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2010 Annual Report


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Comprehensive Tribal Natural Resources Management 2010 - an Annual Report from the Treaty Indian Tribes in Western Washington

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2010 Annual Report

  1. 1. Comprehensive Tribal naTural resourCes m anagemenT 2010 a n a nnual r eporT from The TreaTy indian Tribes in WesTern WashingTon
  2. 2. Map: Ron McFarlane. On the cover: Greg Lehman, Squaxin Island Tribe, pauses from drumming during the 2009 Tribal Canoe Journey: Paddle to Suquamish. Photo: Tony Meyer Table of Contents Regional Cooperation..........................................................6 Introduction, Core Program.............................................1 ♦ Puget Sound Partnership.....................................................6 Year in Review...................................................................2 ♦ Ocean Ecosystem Initiative..................................................7 Salmon Management.....................................................3 ♦ Coordinated Tribal Water Resources..................................8 ♦ Harvest Management...........................................................3 ♦ Timber/Fish/Wildlife.........................................................9 ♦ Hatchery Management.........................................................4 Wildlife Management.....................................................10 ♦ Habitat Management............................................................5 Shellfish Management...........................................11 NWIFC Activities...........................................................12
  3. 3. inTroduCTion W e are the treaty Indian tribes in western Washington. We are salmon people. We have lived here for thousands of years. support harvest. We are not interested in preserving salmon runs as museum pieces. Western Washington’s ecosystem is under We depend on the natural resources of the constant attack by threats such as population Pacific Northwest to sustain our way of life. growth, water withdrawals and stormwater For more than 150 years, we have fought runoff. We know that by working together, countless battles to protect the salmon and these challenges can be met. We believe in the fishing rights that we reserved in treaties cooperation and seek consensus-based solu- with the United States. We are natural re- tions. We are guided by the belief that we sources co-managers with the state of Wash- must act in the best interests of generations ington and leaders in salmon recovery. For us, to come. the fight to save the salmon continues where Because of our treaty rights, and because we live – every day in every watershed. all natural resources are connected, the treaty Salmon in western Washington continue Indian tribes in western Washington are to disappear despite massive harvest reduc- engaged in every aspect of natural resources tions and an overhaul of hatchery practices. management. This report outlines tribal Salmon are at a tipping point because neither natural resources management activities hatcheries nor harvest restrictions can com- assisted by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Jon Preston pensate for the ongoing destruction of salmon Commission for Fiscal Year 2009. More spawning and rearing habitat. information is available at, including We have one goal and one standard for links to Web sites of member tribes. A male and female coho hover over a redd in Taft salmon recovery: Return all wild salmon pop- – Billy Frank Jr., NWIFC chairman Creek, a tributary to the Hoh River. ulations to sustainable levels that can again Timber/Fish/Wildlife Endangered Ocean Ecosystem Puget Sound Hatchery Reform Forests & Fish Report Species Act Initiative Partnership Tribal Natural Resources Management Core Program Fish, Shellfish and Wildlife Harvest Fisherman and Vessel Identification Management Natural Resources Enforcement Harvest Monitoring/Data Collection Salmon Recovery Planning Population Monitoring and Research Water Resource Protection and Habitat Protection and Restoration Assessment Policy Development and Forest Land Management Intergovernmental Relations Administrative Support Coordinated Tribal Other State and Local Watershed Recovery Pacific Salmon Treaty Mass Marking Water Resources Collaborative Programs Planning Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010 1
  4. 4. Debbie Preston Billy Frank Jr., chairman of the NWIFC, addresses tribal leaders meeting with Assistant year in revieW Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk (right) in July. A major concern in 2009 was the state At the national level, the tribes saw sig- Puget Sound chinook are achieved. The government’s refusal to honor its respon- nificant recognition of their rights and the intention of the plan is to enable harvest sibility to protect salmon habitat and tribal federal government’s trust responsibil- of strong, productive stocks of chinook treaty-reserved fishing rights by fixing ity with the election of President Barack and other salmon species, and to minimize fish-blocking culverts under state-owned Obama. Work is well under way on the harvest of weak or critically depressed chi- roads. tribes’ recommendation to develop an Ex- nook stocks. The plan has been submitted The treaty tribes in western Washing- ecutive Order reaffirming and strength- to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric ton and the federal government filed suit ening the Obama Administration’s gov- Administration’s fisheries department for against the state on Feb. 12, 2001, over ernment-to-government relationship with review. hundreds of state-owned fish-blocking Indian tribes. Organizationally, commissioners con- culverts. The state acknowledges that Tribes were highly encouraged by the ducted a facilitated strategic planning ex- fish-blocking culverts are one of the most Obama Administration’s appointment of ercise to articulate their long-term vision, recurring and correctable obstacles to officials who understand and respect treaty mission and goals for the NWIFC, and to healthy salmon populations in Washing- hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, trib- lay out intermediate steps for the next three ton. More than 1,832 culverts owned by al sovereignty and the federal trust respon- to five years. The plan increases emphasis the state block more than 1,000 miles of sibility. Tribes were pleased especially with on the need to protect and restore freshwa- salmon streams and access to many acres the appointment of Larry EchoHawk as the ter, marine and terrestrial habitats for the of spawning and rearing habitat. assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. A fish, wildlife and plant communities that On Aug. 