Comprehensive Tribal Natural Resources Management 2012

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Comprehensive Tribal Natural Resources Management 2012

  1. 1. Comprehensive TribalNatural Resources M anagement 2012 An Annual Report from the Treaty Indian Tribes in Western Washington
  2. 2. Treaty Indian Tribes in Western Washington On the cover: NOAA Fisheries research biologist Kinsey Frick and Lower El- wha Klallam Tribe project biologist Ray Moses release a chinook salmon into the upper Elwha River. Two fish-blocking dams have prevented salmon from migrating up the river for nearly a century. Dam removal efforts began Sep-Table of Contents tember 2011 and are expected to continue through 2014. It is the largest dam removal project in the country. Photo: Debbie Preston. Map: Ron McFarlane.1 From the Chairman 2 Year in Review4 Tribal Salmon Management7 Regional Cooperative Management10 Wildlife Management11 Shellfish Management12 NWIFC Activities
  3. 3. From the Chairman W e are the salmon people. We are the treaty Indian tribes in western Washington and we have lived here for We believe that salmon recovery begins and ends with good salmon habitat. Har- vest restrictions and hatchery production many thousands of years. We depend on can never make up for the loss of natu- natural resources to sustain our cultures, ral salmon production caused by lost and economies and communities. damaged salmon habitat in western Wash- For more than 150 years, we have fought ington. count­less battles to protect the salmon and That’s why we are moving aggressively our rights to harvest them, rights that we to: reserved in treaties with the United States. ♦ Protect and restore critical salmon We believe that we have a sacred covenant habitat; to protect, preserve and enhance our pre- ♦ Demand better coordination of cious natural resources for generations to habitat management and other salmon come. recovery efforts; and As co­-managers, our fight continues ev- ♦ Forge partnerships by promoting NWIFC Chairman ery day in every watershed as we struggle collaboration wherever possible. Billy Frank Jr. to address the effects of development, wa- We have one goal and one stan­dard for ter use, pollution and many other threats. salmon recovery: return all wild salmon Our treaties reserved our right to har- populations to sustain­able levels that can vest fish, not just the right to put our nets again support harvest. in the water. Despite massive harvest re- We are a fishing people. We need healthy ductions and careful use of hatcheries, the salmon runs and other natural resources salmon continue to decline because of lost so we can continue to live as we have for and damaged habitat. As a result, our trea- thousands of years. This is our home. We ty rights are threatened as never before. want to keep it a good place to live for ev- We are left with few avenues, outside the eryone. courts, to protect them.Timber/Fish/Wildlife Endangered Ocean Ecosystem Puget Sound Hatchery ReformForests & 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 NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  4. 4. Year in Review T reaty rights were threatened by ongoing habitat loss, a state budget crisis worsened and climate change affected tribal cultures in western Washington in 2011. A bright spot on the horizon was the beginning of the removal of two fish-blocking dams on the Elwha River, one of the largest habitat restoration projects ever undertaken in the Pacific Northwest. Despite massive efforts such as this, we continue to lose salmon habitat faster than it can be restored. A net gain of good salmon habitat must be achieved if salmon recovery efforts are to be successful.Kari Neumeyer (2) Upper Skagit tribal member Larry Peterson harvests coho salmon in Swinomish tribal members Clay Day, left, Hawk Wilbur and Joe Mc- the Skagit River during a fall fishery. Donald prepare to release the remains of a wild Skagit River chinook during the tribe’s annual Blessing of the Fleet and First Salmon Cer- emony. Treaty Rights at Risk Leadership, commitment and coordination toward a set of salm- on recovery goals are essential if we are going to recover salm- The treaty Indian tribes in western Washington found them- on. selves at a legal and biological crossroads in 2011 as they contin- The tribes have called on the federal government to fulfill its ued efforts to recover salmon and preserve their cultures, trea- trust responsibility by: ty rights, spirituality and economies. Tribal treaty fishing rights ♦ Holding the degradation of habitat to the same standard have become almost meaningless because the salmon are disap- applied to tribal harvest; pearing. The main cause is that federal and state governments are ♦ Beginning to protect treaty-reserved rights by better allowing salmon habitat to be damaged and destroyed faster than protecting habitat; and it can be restored. ♦ Providing direction and oversight to ensure alignment and Salmon recovery is failing despite millions of dollars and de- harmonization of federal programs with salmon recovery cades of focused, cooperative work. While progress has been efforts. made in some areas, the overall quality and quantity of salmon In failing to protect salmon habitat, the U.S. government is fail- habitat continues to decline. Four species of salmon in western ing in its trust responsibility to honor its treaties with the tribes. Washington are listed as threatened under the Endangered Spe- For our treaties to have meaning, we must have salmon to har- cies Act, some for more than a decade. It is clear by every mea- vest. surement that we are steadily losing habitat throughout the region, To learn more about this issue and what the tribes are doing and the trend shows no sign of improvement. about it, visit the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s Web site, nwifc.org/treatyrightsatrisk. NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  5. 