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. restore nearly 2 miles of side-channel habitat, as well as hundreds of feet of mainstem habitat to support fish pro- The Upper Skagit Tribe is using an unusual mecha- ductivity. nized tree-planting device to plant more than 50,000 The fragmentation of habitat in Puget Sound has result- trees in the Hansen Creek floodplain. ed in the loss of freshwater wetlands important to salmon The tribe is working with WildLands and SK Envi- survival. The Hansen Creek restoration is an important ronmental Restoration, a division of the Confederated part of the salmon recovery effort. Salish and Kootenai Tribes that developed the rotary Puget Sound chinook and steelhead are listed as stinger to plant trees more efficiently than traditional “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act, methods. and Skagit coho are listed by the state Department of Fish The tree planting is part of a project that began last and Wildlife as a species of concern. – K. Neumeyer summer to restore 140 acres of salmon habitat around Hansen Creek, a tributary to the Skagit River near the Upper Skagit Tribe’s reservation. 1
  15. 15. Swinomish Making Choices For Climate Change Swinomish Tribe water resources department staffers have been recognized as “Protectors of Mother Earth” for making a simple change at the annual community clam bake. Instead of using paper plates and disposable utensils, the de- partment brought real plates and silverware to the event held last summer at Lone Tree beach and the Thousand Trails Lodge. The tribe’s newly formed Climate Change Education and Aware- ness Group (CEAG) recognized the water resources department’s effort in the monthly Kee-Yoks newsletter. The group is encourag- ing tribal members to make small changes that will benefit the environment and help reduce the causes of climate change. “Our tribal leaders are at the forefront of the climate change movement,” said Shelly Vendiola, communications facilitator for the group. The Swinomish Indian Senate signed a proclamation forming a Climate Change Initiative in October 2007. The tribe’s plan- ning and community development department released a climate change impact assessment report this fall, in partnership with the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and the Skagit River System Cooperative. The assessment found that more than 1,100 acres of Swinom- ish Reservation lands and about 160 residential structures are po- tentially at risk of inundation from increasing sea levels or tidal surge. Traditional tribal beach seining sites and shellfish beds are at significant risk of permanent inundation and potential loss. Shellfish and salmon are at risk of higher levels of contamination from algal blooms and other diseases that may be exacerbated by increased temperature. Not only are heat-related illnesses a concern for the reservation Swinomish Tribe population, especially those who are ill or elderly, but tribal mem- Swinomish tribal member Divenity Kochuten wins a tote bag at the Climate Change Education and Awareness Group’s booth at the tribe’s bers in particular may be at risk of ailments such as asthma and Halloween party. toxic poisoning from the combined effects of pollutants. “We’re looking at global issues and making the link to our local ing, facilities, and natural and cultural resources such as shellfish, tribal community at Swinomish,” Vendiola said. “We are starting salmon and forested areas.” – K. Neumeyer to raise awareness about climate change and its impacts, and how it’s going to affect such things as land use, transportation, hous- Tips To Help : ● Recycle. Reuse. Renew. ● Unplug unused electronics. ● Install low-flow shower heads. ● Switch to compact fluorescent Crack A Cone light bulbs. With Your Toes ● Take your own bags to stores. What is climate change? A pile of shredded pine Climate change, also known as global cones at its feet attests warming, is from increased amounts of to this Douglas squirrel’s carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Chang- proficiency getting seeds, es that can be seen on the ground include one of the mainstays of its rising sea levels, melting glaciers, reduced diet. In the fall, the squirrel snowpacks, hotter summers, wetter win- will cache green cones, as ters and increased drought conditions. well as mushrooms, so they will keep all winter. Visit the Web site for the Climate Change Initiative at swinomish.org/de- partments/planning/climate_change/cli- mate_main.html D. Preston 1
  16. 16. Walking On Frederick “Sonny” Woodruff Frederick “Sonny” Woodruff, of the Cleveland, vice chair of the Quileute Tribal Council. “We were Quileute Indian Nation, joined his Cre- so close, like brother and sister. We grew up together and I have ator Sept. 26 following a half century of never known anyone like him. He never, ever asked for a thing, contributions to his people. but always gave recognition. He was a strong leader, someone Born Jan. 6, 1951, Woodruff was the who made sure all things were right.” epitome of traditional and contempo- Woodruff, a graduate of Forks High School, is the son of Fred rary life. He was a fisherman all his life, Woodruff Sr. and Sarah Hines Woodruff, both of whom preceded fishing from a dugout cedar canoe, and him in death. Also awaiting him at the Spiritual Council Fire are a master operator of heavy equipment. his brother, Doug, and his sisters Pearl and Shirley. He was a tireless spokesman for In- Woodruff is survived by his wife, Jill Woodruff; two sons, dian rights and chairman of countless Dakwa Woodruff and Rick Woodruff; three daughters, Sharrah committees and boards, including the tribal school board, the Woodruff, Brandy Woodruff and Maria Erickson; one brother, housing board, the fish committee, the planning board, the cul- Russell Woodruff; five sisters, Pat Matson, Delores Woodruff, tural committee, a natural resources policy representative for the Bertha Wallstedt, Mary Eastman and Donna Jamie; and numer- Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and many more. ous nieces, nephews and grandchildren. “He was everything to our tribe,” said his niece Bonita Andrew “Sonny” McCloud Jr. Andrew “Sonny” McCloud Jr., of the Until his early 40s, McCloud was also a fisherman on the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, died Nov. 27 Nisqually River. at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia. McCloud married Edith Kanine after being discharged from McCloud was born on Dec. 3, 1921 in the U.S. Army following World War II. They purchased a 20-acre Mud Bay, Wash., just west of Olympia, home site in Yelm, Wash., where they raised their family. In recent to Andrew McCloud and Angeline To- years, Andrew traveled regularly back and forth between Yelm bin McCloud on the James Tobin Indian and Pendleton, Ore., where his wife Edith worked in cultural edu- homestead allotment. cation and language programs for the Confederated Tribes of the At age 7, he moved to Frank’s Land- Umatilla Indian Reservation, where she is an enrolled member. ing on the Nisqually River, where his McCloud is survived by his wife, Edith, sister Maiselle Bridges mother, Angie, had married Bill Frank and brother Billy Frank Jr.; 12 children; dozens of grandchildren, Sr. The elder Frank died at age 104 in great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandson; and many neph- 1983. Andrew’s mother died in 1986 at age 95. ews, nieces and cousins. McCloud was a retired member of International Brotherhood of Preceding him in death were son Russell McCloud; daughter Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 77. In his nearly 40 years as a Linda Rose McCloud; sisters Rose Fredericks John and Elsie Mc- journeyman lineman, McCloud worked throughout much of the Cloud Capoeman; and brother Don McCloud. Pacific Northwest. 1