23, 2007, the federal district special cabinet-level policy position in the are central to the tribes’ cultures and exer- court ruled that state culverts that block White House also has been established to cise of their treaty-reserved rights. fish and diminish salmon runs violate coordinate Indian affairs across all agen- Indian treaty fishing rights. The court cies of the federal government. Commissioners plan to move more ag- ordered the tribes and state to develop The tribal and state co-managers spent gressively to: a prioritized repair schedule, but those much of 2009 finalizing development of ♦ Protect and restore essential habitats. efforts were unsuccessful and the case a new harvest management plan for Puget ♦ Insist on improved and more went to trial in October. Sound chinook. Puget Sound chinook cooperative management efforts. Tribes pointed out that most of the failing were listed in 1999 as “threatened” under ♦ Forge partnerships by promoting culverts are situated on small streams and the federal Endangered Species Act. The collaboration wherever possible. have small repair price tags. current harvest management plan, part of ♦ Take whatever actions are necessary The state claims it would take more than the overall recovery plan for the species, to reverse the declines and achieve 100 years to fix all of the failing culverts covered fisheries from 2004 to 2009. the restoration of critical natural given its current rate of repair. Tribes ar- The plan guides fisheries in western resources and their habitats. gue that increasing the number of culverts Washington under the co-managers’ ju- replaced each year by a handful would risdiction, and also considers the total shorten that time frame considerably. harvest impacts of all fisheries, including A ruling in the case is expected early in those in Alaska and British Columbia, to 2010. assure that conservation objectives for 2 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010
  5. 5. Tribal salmon m anagemenT I ntegration of harvest, hatcheries and habitat (the three H’s) at the watershed level is the key to salmon recovery. Recovery efforts must be coordinated and based on sound science. As co-managers, treaty tribes have worked with the state Good planning leads to harvest for decades to consider the needs of both people and fish in refining fishery and on Skagit River hatchery practices to ensure that they contribute to salmon recovery. To make the For the first time in 16 years, rec- most of these efforts, a similar commitment to habitat restoration and recovery is reational fishermen were able to absolutely essential if we are to succeed in saving the salmon. fish for Skagit River summer and fall chinook in 2009, thanks to a plan developed by tribal and state co- managers. “The tribes are committed to work- ing together with non-Indian fisher- men for the benefit of the salmon resource,” said Lorraine Loomis, Swinomish fisheries manager and the tribal North of Falcon coordina- Kari Neumeyer tor. “This harvest opportunity on the Skagit River is the outcome of strong salmon management allowing us to share the resource.” A Skagit River chinook cools on ice during the Upper Skagit Tribe’s spring fishery. During the recreational fishery this summer, tribal and sport fishermen Salmon Harvest Management divided the week equally, with each fishing for three-and-a-half days. “This fishing package gives ev- Conservation comes first. More than comprehensive ocean fisheries plan. While eryone a chance to fish,” said Scott 30 years ago, state and tribal salmon co- the PFMC is planning coastwide ocean Schuyler, natural resources director managers began sharply reducing harvest fisheries, treaty tribes and the states of Or- for the Upper Skagit Tribe. in response to declining wild salmon runs. egon and Washington are outlining inshore The Skagit River is the largest pro- Today’s harvest levels are only 80-90 per- and coastal fisheries. This North of Falcon ducer of wild chinook in the region. cent of those in 1985. process is named for the geographic region More than 23,000 wild summer and Under U.S. v. Washington (the Boldt de- it covers: north of Cape Falcon, Ore., to the fall chinook were expected to return cision), harvest can be shared only after Canadian border. to the Skagit. The next largest runs of chinook to any Puget Sound river sufficient fish are available to sustain the The PST was created in 1985 to coordi- were fewer than 10,000 fish. Recre- resource. Harvest management must be nate fisheries between tribes, state govern- ational fishing on the summer/fall comprehensive and coordinated to limit ments, and the U.S. and Canadian govern- run had been closed since 1993. mortality of weak wild stocks throughout ments. The Pacific Salmon Commission Sport fishermen share the tribes’ their migratory range. While ensuring implements the treaty and establishes fish- interest in sustaining harvestable conservation, harvest management enables ery regimes, assesses each country’s per- numbers of fish, said Larry Carpen- appropriate harvest of healthy stocks. formance and compliance with the treaty, ter of Master Marine in Mount Ver- Harvest management must be based on and is a forum for fisheries issues. The non. Carpenter represented anglers the best available science and include mon- treaty was updated in 1999 and 2008. during the salmon allocation pro- itoring and reporting systems to evaluate All proposed fisheries must comply with cess. “We’ve got to continue the run,” the status of stocks and impacts of fisher- requirements of the federal Endangered Carpenter said. “I grew up fishing ies, and inform future decisions. Species Act (ESA) to ensure protection the Skagit. Where else can you go Treaty Indian tribes and the Washington of listed stocks. In western Washington, along the I-5 corridor to catch a prize State Department of Fish and Wildlife co- Puget Sound chinook and steelhead, Hood wild king salmon?” manage salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, Canal summer chum and Lake Ozette A key factor to lasting salmon re- the Strait of Juan de Fuca and nearshore sockeye are listed as “threatened” under covery is habitat restoration, Loomis coastal waters. Tribal and state managers the ESA. said. “The largest reason for the de- work cooperatively through the Pacific The Treaty Indian Fishery Catch Man- cline of salmon is the loss and deg- Fishery Management Council (PFMC) agement Program is a key part of tribal radation of habitat,” she said. “The and the North of Falcon process to develop and harvest management. Managed by the only way to lasting salmon recovery fishing seasons that protect weak salmon Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, is to repair that damage.” Restoration projects by the Up- stocks. Tribal and state co-managers also the program provides accurate, same-day per Skagit, Swinomish and Sauk- work with Canadian and Alaskan fisheries catch statistics for treaty Indian fisheries Suiattle tribes so far have improved managers through the U.S./Canada Pacific in the U.S. v. Washington case area. The hundreds of acres of chinook rear- Salmon Treaty (PST). program enables tribal harvest levels to be ing habitat in freshwater banks, The PFMC is a public forum established monitored closely and in-season adjust- backwaters, estuary channels and by the federal government that develops a ments to be made. pocket estuaries. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010 3