5. Elwha Dams Removal Begins Due to the persistence of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, two100-year-old dams built without fish ladders on the Elwha Riverare being torn down in the largest dam removal project to date inthe United States. The two privately built dams blocked salmon from all but thelower 5 miles of the Elwha River. Before the dams were built,the river was famous for producing chinook salmon as large as100 pounds, as well as strong runs of coho and other salmon.The dams drastically reduced the fisheries of the Lower ElwhaKlallam Tribe, denying treaty-reserved fishing rights. Debbie Preston Decades of work by the tribe and others led to the Elwha RiverRestoration Act in 1992, which led to the federal governmentacquiring the dams and authorizing funds for their removal. InSeptember 2011, the tribe’s dream became a reality with the start Lower Elwha Klallam singers and dancers pass some time before theof demolition work on the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam and the Elwha River dam removal ceremony with the river behind them.108-foot Elwha Dam. The project is expected to cost an estimated$350 million. The removal efforts will result in a free-flowing Elwha River State Budget Crisis Worsensand open more than 70 miles of high-quality salmon habitat inthe upper reaches of the river, which are protected in Olympic The state of Washington’s budget crisis continued to worsen inNational Park. 2011. The deficit stands at about $1.4 billion and could climb high- Tiffany Royal er, budget analysts warn. Hatchery closures are anticipated, along with large reductions in enforcement, habitat protection and many other basic fish and wildlife management functions. State spending on natural resources already has declined sharp- ly in recent decades. As the budget situation worsens, tribes are concerned that the state will be unable to fulfill its role as natural resources co-manager with the tribes. Climate Change The earth’s changing climate is a pressing issue for indigenous cultures around the world. In the Pacific Northwest, glaciers are disappearing as temperatures increase, reducing stream flows critical to salmon survival. In the ocean, dead zones of low ox- ygen are becoming more frequent and widespread, killing many types of marine life. Ocean acidification is increasing rapidly as our seas absorb growing levels of carbon dioxide from pollution. Coastal treaty Indian tribes will host a climate change sympo- sium July 17-20, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The symposium will bring together hundreds of leaders, tribal elders, scientists and others from around the nation to discuss traditional tribal ecolog- ical knowledge and what it can teach about past, present and fu- ture adaptation to climate change. The symposium seeks to iden- tify ways indigenous cultures may increase their resilience and adaptability to climate change and incorporate indigenous eco- logical knowledge into U.S. climate change science, policy mak- ing and governance.Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe project biologist Ray Moses releases a cohointo the Elwha River. NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  6. 6. Tribal Salmon ManagementI ntegration of habitat, harvest and hatcheries (the three H’s) at the watershed level is the key tosalmon recovery. These efforts must be coordinat-ed and based on sound science. As co-managers,treaty tribes have worked with the state for decadesto consider the needs of both people and fish in re-fining fishery and hatchery practices to ensure thatthey contribute to salmon recovery. To make the Emmett O’Connellmost of these efforts, a similar commitment to hab-itat protection, restoration and recovery is absolute-ly essential if the tribes and the state are to succeedin recovering the salmon. Nisqually tribal members Rachel Simons and Eddie Vilegas plant willow stakes along Ohop Creek.Salmon H abitat M anagement The key to sustaining strongsalmon populations is habitat management in western Wash- ington for decades. Nowhere is Habitat provides jobs Salmon always have been an important part of the Nisquallyrestoration and protection. the need for cooperation great- Tribe’s economy. Every year tribal fishermen help make ends Salmon habitat has degraded er than in habitat restoration and meet by selling a portion of their catch.steadily for the past 150 years protection, because of the enor- For the past five years, some tribal members have madeas the non-Indian population mity of the task. a living not only from harvesting salmon, but from restoringin western Washington has The Salmon and Steelhead salmon habitat. The Nisqually Tribe employs a handful of tribalincreased. Forests have been Habitat Inventory and Assess- members on a planting crew that brings salmon habitat backcleared, fish passage blocked by ment Program (SSHIAP) began to life.dams and culverts, and the entire in 1995 as a partnership with the “Our jobs are to plant the trees and the shrubs that allow theregion crisscrossed with roads. state to provide a “living data- salmon to thrive,” said Sam Stepetin, a member of the tribe’sThe tribes believe watershed- and base” for local and regional hab- planting crew. “This will ultimately impact the fishermen that catch the fish.stock-specific limiting factors itat analyses. The program doc- We get paid to restore habitat, which helps our families, andmust be addressed to restore uments and quantifies past and it goes on down the line,” Stepetin said. “Our work eventuallyand improve the productivity of current habitat conditions, as- leads to more fish for fishermen.”naturally spawning salmon. sesses the effect of habitat loss The tribe is the lead entity in a salmon recovery effort that The treaty Indian tribes are and degradation on salmon and includes other local governments and non-profit organizations.working hard to restore some steelhead stocks, and assists in “The tribe has led the way in some of the most successfulof that lost habitat, including development of strategies to pro- salmon restoration efforts of the past 10 years,” said Georgi-building engineered logjams to tect and restore salmon habitat. ana Kautz, the tribe’s natural resources manager. “Becausereturn natural processes to rivers The federal government has they ensure the long-term success of habitat restoration, theand streams and help form new aided tribes in their salmon re- planting crew has been the backbone of those salmon restora- tion efforts.”spawning and rearing habitat. covery efforts through the Pa- Almost every habitat restoration project – from opening Tribes extensively monitor cific Coastal Salmon