  6. 6. Tribal Salmon managemenT Salmon Hatchery Management More than 100 salmon enhancement facili- ties are operated in western Washington by treaty tribes, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- Live Spawning vice. It is the largest salmon hatchery system in the world. About 150 million salmon and Operation Moves steelhead are released annually from western to Puyallup Tribe Washington hatcheries; about 35 million of those by the tribes. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is While tribal hatcheries have been produc- rescuing a wild steelhead brood- ing fish for nearly 40 years, federal funding stock program threatened by the closure of the state’s Voights Creek has not kept pace, threatening not only the Hatchery, which was heavily dam- ability of the tribes to implement essential aged by floods in 2008. hatchery reform projects, but also the tribes’ “If steelhead native to this water- basic ability to produce hatchery salmon for shed can’t thrive in the wild, the only harvest. option is to raise some of them in Hatcheries help meet treaty tribal harvest a hatchery to ensure their survival Emmett O’Connell obligations when wild salmon stocks cannot and make sure their genetic traits sustain harvest. Hatchery-produced salmon aren’t lost,” said Blake Smith, en- relieve pressure on commingled wild stocks. hancement biologist with the tribe. Tribal hatcheries also provide additional “Certain conditions, such as water fish for harvest by non-Indian fishermen, temperature, can be controlled in a Terry Sebastian, Puyallup fisheries biologist, hatchery so fish show a higher rate removes an adult steelhead from a fish trap on and help build natural runs that are cultur- of survival there than they do in the the White River. ally and spiritually important to the tribes. wild.” Some hatcheries support wild runs through Offspring of wild Puyallup steel- anesthetized instead of killed be- broodstock programs in which native fish are head broodstock are raised at a forehand. captured and spawned, and their progeny are handful of state and tribal hatcher- “By not killing the fish to spawn released to help bolster naturally spawning ies in the Puyallup River watershed. them in the hatchery, we are al- salmon runs. With the temporary closure of the lowing the fish to take their natural Since 2002 the tribal and state co-manag- Voights Creek Hatchery, the tribe is course,” Smith said. “Hopefully, now ers have been implementing hatchery reform continuing the steelhead recovery that they have a chance to come efforts based on recommendations from an effort at its Diru Creek Hatchery back, they’ll come back and spawn near Puyallup. It’s there that some again.” independent science panel. Some of the rec- of the threatened, ESA-listed Historic low runs of Puyallup River ommendations included making capital im- steelhead are undergoing a hand- steelhead have become common in provements to tribal hatchery facilities. spawning technique that allows recent years. The tribes of the Northwest Indian Fish- them to be released back into the For the past three years, adult eries Commission created the Tribal Fish river after their eggs or milt (sperm) steelhead have been collected in a Health Program in 1988 to meet the needs of are collected. trap on the White River – a tributary their enhancement programs. Tribes conduct “Unlike other salmon that always to the Puyallup – and held at Voights extensive “mass marking” of hatchery salm- die soon after they spawn, a portion Creek until they were spawned. Their on. Young salmon are marked by having their of steelhead return more than once offspring were raised at Voights until fleshy adipose fin removed at the hatchery to spawn,” Smith said. they were transported to the Puyal- before release. Typically, eggs and milt are taken lup tribal facility at Diru Creek and from salmon after they are killed. In finally to the Muckleshoot Tribe’s The treaty tribes also operate a research- the live spawning process, female White River Hatchery for release. based coded-wire tag program. Tags are in- fish are injected with air to push With Voights Creek offline for at serted into the noses of young salmon. When out some of their eggs. Male fish least a year, the fish will be spawned tagged salmon are harvested and sampled as are spawned in a traditional man- and raised at Diru until they are adults, they provide important information ner – hand-squeezing milt – but are transported to White River. about survival, migration and hatchery effec- tiveness. The tribes annually mass mark more than 11 million fish and insert coded-wire tags in nearly 4 million fish. 4 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010
  7. 7. Salmon Habitat Management Nooksack Tribe’s Restoration Lures Spawning Chinook Chinook salmon spawned last summer in a North Fork Nooksack River side channel that was restored a year earlier by the Nooksack Tribe. The side channel was dry during the summer spawning season be- Kari Neumeyer fore the tribe constructed six log- jams to redirect the flow of water. The aim was to increase flow into the existing side channel to provide Taking advantage of newly restored habitat, a chinook salmon spawns in a side channel stable spawning habitat that experi- of the North Fork Nooksack River. ences less scour in the winter. In late August, less than a year af- Harvest management and hatchery practices aren’t enough to sustain healthy Cooperation Essential ter the logjams were completed, trib- al and state biologists were delight- salmon populations. To make the most to Habitat Management ed to see chinook salmon spawning of advances in harvest and hatchery Cooperation has been the keystone of in the newly watered channel. A management, the habitat must be natural resources co-management in west- survey at the likely peak of spawning improved. Protection and restoration of ern Washington for decades. Nowhere is found 34 live chinook, 32 carcasses habitat quality and quantity are essential the need for cooperation greater than in and 31 redds (egg nests). for salmon recovery. habitat restoration and protection, because “It’s exciting that salmon are tak- Salmon habitat has been lost and de- of the enormity of the task. ing advantage of the newly formed habitat,” said Victor Insera, the graded steadily for the past 150 years as One such cooperative habitat manage- tribe’s watershed restoration coordi- the non-Indian population in western ment effort is the Salmon and Steelhead nator. “It gives the tribe’s construc- Washington has exploded. Forests have Habitat Inventory and Assessment Pro- tion crews a real sense of accom- been cleared, fish passage blocked by gram (SSHIAP). This state and tribal part- plishment.” dams and culverts, and the entire region nership created in 1995 provides a “living” The inspiration for the restora- criss-crossed with roads. database for local and regional habitat tion was a nearby forested channel The tribes believe watershed- and stock- analyses. The program documents and island known as Lone Tree, where a specific limiting factors must be addressed quantifies past and current habitat condi- tall cottonwood is home to an eagle’s to restore and improve the productivity of tions, assesses the effect habitat loss and nest. A natural logjam helped cre- naturally spawning salmon. Watershed- degradation have on salmon and steelhead ate what is left of the island, which provides stable ground for trees to specific plans for salmon recovery must stocks, and assists in development of strat- mature and eventually contribute be developed by the treaty tribal and state egies. SSHIAP produces an annual “State natural wood that is critical to form- co-managers in collaboration with stake- of Our Watersheds Report” that helps pro- ing good salmon habitat. holders. vide a blueprint for salmon recovery. Historically, logjams enabled is- The treaty Indian tribes are working The federal government has aided tribes lands and side channels to form, but hard to restore some of that lost habitat. in their salmon recovery efforts through those have been disappearing dur- Dozens of engineered logjams are being the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery ing the past 100 years, largely be- built to return natural processes to rivers Fund. PCSRF projects are making signifi- cause of the loss of woody debris. and streams and help form new spawning cant contributions to the recovery of wild The salmon recovery plan for the and rearing habitat. salmon throughout the region. watershed listed channel instability Tribes extensively monitor water qual- In western Washington alone, the PCSRF as the highest priority limiting factor for North Fork Nooksack spring ity for pollution and to ensure that factors has helped restore more than 300 miles of chinook, and identified Lone Tree as such as dissolved oxygen levels are ad- streamside habitat, remove more than 100 a restoration priority. equate for salmon and other fish. Tribes fish passage barriers and restore more than Work began in September on the also collaborate with property owners to 100 acres of wetland and estuarine habitat. second phase of the project, build- improve salmon-bearing stream habitat on PCSRF funding for most of these projects ing additional logjams to create private land. goes further because tribes leverage the more secondary channels and to To make limited federal funding work funding through cooperation with local encourage the river to flow into the to its fullest, the tribes partner with state governments, conservation groups and reconnected side channel. agencies, environmental groups, industries others. and others through collaborative habitat protection, restoration and enhancement efforts. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010 5
  8. 8. regional CooperaTion D uring the past 30 years, the spirit of cooperation in western Washington has flourished, as seen in a series of collaborative conservation processes. As co-managers of salmon, shellfish and wildlife, tribes are active participants in all of these processes. They include: ♦ Puget Sound Partnership; ♦ Ocean Ecosystem Management Initiative; Tiffany Royal ♦ Timber/Fish/Wildlife Forests and Fish Report; and ♦ Coordinated Tribal Water Resources Program. Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe habitat biologist Hans Daubenberger checks a juvenile salmon for a coded-wire tag. Puget Sound Partnership Port Gamble S’Klallam The tribes have a high standard critical data and a strategy for Gathers Nearshore Data for the recovery of Puget Sound – tackling threats to the waters in Despite blustery weather and a small craft ad- they want to clean it up enough so and around Puget Sound. visory, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe spent a that they can harvest and eat fish The goals are to protect the last chilly October afternoon tow netting the waters and shellfish every day. remaining intact places, restore just north of Hood Canal. The net, similar to a The Puget Sound Partnership damaged and polluted sites, stop surface trawl, targeted juvenile salmon on their was created by Gov. Chris water pollution at its source, and outward migration from Hood Canal and Puget Gregoire in 2005 to recover Puget coordinate all protection, restora- Sound. Sound’s health by 2020. In 2007, tion and cleanup efforts. As part of the tribe’s juvenile salmon pilot the Partnership was established as Tribes always have had a pres- study, natural resources staff collected data weekly between April and October. In addition a state agency. ence in every major watershed in to tow netting, the tribe used other collection Treaty tribes in western Wash- what is now the state of Washing- methods, including beach seining and scanning ington have taken a leadership ton. They have thousands of years the water column with SONAR. role in this effort, on top of their of experience in the region, and Similar projects are under way in the Skagit wa- other ongoing natural resources a vested interest in the health of tershed and the San Juan Islands. By conducting responsibilities. NWIFC Chair- Puget Sound’s natural resources. parallel studies throughout Puget Sound, biolo- man Billy Frank Jr. co-chaired the As co-managers, with the state, gists are able to compare data over a larger spa- development of the Partnership of the region’s natural resources, tial scale. This work is part of the Puget Sound with former Environmental Pro- the tribes co-authored the Puget Partnership’s larger effort to improve the health tection Agency Administrator Bill Sound Chinook Salmon Recovery of the sound by 2020. The objectives of Port Gamble’s pilot project Ruckelshaus, and serves on the Plan, which is being implemented are to study the current state of the marine en- Partnership’s Leadership Council. through the Puget Sound Partner- vironment and assess the health of juvenile fish The Puget Sound Partnership’s ship. The recovery of summer as they head to sea. Action Agenda was adopted in chum in Puget Sound also is being “We want to get a better