Recovery more than 800 acres of estuary to new logjams on an impor-water quality for pollution and to Fund (PCSRF). These monies tant tributary to the Nisqually – has some element of plant-ensure factors such as dissolved support projects that make sig- ing and plant care. Over the lifetime of the crew, they’ve plant-oxygen levels are adequate for nificant contributions to the re- ed more than 200,000 trees and shrubs. In 2011, the plantingsalmon and other fish. Tribes covery of wild salmon through- crew:also collaborate with property out the region. In western ♦ Restored 49 acres with native plants;owners to improve salmon- Washington alone, the PCSRF ♦ Planted more than 37,000 plants along Tanwax and Ohopbearing stream habitat. has helped restore thousands creeks and the Mashel River; and To make limited federal fund- of acres of forest, protect hun- ♦ Maintained more than 100 acres of plantings.ing work to its fullest, the tribes dreds of acres of habitat and re- The planting crew’s work directly impacts the natural salmon productivity of the watershed.partner with state agencies, en- move more than 100 fish pas- “If salmon don’t have the trees and shrubs they need, wherevironmental groups, industries sage barriers. PCSRF funding are they going to go?” Stepetin said. “They aren’t going to haveand others through collaborative for most of these projects goes any food when they get back.”habitat protection, restoration further because tribes leverage The outdoor work in all weather – from plant care in 116-de-and enhancement efforts. the funding through cooperation gree temperatures to planting next to a frozen creek – is re- Cooperation has been the key- with local governments, conser- warding.stone of natural resources co- vation groups and others. “Compared what I’ve done in the past, and what I’m doing now, I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world,” Stepe- tin said. “I love it.” NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  7. 7. Tribal Salmon Management Salmon H arvest M anagement Fishermen learn skills to stay in industry Keeping fishermen on the water exercising their treaty-reserved right to harvest salmon is a constant struggle in an era of lost and de- graded salmon populations. Even in good years, when salmon are abundant, tribes can’t take full advantage of the run because their fleetsKari Neumeyer have diminished after years of poor fishing. The commercial fishermen who do manage to sup- port themselves during part of the year might have no income at all after the season ends. Lummi Nation purse seiner Oceanaire harvests sockeye during the 2011 fishery. In 2011, the Lummi Fishers Project helped tribal members develop skills and business Conservation comes first. develops a comprehensive ocean fish- plans that allow them to remain in the fishing in- More than 30 years ago, state and eries plan. While the PFMC is plan- dustry and still earn a living. tribal salmon co-managers began ning coastwide ocean fisheries, trea- “We’re not training them out of the industry,” sharply reducing harvest in response said Elden Hillaire, chairman of the Lummi Na- ty tribes and the states of Oregon and tion Fisheries Commission. “Our fishermen are to declining wild salmon runs. To- Washington are outlining inshore and day’s harvest levels are only 80-90 always going to be fishermen.” coastal fisheries. This North of Falcon With the help of a $3.4 million U.S. Depart- percent of those in 1985. process is named for the geographic ment of Labor grant, Lummi Fishers worked in- Under U.S. v. Washington (the region it covers – north of Cape Fal- dividually with commercial fishermen to match Boldt decision), harvest can be shared con, Ore., to the Canadian border. them with training and careers that are linked only after sufficient fish are available The PST was created in 1985 to co- to their existing skills. For example, some tribal to sustain the resource. Harvest man- ordinate fisheries between tribes, state members trained at Skagit Valley College’s Ma- agement must be comprehensive and governments, and the U.S. and Cana- rine Manufacturing and Technology Center to coordinated to limit mortality of weak dian governments. The Pacific Salm- get certified in all phases of boat building. wild stocks throughout their migra- “A lot of our guys are interested in boat build- on Commission implements the trea- ing,” said Kathy Pierre, project director for Lum- tory range. While ensuring conserva- ty and establishes fishery regimes, tion, harvest management enables ap- mi Fishers. “That’s the skill set they already assesses each country’s performance have, but they just might not be certified. Gain- propriate harvest of healthy stocks. and compliance with the treaty, and is ing the certification opens up a whole set of Harvest management must be based a forum for fisheries issues. Fisheries doors to other jobs.” on the best available science and in- annexes contained in the treaty have Others have been trained to participate in the cludes evaluating the status of stocks been periodically updated. commercial squid, sardine and herring indus- and impacts of fisheries, while helping All proposed fisheries must comply tries in Alaska, California and Oregon. They’ve inform future decisions. with requirements of the federal En- acquired new skills such as hanging differ- ent nets, working with hydraulics and repairing Treaty Indian tribes and the Wash- dangered Species Act (ESA) to ensure boats. ington Department of Fish and Wild- protection of listed stocks. In western Because Lummi Fishers keeps tribal mem- life co-manage salmon fisheries in Washington, Puget Sound chinook and bers in the fishing industry, they should be Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de steelhead, Hood Canal summer chum able to take advantage of future harvest op- Fuca and nearshore coastal waters. and Lake Ozette sockeye are listed as portunities. A historic run of Fraser River sock- Tribal and state managers work co- “threatened” under the ESA. eye salmon in 2010 was more than the tribal operatively through the Pacific Fish- The Treaty Indian Fishery Catch fishing fleets could handle, because after al- ery Management Council (PFMC) and Monitoring Program is a key part of most 20 years of little to no fishing, many of the North of Falcon process to develop tribal harvest management. Man- the large purse seine vessels had fallen out of fishing seasons that protect weak salm- aged by the Northwest Indian Fisher- service. They were replaced by smaller gillnet on stocks. Tribal and state co-manag- ies Commission, the program provides boats, which were easier to run during low re- turn years. ers also work with Canadian and Alas- accurate, same-day catch statistics for kan fisheries managers through the treaty Indian fisheries in the U.S. v. U.S./Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty Washington case area. The program (PST). enables close monitoring of tribal har- The PFMC is a public forum estab- vest levels and allows in-season ad- lished by the federal government that justments. NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  8. 8. Tribal Salmon ManagementSalmon H atchery M anagement More than 100 salmon enhancement fa-cilities operate in western Washington,managed by treaty tribes, the state De-partment of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service. It is the larg-est salmon hatchery system in the world.More than 100 million salmon and steel-head are released annually from thesehatcheries; more than 35 million of thoseby the tribes. While tribal hatcheries have been pro-ducing fish for nearly 40 years, feder-al funding has not kept pace, threateningthe tribes’ ability to implement vital hatch-ery reform projects and produce hatcherysalmon for harvest. At the same time, bud-get pressures have resulted in cuts in statehatchery production, leaving tribes as theonly hatchery operators in some water-sheds. Hatcheries help meet treaty tribalharvest obligations when wild salmonstocks cannot sustain harvest. Hatchery-produced salmon relieve pressure on wildstocks. Tribal hatcheries also provideadditional fish for harvest by non-Indianfishermen, and help build natural runs thatare culturally and spiritually important tothe tribes. Some hatcheries support wild runs Tiffany Royalthrough broodstock programs where na-tive fish are captured and spawned. Theirprogeny then are released to help supportnaturally spawning salmon runs. Port Gamble S’Klallam natural resources technician Ben Ives Sr. The Tribal Fish Health Program operat- adjusts a net on the tribe’s net pen in Port Gamble Bay.ed by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Com-mission assists tribes in rearing and releas-ing healthy fish that will help sustain a Net pen boosts harvest and economytribal fishery or restore a wild population. The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Little are dwindling. Hatcheries help subsidize theThe program provides services in preven- Boston hatchery and net pen operation have runs, keeping fish out there for people totive fish health care, disease diagnostics been around for more than 30 years, consis- harvest.” tently providing coho and chum salmon for The facility on Point Julia creates jobsand treatment, and also provides training fishermen to harvest in Port Gamble Bay and for tribal members, including those whoand educational opportunities for tribal Hood Canal. stopped fishing the past few years due to thehatchery staff. The success of the small fisheries pro- economy. Tribes conduct extensive “mass marking” gram is a testament to how hatcheries con- In the 1970s and 1980s, Ben Ives Sr.’sand operate a research-based coded-wire tribute to the local and regional economy. primary career was working for the Pope andtag program for hatchery salmon. Young Tribal hatchery programs today are support- Talbot mill, but fishing supplemented his in-salmon are marked by removing their ing almost all fisheries in western Wash- come and brought food home to his family.fleshy adipose fins at the hatchery before ington. These fisheries are a source of sub- Ives no longer fishes but is a hatcheryrelease. Coded-wire tags are inserted into sistence for the tribe and create jobs for technician at Little Boston, where he’s stillthe noses of young salmon. When tagged fishermen. able to provide for his family, as well as pass “The responsibility of this hatchery is to down traditional methods to his children. Hissalmon are harvested and sampled as adults, provide fish for tribal members to live on, grandparents fished the rivers near Seabeckthe tags provide important information both for subsistence and for selling to fish and taught Ives and his siblings how to pre-about survival, migration and hatchery buyers,” said Tim Seachord, the Port Gam- serve salmon.effectiveness. The tribes annually mass ble S’Klallam Tribe’s hatchery manager. “A “I still do that today, I smoke fish and canmark more than 18 million fish and insert lot of people don‘t have jobs and the tribe it,” Ives said. “As long as I can remember, mycoded-wire tags into nearly 4 million fish. puts out fish for them to catch and make a family always used salmon to supplement living. Hatcheries today are more viable than their food supply through the winter.” ever because a lot of these native stocks NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  9. 9. Regional Cooperative Management D uring the past 30 years, the spirit of cooperation in western Washington has prospered between the co-managers of Washington’s natural resources: the tribes and the state. The co-managers are active in a variety of collaborative conservation processes, including the Ocean Ecosystem Initative, Puget Sound Partnership, Forest Management, and the Tribal Environmental Protection and Water Resources Program. Debbie Preston Quinault Indian Nation shellfish and marine biologist Scott Mazzone and Melissa Minder of the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network set up an intertidal survey plot on the tribe’s reserva- tion north of Taholah. Ocean Ecosystem Initative Coastal treaty Indian tribes always have relied on the leading to ecosystem-based management of fishery ocean’s resources. Salmon, groundfish, whales, clams resources. and crab are central to tribal cultures. The treaty Indian Effective management of the ocean ecosystem requires tribes believe that these and all natural resources are development of baseline information against which connected. Only a holistic ecosystem management changes can be measured. Achieving research goals approach can meet the needs of those resources and the