understanding of the 2008 to serve as a guide to Puget implemented through the Partner- health of salmon coming in and out of Hood Ca- Sound restoration and protection ship and incorporated in its Action nal,” said Hans Daubenberger, the tribe’s habitat efforts for years to come. Tribes Agenda. Tribal involvement in the biologist. “It will help us manage fisheries bet- were active participants in the Partnership is vital to ensure the ter.” development of this document. success of these salmon recovery The tribe is collecting a variety of data, includ- The Action Agenda provides efforts. ing the weight and length of fish. Genetic and gut samples also are being gathered. “We know a lot about freshwater systems and what factors play important roles in those habitats, but not so much about nearshore and deep-water marine environments,” Daubenberg- er said. “We want to see which method provides the most information in the most efficient way possible.” Information from the pilot project will be used to develop a five-year study of the area starting next summer. 6 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010
  9. 9. Ocean Ecosystem Initiative Coastal treaty Indian tribes al- tem, coastal tribes and the state ways have relied on the ocean’s re- of Washington established the In- Debbie Preston sources. Species such as salmon, tergovernmental Policy Council groundfish, whales, clams and to guide management of Olympic crab are central to tribal cultures. Coast National Marine Sanctuary. The treaty Indian tribes believe The tribes and the state already that these and all natural resourc- have developed ocean research Katie Rathmell, CMOP, prepares the research glider Phoebe aboard a Quinault fishing boat. es are connected and that only a and planning goals – many of holistic ecosystem management which mirror recommendations approach ultimately can meet the of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Quinault Ocean Glider needs of those resources and the Policy – for a coordinated and people who depend upon them. comprehensive management ef- Provides Crucial Data The state of Washington, fort. In the past, the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) Hoh Indian Tribe, Makah Tribe, Transition to ecosystem-based had only occasional glimpses into the health of Quileute Tribe and the Quinault management requires expansion the vast ocean that is its traditional fishing area, Indian Nation are working of resource assessment surveys stretching about 50 miles from Grays Harbor with the National Oceanic and and ocean monitoring systems off north to Destruction Island. Atmospheric Administration to the Olympic coast. This includes But last summer, thanks to a computer- synthesize common research goals augmenting federal trawl surveys directed underwater research glider that looks like a motorcycle-sized torpedo with wings, QIN to understand changing ocean and groundfish port sampling, was able to gather four weeks of comprehensive conditions and create the building and conducting a comprehensive data throughout its fishing area. The Center blocks for marine spatial planning. assessment of the coastal ecosys- for Coastal Margin Observation & Prediction The tribes and state support tem. (CMOP) worked with QIN marine scientist Joe ocean monitoring and research Another pressing need is to Schumacker to plan a data-gathering project for leading to an ecosystem-based complete sonar mapping and sur- the glider, named “Phoebe.” management of fishery resources. veying of the seabed off the Olym- “This mission provided us with important in- Effective management of the ocean pic coast. Less than 25 percent of formation about the Quinault traditional ocean ecosystem requires development of the area’s seabed has been mapped waters that would be cost-prohibitive to obtain basic baseline information against and surveyed to document species otherwise,” Schumacker said. which changes can be measured. and habitat types. Acquiring this The glider, deployed and recovered by a QIN fishing vessel, gathered salinity, dissolved oxy- Achieving research goals will data is essential to effectively ad- gen, fluorescence and temperatures at different mean utilizing, expanding on dress groundfish conservation depths, then transmitted the newly collected and collaborating with existing concerns and minimize interac- data to CMOP. physical and biological databases. tions with deep-water sponge and QIN is particularly interested in dissolved oxy- In recognition of the challenges coral species. gen levels after an episode of low oxygen left facing the Olympic coast ecosys- hundreds of normally bottom-dwelling creatures on the nation’s beaches in 2006. “We’re still looking at the results from the glid- The waters off the coast of Washington sustain tribal cultures in places such er’s mission,” Schumacker said. as Second Beach near LaPush, home of the Quileute Tribe. Nutrient-rich but oxygen-poor water wells up from the depths and feeds marine life. Natural mixing of the water column is important to off- set the negative effects of the deep water’s low oxygen levels. The glider mission will help QIN understand where lower oxygen levels occur and if there are any hints of possible fish kills in the future. “Up until now, the only similar information we can get is from one seasonal buoy in this area and that is just a snapshot of the water qual- ity in that one specific area,” Schumacker said. “Phoebe gives us a look at a large piece of the ocean that we really have not had the ability to examine before.” Debbie Preston Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010 7
  10. 10. regional CooperaTion Coordinated Tribal Water Resources For nearly 20 years, the treaty Indian tribes in western Washington have part- nered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address water quality issues under the Clean Water Act. In 2009, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and EPA launched the Water Quality Exchange Network to store, share, manage and analyze data. The network enables member tribes to exchange water quality data with each other for regional scale analysis and also send data to the EPA to meet grant obligations. Building on the success of the collabora- tion with EPA, a few years ago the tribes partnered with the U.S. Geological Sur- vey (USGS) to expand their Coordinated Tribal Water Quality Program into a Coor- dinated Tribal Water Resources Program. As a federal agency within the Interior Emmett O’Connell Department, USGS has a trust responsibil- ity to tribal governments. It also is the pre- eminent authority among governments for water resources, providing valuable exper- tise, oversight and guidance to the tribal John Konovsky, environmental program manager for the Squaxin Island effort. Tribe, measures low flow on Schneider Creek. While much already has