will mean utilizing, expanding on and collaborating people who depend upon them. with existing physical and biological databases. The state of Washington, Hoh Indian Tribe, Makah In recognition of the challenges facing the Olympic Tribe, Quileute Tribe and the Quinault Indian Nation coast ecosystem, tribes and the state established the are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Intergovernmental Policy Council to guide management Administration to integrate common research goals to of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. understand changing ocean conditions and create the The tribes and the state already have developed ocean building blocks for managing these resources. The research and planning goals, many of which mirror the tribes and state support ocean monitoring and research recommendations of the U.S. Ocean Policy. Fishermen active in setting policies for resources The coastal treaty tribes ap- mittees and are participating ply traditional values and knowl- in research that looks at ev- edge to ocean management and erything from the effects of cli- research to protect and enhance mate change on ocean resourc- the treaty-reserved resources es to national efforts to improve that always have sustained their ocean data gathering. culture and economy. “It’s important we stay on Lonnie Foster, Quileute fisher- top of many of these scientif- man, tribal council member and ic committees,” said Andrew fish policy representative, has Mail, Quinault Indian Nation vice worked on an ocean fishing boat chairman and fisherman. since he was a young boy. As a “The ocean was put here by fisherman and policy represen- the Creator to take care of us,” tative, Foster knows the impor- Mail said. “Ocean resources areDebbie Preston tance of protecting treaty fish- one of the main contributors to ing rights. our tribal economy and the econ- “If we aren’t at the meetings, omies of surrounding communi- somebody else makes decisions ties. We manage conservative- Quileute fisherman Lonnie Foster stresses the importance of having without us,” Foster said. ly to make sure those resources tribal members involved in management decisions. Coastal tribes are involved will always be there for us.” in a myriad of scientific com- NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  10. 10. Regional Cooperative ManagementPuget Sound Partnership The treaty Indian tribes coordinating all protection, Tiffany Royal (2)have a high standard for the restoration and cleanup efforts.recovery of Puget Sound – The PSP also serves as thethey want it clean enough regional coordinating bodyso they can harvest and eat for implementation of the Skokomish Tribe natural resources staff beach seine the Skokomishfish and shellfish every day. Puget Sound Salmon Recovery tidelands to check for marine life.That’s why the tribes are activeparticipants in the Puget Sound Plan. On a regional scale, an overarching set of priorities, Tidelands, fish habitat restoredPartnership (PSP), created by strategies, and actions help The Skokomish Tribe works to To ensure a healthy future, theGov. Chris Gregoire in 2005 direct salmon recovery. In preserve its small reservation in tribe has been working with thewith the aim of recovering the addition, representatives from southern Hood Canal. This area Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) tosound’s health by 2020. Tribal each of the 14 watershed areas always has been the tribe’s home, restore a significant portion of theinvolvement in the PSP is vital covered in the plan also meet providing tribal members with a reservation – nearly 400 acresto its success. as a regional body to guide rich history of culture, food and of tidelands. It is one of the larg- Tribes helped develop the plan implementation. jobs for generations. est restoration projects in PugetPSP Action Agenda in 2008 to In 2011, tribes worked with “The tribe is wholly devoted to Sound.serve as a guide to Puget Sound the PSP to develop 20 specific restoring the Skokomish water- The estuary was once a source shed and its resources – not just of fish, shellfish and traditionalrestoration and protection targets and indicators to gauge for the next five years, not just plants for the tribe before it wasefforts. The Action Agenda the health of Puget Sound and for another 40 years but forever,” converted into farmland in theprovides a strategy for tackling track progress of the initiative. said Joseph Pavel, the tribe’s nat- 1930s. In 2007 and 2010, withthreats to the waters in and They include factors ranging ural resources director. “We must the help of PSP funding, the tribearound Puget Sound. Goals from marine water quality continue to heal the environment started restoring the tidelandsinclude: protecting remaining and the abundance of fish that we depend upon for survival. to their natural state. The tribehabitat, restoring damaged and and wildlife to a Puget Sound The health and well-being of the also is monitoring the tidelands topolluted sites, stopping water quality of life index. Skokomish watershed is vital to check for salmon using the newpollution at its source, and the tribe’s culture, traditions, sub- habitat, as well as a resurgence sistence and economy.” of native plants.Forest Management enhanced meadows to provide better habitat Forest plan for wildlife such as elk, deer and bear. Areas that were once lacking wildlife now support protects resources healthy populations. Suquamish tribal member David Mills Tribes manage their forests through the has been his tribe’s forestry manag- Timber/Fish/Wildlife (TFW) Agreement er since 1999, overseeing hundreds of and the Forests and Fish Report (FFR). acres of timber, managing the tribe’s The TFW Agreement is an adaptive man- reservation forestlands, and fulfilling a agement process that encourages evalua- desire for a lifelong career in natural re- tion and modification to better protect nat- sources management. ural resources and improve forest practices. Mills updates and implements the tribe’s forestry plan and works with In 1996, TFW participants came together to landowners to responsibly manage tim- update forest practices in the FFR, which ber. Money from timber sales benefits was completed in April 1999 and adopted tribal landowners and helps support theSuquamish forestry manager David Mills marks by the state Legislature. tribal forestry program.a timber stand boundary. TFW and FFR have brought together Mills believes that managing forests tribes, state and federal agencies, environ- is an important part of supporting trib- Treaty tribes in western Washington man- mental groups and private forest landowners al treaty rights and culture. As a youngage their forestlands in ways that benefit in a process to protect salmon, wildlife and man, he watched his great-grandmotherpeople, fish, wildlife and water. Healthy for- other species while providing for the eco- Cecelia Jackson weave traditional bas-ests support healthy streams for salmon and nomic health of the timber industry. kets.enable wildlife to thrive. Forests are also a A tribal representative serves on the state’s “Through forest management, we’re protecting the resources, wildlife,source of food, medicine and materials for Forest Practices Board, which sets standards streams and wetlands,” Mills said. “Bycultural items. Tribes that harvest timber on for activities such as timber harvests, road having good clean water for our salm-their reservations have extensive reforesta- construction, and forest chemical applica- on and trout, plus keeping the estuariestion programs to ensure trees for the future. tions. Tribes also are active participants in and beaches clean, it helps protect the On reservation lands in recent years, the FFR Cooperative Monitoring, Evalua- salmon, which is one of the most impor-tribes thinned forests, planted seedlings and tion and Research (CMER) Committee. tant jobs of the tribe.” NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  11. 11. Regional Cooperative Management Tribal Environmental Protection and Water Resources Program Water Quality and Quantity Tribal treaty resources continue to be threatened U.S. Geological Survey. It is the pre-eminent author- by declining water quality and quantity. In western ity among governments for water resources, provid- Washington, climatic changes and urban development ing valuable expertise, oversight and guidance to the are having profound effects on water resources and tribal effort toward data collection and resource man- aquatic ecosystems. This situation will worsen with agement. an expected doubling of the population in the Puget Sound region during the next 20 years. EPA Partnership Goals of tribal water resources programs include es- Twenty years ago, Pacific Northwest tribes part- tablishing instream flows to sustain viable and har- nered with the federal Environmental Protection vestable populations of fish, identifying limiting fac- Agency (EPA) to address water quality issues under tors for salmon recovery, protecting existing ground the Clean Water Act. The unprecedented relationship, and surface water supplies, and participating in feder- called the Coordinated Tribal Water Quality Program, al, state and local planning processes for water quanti- has improved tribal water quality management and ty and quality management. protection of tribal lands and treaty-reserved resourc- Tribes are supporting the state’s effort to update its es. default fish consumption rate. Fish consumption rates Partnerships between the EPA and individual tribes are used to determine water quality standards to pro- have energized and focused meaningful environmen- tect people from health effects from toxic substanc- tal protection activities in watersheds throughout the es in fish. Current state water quality standards are region and enabled the leveraging and partnering of based on a seafood consumption rate of 6.5 grams of county, state and federal funds. fish a day. EPA’s General Assistance Program (GAP) was es- Fish consumption studies of Northwest Indian tribes tablished to build capacity for environmental protec- and Asian and Pacific Islanders reported consumption tion programs at every federally recognized tribe in rates ranging from 100 to nearly 500 grams of fish per the country. Many tribes have successfully built basic day. Non-Indian citizens also eat more than 6.5 grams operational capacity with GAP funds and are ready to a day, making this an important human health issue move to the next step of implementing those environ- for all residents. Member tribes of the Northwest Indi- mental programs. an Fisheries Commission are encouraging the state of The tribes have proposed a pilot project, called Washington to adopt a more protective fish consump- “Beyond GAP,” to build on the investments of the past tion rate in their water quality standards. 20 years by implementing environmental programs Also in 2011, tribes continued to operate the NWIFC locally, while providing leadership in shaping the Water Quality Exchange Network, which stores, next steps in EPA’s Indian Program development shares, manages and analyzes tribal data. nationally. For nearly 20 years, tribes have partnered with the Bait fishery keeps tribes digging In spring 2011, the Swinomish Tribe habitat degradation,” said Swinom- held its first bait fishery to allow tribal ish fisheries manager Lorraine Loomis. members to continue to exercise their “We wanted to provide a harvest op- treaty rights even though water pollu- portunity for fishermen who don’t have tion has taken away the ability to eat boats.” one of their traditional foods. At the end of each day of the bait Tribal members harvested clams by fishery, tribal diggers brought their har- Monroe Landing on Whidbey Island, vest to shellfish biologist Julie Barber near a sewage outfall. While not safe and fisheries technician Dora Finkbon- for human consumption, the shellfish ner, who dunked the bags of butter can be used for crab bait. Any trace of clams and cockles in blue dye, likeKari Neumeyer bacteria ingested by crab is destroyed Easter eggs. The blue dye is required when it is cooked. by the state Department of Health to “We’ve lost so much of our tradition- let buyers know that the clams are not al gathering areas to development and for human consumption. Swinomish fisheries technician Dora Finkbonner dyes clams blue so buyers know they are to be used as bait and are not for human consumption. NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  12. 