been accom- plished in the area of water quality, the Co- ordinated Tribal Water Resources Program Squaxin Tribe Studies Low Stream Flow is examining issues of water quantity. In The Squaxin Island Tribe is track- “As the water levels drop each ing low flows in a dozen small South summer, salmon habitat disappears western Washington, climatic changes and Sound streams to try to figure out and water temperatures increase, urban development are having profound how low the flows can drop in late which is harmful to salmon,” Ko- effects on water resources and aquatic eco- summer. The tribe is one of 19 trea- novsky said. “Being able to predict systems. This situation will worsen with ty Indian tribes in western Wash- that is important.” an expected doubling of the population in ington participating in a regionwide The tribe is concerned especially the Puget Sound region during the next 20 study with the U.S. Geological Sur- about the health of coho, which have years. vey (USGS) to build a model that can been on a downward slide for years. predict low stream flows. The tribe suspects that a decline in The Coordinated Tribal Water Resources “This is important information for the health of freshwater and saltwa- Program aims to: protecting salmon, and it’s some- ter habitat is the cause, but the spe- ♦ Establish instream flows to sustain thing we don’t know a lot about in cific reasons remain a mystery. ungauged stream systems,” said “There is no way that the tribe viable and harvestable populations of John Konovsky, environmental pro- or the USGS could afford to deploy fish. gram manager for the tribe. “The regular gauges on all of the impor- ♦ Identify limiting factors for salmon science tells us that the more water tant salmon streams in deep South recovery. there is in summer, the more rearing Sound,” Konovsky said. “Developing ♦ Protect existing ground and surface coho there are.” a model is a much cheaper way to water supplies. Tribal staff take weekly recordings get nearly the same results.” ♦ Review and evaluate administrative during rain-free periods in late sum- The overall project with USGS will decisions, such as proposed water mer and early fall – when stream give western Washington tribes a permits and instream flows, and flows are the lowest – carefully quan- clearer and more comprehensive project proposals on- and off- tifying any drop in flow. All streams view of water resources in their trea- within the Squaxin Island Tribe’s ty areas. reservation. treaty-reserved fishing area depend “There’s never been this kind of ♦ Participate in federal, state and local exclusively on rain or groundwater partnership between tribes and planning processes for water quantity for their flows. a federal agency to look at the big and quality management. Understanding low flow variability picture of water and streams,” Ko- is important to protect species like novsky said. “This is an important coho and trout because they spend step toward protecting and restoring a good portion of their lives in fresh weak salmon runs.” water. 8 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010
  11. 11. Timber/Fish/Wildlife Upper Skagit Tribe Finds Fish, Verifies The Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement (TFW) is a national success story that has Forests and Fish Report Streamside Buffer provided a 22-year legacy of collaborative A variety of factors – including the list- Protecting fish habitat begins with conservation. TFW brings together tribes, ing of several western Washington salmon determining where the fish are. state and federal agencies, environmental stocks under the federal Endangered Spe- Biologist Doug Couvelier and groups and private forest landowners in a cies Act (ESA), ongoing statewide water field technician Tim Shelton, with process that ensures protection for salmon, quality degradation, and concern over the the Upper Skagit Tribe, waded up wildlife and other species while also pro- continued economic viability of the timber a tributary from its confluence with viding for the economic health of the tim- industry – brought TFW participants to- Day Lake to establish how much gether in November 1996 to develop joint of the creek is being used by fish. ber industry. Using an electroshocker strapped The timber industry’s long-range goals solutions to these problems. The result to a backpack, Couvelier created an of economic stability and regulatory cer- was a plan to update forest practices rules electrical field that attracted fish to a tainty are shared by the tribes, who view called the Forests and Fish Report (FFR), submerged electrode. They marked industry as a long-term partner in forest which was completed in April 1999, and the spots where fish were sighted as management. Through TFW, the timber later adopted by the Washington State they moved 3,000 feet upstream, industry has recognized its impact on wa- Legislature. finding fish within 400 feet of the ter quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and The FFR is based on four goals: main road. other resources important to tribes’ eco- ♦ To provide compliance with the ESA “We found lots of fish throughout nomic, cultural and spiritual survival. for aquatic and riparian-dependent the stream, even in steep, swift- moving reaches,” Couvelier said. TFW matches the collective experience species on non-federal forestlands; Species found in Day Lake include and expertise of participants in a consen- ♦ To restore and maintain riparian rainbow, cutthroat and brook sus decision-making process. The TFW habitat on non-federal forestlands to trout; the lake is not accessible to Agreement is an organic process that support a harvestable supply of fish; anadromous fish. yields to a changing environment. In this ♦ To meet the requirements of the Forest practices on private land in adaptive management system, participants federal Clean Water Act for water western Washington are managed understand and encourage evaluation and quality on non-federal forestlands; through the state Forest Practices modification of the agreement to bet- and Board under the Forests and Fish ter protect natural resources and improve ♦ To maintain the economic viability Report Habitat and Conservation forest practices. Experience determines of the timber industry in the state of Plan and the Timber/Fish/Wildlife whether the needs of the parties are being Washington. Agreement. By physically walking a stream met. and denoting the last reach where The tribes offer a centuries-old tradition fish are found, tribal biologists make of resource stewardship, practice state- sure that fish-bearing streams are of-the-art technological innovation, and given the tree buffer protection are located strategically to respond to the needed to protect fish and habitat. critical management needs in their local They also establish that field maps watersheds. accurately show whether fish are present in a stream. Working with timber companies, tribes make sure logging practices don’t remove too many of the trees that are required to keep water cool, filter runoff, stabilize banks and cre- ate pools for fish to rest and feed. Where fish are found, timber com- panies are required to maintain an appropriate streamside buffer. Riparian buffers consist of a core zone, inner zone and outer zone that vary in width depending on stream size and site class. No harvest is al- lowed in the core zone. Inner zone harvest is allowed under certain conditions, and harvest in the outer zone requires that 20 trees per acre be retained. Kari Neumeyer Under current regulations, a fish- bearing stream of the size and site class of the one near Day Lake calls for a 50-foot core zone, 55-foot in- Upper Skagit technician Tim Shelton (left) and TFW biologist Doug Couvelier survey ner zone and 35-foot outer zone. a stream near Day Lake. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010 9
  12. 12. Wildlife m anagemenT The treaty Indian tribes work coopera- tively with the state to co-manage wildlife resources in western Washington. Togeth- er, the co-managers are developing region- al hunting management agreements for animals such as deer, elk, bear, goats and cougars. The agreements coordinate hunt- ing seasons, harvest reporting and enforce- ment. Other information crucial to wildlife management, such as herd size and mortal- ity estimates, also will be shared under the agreements. Western Washington treaty tribal hunt- ers account for a very small portion of the total combined deer and elk harvest in the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe state. According to statistics for 2008-2009, tribal members harvested 375 elk and 498 deer, while non-Indian hunters harvested 8,024 elk and 37,892 deer. Tribal hunters do not hunt for sport and most do not hunt only for themselves. Tribal culture in western Washington is Lower Elwha staff Kim Sager-Fradkin (left), Brandon Nickerson (center) and based on extended family relationships. A Phillip Blackcrow monitor an elk’s temperature and collect samples. tribal hunter usually shares his game with several families. In some cases, tribes may Lower Elwha Studies Roosevelt Elk designate a hunter to harvest one or more With an interest in the long-term calving. Deconstructing the 108-foot animals for elders or families that are un- sustainability of elk populations Elwha Dam and the 210-foot Glines able to hunt. All tribes prohibit hunting for on the north Olympic Peninsula, Canyon Dam will help restore more commercial purposes. the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has than 500 acres, including floodplain As a sovereign government, each treaty started a three-year research proj- habitat, which have been inundated tribe develops its own hunting regulations ect to gather baseline data about with water for nearly 100 years. and ordinances governing tribal members. the Roosevelt elk herd that resides “The tribe is interested in how elk between the Elwha River and Clal- use floodplain habitats along the El- Each tribe also maintains an enforcement lam Bay. wha before the dams are removed,” program to ensure compliance with tribal The tribe has two key goals: to said Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe wild- regulations. The ratio of tribal enforcement gather basic ecological informa- life biologist Kim Sager-Fradkin. “We officers to treaty hunters is higher than the tion on the Roosevelt herd prior to are also interested in developing ratio of state enforcement officers to non- deconstruction of the Elwha dams methods for long-term population Indian hunters. in 2011; and to develop methods monitoring throughout the entire Tribes set seasons based on the ability for longer-term monitoring of these Pysht GMU.” of the resource to support harvest. Before herds. This will allow the tribe to For the next three years, the tribe opening any area to hunting, many tribes determine if the elk population is will collect fecal pellets for DNA forward their regulations to the state De- increasing, decreasing or remaining analysis, conduct helicopter aerial partment of Fish and Wildlife for review stable over time. This study will pro- surveys, and capture several elk to vide the tribe with information about equip with Global Positioning Sys- and comment. Tribes also share their har- seasonal elk movement patterns, tem (GPS) radio-tracking collars. vest data with the agency. habitat requirements, and popula- The tribe always has used elk for Tribal hunters are licensed by their tion size and structure. subsistence, cultural and spiritual tribes and must obtain tags for each big The tribe is focusing on the Pysht purposes, and strives to preserve game animal they wish to hunt. All tribal Game Management Unit (GMU), its treaty-reserved right to hunt. This hunters carry photo identification cards which runs north of Highway 101 elk management program is aimed that include their name, date of birth and from the Elwha River west to Clallam at collecting data that will allow the tribal affiliation. Bay. Very little is known about the tribe and Washington Department If a tribal member is found in violation herds in this area, which includes of Fish and Wildlife to set more bio- of tribal regulations, he is cited in tribal the Elwha and Indian valleys and the logically based harvest regulations, Joyce-Piedmont area. thus ensuring the long-term sustain- court. Penalties can include fines and loss Frequent inhabitants of river val- ability of these herds, Sager-Fradkin of hunting privileges. In most cases, tribal leys, elk rely on the Elwha River flood- said. hunting regulations address the same har- plain for food, overwintering and vest and safety concerns as state rules, such as prohibiting the carrying of loaded firearms in vehicles. 10 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010