12. Wildlife M anagement The treaty Indian tribes are co-manag-ers of wildlife resources in western Wash-ington. Species such as deer, elk, bear andmountain goats always have been impor-tant to the tribes both culturally and as asource of food. Western Washington treaty tribal hunt-ers account for a very small portion of thetotal combined deer and elk harvest in thestate. According to statistics for 2010-2011,treaty tribal hunters harvested 393 elk and696 deer, while non-Indian hunters har-vested 7,060 elk and 33,391 deer. Tribal hunters do not hunt for sport andmost do not hunt only for themselves. Trib-al culture in western Washington is basedon extended family relationships. A tribalhunter usually shares his game with sev-eral families. In some cases, tribes maydesignate a hunter to harvest one or moreanimals for elders or families that are un-able to hunt. All tribes prohibit hunting for Debbie Prestoncommercial purposes. Makah tribal member Gary Ray has been a longtime participant on the tribe’s hunting committee. As a sovereign government, each treaty Harvesting deer, elk and other wildlife is an important part of tribal culture.tribe develops its own hunting regulationsand ordinances for tribal members. Tribesset seasons based on the ability of the re- Hunting nourishes families, culture Implementing a wildlife management plan scarce and fish and wildlife provide an im-source to support harvest. Before open- more than two decades ago has paid off for portant source of nutrition to tribal mem-ing an area to hunting, many tribes share the Makah Tribe in the form of a comprehen- bers. The tribe’s treaty rights and co-man-their regulations with the state Department sive database that protects the tribe’s trea- agement responsibilities play an importantof Fish and Wildlife for review and com- ty-reserved wildlife resources. Deer, elk and role in the health of the tribe and the wildlifement. Tribes also share their harvest data other wildlife always have been important resources in western Washington.with the agency. to the tribe as a source of food and cultural When Quileute tribal member Tony Fos- Each tribe maintains an enforcement items such as traditional regalia. ter thinks of the treaty hunting right, he con-program to ensure compliance with tribal “It was especially important to manage siders the importance of wildlife in cultur- the elk resource,” said Gary Ray, a Makah al ceremonies and helping youth learn theregulations. Tribal hunters are licensed by tribal member and longtime participant on ways of the ancestors. Foster is also directortheir tribes and must obtain tags for game the tribe’s hunting committee. “There are of Quileute Natural Resources Law Enforce-animals they wish to hunt. Tribal members both tribal and non-tribal efforts off the res- ment and a member of tribal council.found in violation of tribal hunting regu- ervation, so the data we provide is important “When my kids and I go hunting, we sharelations must appear in tribal court. Penal- to managing the hunting effort. We haven’t with our families and extended families. Itties can include fines and loss of hunting had a cow harvest for a number of years, gives them traditional food,” Foster said.privileges. for instance, based on our inventory of the “We utilize these foods for our ceremonies In most cases, tribal hunting regulations herds. As the inventory improves, we can and potlatches.address the same harvest and safety con- look at the possibility of changing that reg- The tribe offers a hunter safety course forcerns as state rules, such as prohibiting the ulation, but it’s all based on the reliable re- young people so they can learn about thecarrying of loaded firearms in vehicles. search.” treaty right, the rules and regulations and Ray is gratified to see his nephew, Jeremi- how to take care of their animal, he said.Many tribes also conduct hunter education ah Johnson, working as a technician for the “When they bring that first animal home,programs aimed at teaching tribal youth Makah Wildlife Division management team. they can have pride in their success. Theysafe hunting practices and the cultural im- “The staff there are doing groundbreaking are contributing to their family and thatportance of wildlife to the tribe. work. We can co-manage with the state be- builds confidence and self-esteem,” Foster cause we’re on top of the resources in our said. “There is a misconception about tribal traditional hunting grounds,” Ray said. hunters being able to hunt everything all the Those traditional hunting grounds include time and harvest as many as we want. I take thousands of acres of forestlands lying out- time to let people know our regulations – side the tribe’s remote reservation on Neah that we are managing wildlife for our grand- Bay, where employment opportunities are children and their children.”10 NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  13. 13. Shellfish M anagement Shellfish have been a mainstay of westernWashington Indian tribes for thousandsof years and remain important today foreconomic, subsistence and ceremonialpurposes. As co-managers of the shellfish re-source, each treaty Indian tribe main-tains a shellfish program and manages itsshellfish harvest cooperatively with othertribes and the state through resource-shar-ing agreements. Tribal shellfish enhancement results inhigher and more consistent harvest levelsand benefits both tribal and non-Indiandiggers. Tribes also conduct research onunderutilized species, such as Olympiaoysters and sea urchins, to develop bettermanagement systems and an understandingof the marine ecosystem. Tribes have two distinct types of shell-fish harvest – commercial and ceremoni-al/subsistence. Shellfish harvested duringa commercial fishery are sold to licensedshellfish buyers who either sell directly tothe public or to other distributors. Alongwith state co-managers, tribes closelymonitor beaches to make sure harvested Kari Neumeyer (2)shellfish are safe to eat. Treaty tribes in western Washingtoncommercially harvest manila, native little-neck and geoduck clams, oysters, crab andshrimp throughout Washington coastal ar- Upper Skagit natural resources technician Tim Shelton harvestseas and Puget Sound. oysters in Samish Bay. Ceremonial and subsistence harvests ofshellfish, which have a central role in tribalgatherings and daily nutrition, are for trib- Shellfish program provides food, jobsal use only. The Upper Skagit Tribe is cultivating shell- of the shell. The result is a smoother shell, fish beds in Samish Bay to meet ceremonial deeper cup and more consistent shape of needs, with the intention of expanding even- the oyster. tually into a multi-faceted shellfish grow- “We’re experimenting with the flip bags ing operation that will provide jobs for trib- and hope to branch out to grow other spe- al members. cies, like geoducks,” Schuyler said. “I’m “We want to develop these beaches to proud of how much progress we’ve made provide resources and jobs for tribal mem- with the site.” bers,” said Scott Schuyler, Upper Skagit’s Oysters and clams from the tribe’s beds natural resources director. “Our goal is to were served at the 2011 Upper Skagit Bless- have a self-sustaining operation within the ing of the Fleet. Future plans include devel- next five to 10 years.” oping a site near Larrabee State Park near Tribal natural resources staffers plant- the border between Skagit and Whatcom ed 20 acres with Pacific oysters and ma- counties. nila clams. The oysters are grown two ways: Shellfish harvest in Samish Bay frequently on long lines and in flip bags. Long lines are is closed because of potential fecal coliform the more traditional way of growing oysters pollution from stormwater runoff and near- commercially. Oysters grow in large clusters by farms. on seeded “mother” shells strung between “Shellfish closures caused by water pol- posts in the tidelands. Flip bags are a new- lution violate our treaty right to gather shell- er technology that produces a higher-value fish,” Schuyler said. “These continual clo- oyster. Seeds are placed in bags that tumble sures are an issue that needs to be seriously with the tides, breaking off the rough edges addressed at all levels of government.” Spot prawns are one of several species of shellfish important to traditional tribal diets. NWIFC Annual Report 2012 11
  14. 14. “We, the Indians of the Pacific The Northwest Indian Fisheries Com- ployees and is headquartered in Olym-Northwest, recognize that our fisheries mission was created in 1974 by the 20 trea- pia, Wash., with satellite offices in Forks,are a basic and important natural ty Indian tribes in western Washington that Kingston and Mount Vernon.resource and of vital concern to the were parties to the U.S. v. Washington lit- The NWIFC provides broad policy co-Indians of this state, and that the igation that affirmed their treaty-reserved ordination as well as high-quality tech-conservation of this natural resource salmon harvest rights and established the nical and support services for its mem-is dependent upon effective and tribes as natural resources co-managers ber tribes in their efforts to co-manage theprogressive management. We further with the state. natural resources of western Washington.believe that by unity of action, we can The NWIFC is an inter-tribal organiza- The NWIFC serves as a clearinghouse forbest accomplish these things, not tion that assists member tribes with their information on natural resources manage-only for the benefit of our own people, natural resources co-management respon- ment issues important to member tribes.but for all of the people of the Pacific sibilities. Member tribes select commis- The commission also acts as a forum forNorthwest.” sioners who develop policy and provide tribes to address issues of shared concern, – Preamble to the direction for the organization. The com- and enables the tribes to speak with a uni- NWIFC Constitution mission employs about 70 full-time em- fied voice.NWIFC ActivitiesFisheries Management Quantitative Services Enhancement Services ♦ Long-range planning, wild ♦ Administering and coordinating ♦ Coordinating coded-wire tagging salmon recovery efforts and the Treaty Indian Catch Monitoring of more than 4 million fish at tribal federal Endangered Species Act Program. hatcheries to provide information implementation. ♦ Providing statistical consulting critical to fisheries management. ♦ Annual fisheries planning: services. ♦ Analyzing coded-wire data. developing pre-season agreements; ♦ Conducting data analysis of fisheries ♦ Providing genetic, ecological and pre- and in-season run size forecasts; studies and developing study designs. statistical consulting for tribal monitoring; and post-season fishery ♦ Updating and evaluating fishery hatchery programs. analysis and reporting. management statistical models and ♦ Providing fish health services to ♦ Marine fish management planning. databases. tribal hatcheries in the areas of ♦ Shellfish management planning. juvenile fish health monitoring, disease diagnosis, adult health inspection and vaccine production.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- ♦ Providing internal and external federal, state and local governments, agency meetings, developing issue communication services to member and other interested parties. papers and negotiation options. tribes and NWIFC. ♦ Coordinating, representing and ♦ Informing tribes and policy ♦ Developing and distributing monitoring tribal interests in the representatives on issues affected by communication products such as Timber/Fish/Wildlife Forests and the treaty implementation process. news releases, newsletters, videos, Fish Report process, Coordinated ♦ Serving on the pink, chum, coho, photos and web-based content. Tribal Water Resources and Ambient chinook, Fraser sockeye and data- ♦ Responding to public requests for Monitoring programs, analyzing and sharing technical committees, as well information about the tribes and their distributing technical information on as other work groups and panels. tribal natural resources management habitat-related forums, programs and ♦ Coordinating tribal research and activities. processes. data-gathering activities associated ♦ Working with state agencies, ♦ Implementing the Salmon and with implementation of the Pacific environmental organizations and Steelhead Habitat Inventory and Salmon Committee. others in cooperative communication Assessment Project. efforts. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission 6730 Martin Way E. Olympia, WA 98516 (360) 438-1180 nwifc.org12 NWIFC Annual Report 2012
  15. 15. Northwest IndianFisheries Commission6730 Martin Way E.Olympia, WA 98516(360) 438-1180nwifc.org

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