  13. 13. shellfish m anagemenT Shellfish have been a mainstay of west- ern Washington Indian tribes for thou- sands of years and remain important today for economic, subsistence and ceremonial purposes. As a co-manager of the shellfish re- source, each treaty Indian tribe maintains a shellfish program and manages its shell- fish harvest cooperatively with other tribes and the state through resource-sharing agreements. Tribal shellfish enhancement results in higher and more consistent harvest levels and benefits both tribal and non-Indian diggers. Tribes also conduct research on underutilized species such as Olympia oysters and sea urchins, to develop better management systems and understanding Debbie Preston (2) of the marine ecosystem. Tribes have two distinct types of shellfish harvest – commercial and ceremonial/ subsistence. Shellfish harvested during a commercial fishery are sold to licensed shellfish buyers who either sell directly to Makah tribal members Evan Bowechop (left) and Michael Murner count olive shells as the public or to other distributors. Along part of a summer internship with the tribe’s natural resources department. with state co-managers, tribes closely monitor beaches to make sure harvested Makah Surveys Purple Olive Shells shellfish is safe to eat. The chattering sound of hundreds start to establish population pat- Ceremonial and subsistence harvests of of decorative purple olive shells has terns,” said Jonathan Scordino, ma- shellfish, which have a central role in tribal accompanied Makah tribal dancers rine mammal biologist for the Makah gatherings and daily nutrition, are intend- for at least 500 years. The 3/4-inch Tribe. Even as the interns worked ed for tribal use only. shells have been found in the old- one foggy morning, a group of tribal Preliminary data for 2008, the most est archeological digs in Neah Bay. members harvested the shells a recent data available, indicate that treaty Holes pierced in the end indicate little farther down the beach. tribes in western Washington commercially they were used for necklaces, head- Each year, students work in a harvested approximately 790,000 pounds bands, belts and other decorations. variety of natural resources depart- of manila and native littleneck clams; 2.5 Makah tribal member Evan ments within the tribe, learning million pounds of geoduck clams; nearly Bowechop, 16, was reminded about different kinds of jobs and as- 700,000 pounds of oysters; 6.5 million of the history as he counted the sisting with natural resources man- living shells in the surf where agement activities. The hope is that pounds of crab; 400,000 pounds of razor they are found on Hobuck Beach some tribal members will become clams; and 200,000 pounds of shrimp. near Neah Bay. It was part of his interested in pursuing advanced ed- These fisheries occur throughout Wash- summer intern job with the Makah ucation in a related field and come ington coastal areas and Puget Sound. Natural Resources Department. He back to work for the tribe. and partner Michael Murner, 17, The interns finished the summer Olive shells are collected by Makah tribal conducted a survey of the olive shell by presenting a paper to tribal mem- members for use in necklaces, headbands and population to help Makah natural bers about their activities, including button blankets. resources managers get an idea of one by Murner on the olive shells. the numbers and locations of the “It was an interesting summer,” small, snail-inhabited shell. Bowechop said.” It kept me busy “The idea is to have the interns do and I learned a lot.” this survey each summer so we can Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010 11
  14. 14. “We, the Indians of the Pacific The treaty tribes in western Washington The NWIFC is a support organiza- Northwest, recognize that our fisheries are Hoh, Jamestown S’Klallam, Lower tion that provides direct services to the are a basic and important natural Elwha Klallam, Lummi Nation, Makah, 20 member tribes to assist with natural resource and of vital concern to the Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Nooksack, Port resources management. The NWIFC em- Indians of this state, and that the Gamble S’Klallam, Puyallup, Quileute, ploys about 70 full-time employees and is conservation of this natural resource Quinault Indian Nation, Sauk-Suiattle, headquartered in Olympia, Wash., with is dependent upon effective and Skokomish, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, satellite offices in Forks, Kingston and progressive management. We further Suquamish, Swinomish, Tulalip and Upper Mount Vernon. believe that by unity of action, we can Skagit. The tribes select commissioners who best accomplish these things, not The Northwest Indian Fisheries develop policy and provide direction. The only for the benefit of our own people, Commission (NWIFC) was created in commissioners elect a chairman, vice- but for all of the people of the Pacific 1974 by the tribes as a result of the U.S. chairman and treasurer. The commission’s Northwest.” v. Washington litigation that affirmed their executive director supervises the staff that – Preamble to the NWIFC Constitution treaty rights to salmon, wildlife, shellfish implements the policies and fisheries man- and other resources. The ruling further agement activities approved by the com- established the tribes as natural resources missioners. co-managers with the state. NWIFC Activities Fisheries Management Quantitative Services Enhancement Services ♦ Long-range planning, wild ♦ Administering and coordinating ♦ Coded-wire tagging of 4 million salmon recovery efforts and the Treaty Indian Catch Monitoring fish at tribal hatcheries to provide federal Endangered Species Act Program. information critical to fisheries implementation. ♦ Providing statistical consulting management. ♦ Developing pre-season fishing services. ♦ Providing genetic, ecological and agreements and in-season forecasts. ♦ Conducting data analysis of fisheries statistical consulting for tribal ♦ Post-season fishery analysis and studies and developing study designs. hatchery programs. reporting. ♦ Updating and evaluating fishery ♦ Providing fish health services to management statistical models and tribal hatcheries. databases. Habitat Services U.S./Canada Information and Pacific Salmon Treaty Education Services ♦ Coordinating policy and technical discussion between tribes and ♦ Facilitating inter-tribal and inter- ♦ Producing news releases, newsletters, federal, state and local governments, agency meetings, developing issue brochures, reports, curricula, and other interested parties. papers and negotiation options. videos, photographs, exhibits and ♦ Coordinating, representing and ♦ Serving on the pink, chum, coho, maintaining the commission’s monitoring tribal interests in the chinook, Fraser sockeye and data- Web site,, to educate the Timber/Fish/Wildlife Forests and sharing technical committees, as well public about tribal natural resources Fish Report process, Coordinated as other work groups and panels. management activities and objectives. Tribal Water Resources and Ambient ♦ Coordinating tribal research and ♦ Responding to hundreds of public Monitoring programs. data-gathering activities associated requests for information about ♦ Implementing the Salmon and with implementation of the Pacific the tribes and their tribal natural Steelhead Habitat Inventory and Salmon Committee. resources management activities. Assessment Project. ♦ Monitoring state and federal legislation and coordinating tribal input. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission 6730 Martin Way E. Olympia, WA 98516 (360) 438-1180 12 Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Annual Report 2010