Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
With so many questions on the Wynoochee Mitigation and the dry weather I put this together to get everything grouped up. I have some double ups on previous post but this gets things gathered up in one post. Hopefully it helps.
I have had a lot of questions on a couple of issues. First up is the recent Wynoochee Mitigation package agreed to by WDF&W and the Quinault Nation. I know my first reaction was " what the -----" also some really strange things are in this press release. So by the numbers from the press release:
The most recent licensing agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 1991 required mitigation for damage to fish populations as result of the Wynoochee Dam, owned by the city of Aberdeen. A new hatchery was planned but not constructed, due to site location difficulties.
This is a bit misleading as it was a 100% screw up by WDF&W that resulted in the hatchery not being built. Difficulties? How about and all out effort by many inside WDF&W to prevent it is more the truth. A long time advocate (who is my neighbor) has been on this since the day the dam was built and has a room full of documents so I am certain he will not go for WDF&W being, ah... less than truthful.
For those of you that question the concept that Aberdeen Lake Hatchery can pull off the additional Steelhead and Coho numbers, I do not know, I have asked but no response. So here is the quick down and dirty layout of the land I did up for folks from memory.
Well a number of questions raised are good but this is the simple fact. Aberdeen Lake Hatchery is pretty much maxed out as to space. To get 60K more Winter Steelhead and 100k Coho to net pens you would have to get rid of something and the only something available is the Rainbow Trout and Summerrun Steelhead. Do that and you have room.
Lake Aberdeen Net Pens performed poorly in the past predators from birds to Otter just plain everything including storms breaking them loose to hang up on the bottom. The staff was as good as it gets but it was a mission impossible. If they do net pens in the dam's lake substantial difficulties exist with cold water retarding growth and location.
Then this, the Coho reared at the facility are really vulnerable to Columnaris. Aberdeen Lake Hatchery is just not a Coho facility and over the years the Pathologist has fought this fight over and over. If they rear them at say Bingham one would be lucky to get back 50% of the adults to the Wynoochee as Coho imprint on the rearing home water source at the front of their life cycle not the final freshwater time as Steelhead do. Net pens in the dam lake would help but only help get some of the returning adults to the Wynoochee.
So until Region 6 decides to be forthright and define just what they are going to do everything is conjecture. Except this, the numbers put forth in the press release and Larry Philips do not fit in the current Aberdeen Lake Hatchery facilities capabilities unless you move something out.
I know some are hyperventilating over the very thought of losing the Summerrun program but let us wait to see and then fight that fight. That said with all the factual errors and conflicting information in the press release and from Larry Philips I and many others are watching this issue.
Dry Conditions Low Flows:
The dry conditions have some concerned that WDF&W will go off the deep end like the Spring Chinook Closure. I would certainly hope not but again I cannot fathom how they come up with some of this stuff. So here is a bit I did up for folks on low water conditions and what they mean.
The low flows can and will have a dramatic effect on the juvenile rearing areas for trout, Steelhead and Coho. This is normal as the conditions be it a wet year or dry year do have a substantial effect on juvenile survival to smolt. As to returning salmon adults, not much. The Chehalis tidal reach is nearly 20 miles long and the adults will simply stage up in those areas and slowly work their way upstream but most will hold simply waiting for rain. If we do not have substantial rainfall by the 3rd week of November then things get a little dicey for Chinook as they tend to spawn lower down the river making the redds subject to scouring.
So it works like this. If you fish South Monte down you do not want it to rain before October 15th and ideally first week of November. South Elma down you want a good rain bump (no brown out) which moves the fishes staging areas up stream to that reach of the river. If you are tributary fisher the sooner it the rains produce a brown out the better you are as all the fish move upstream all at once to the tributaries.
The fish react to the flows always but they do not spawn until November so water conditions simply move them upstream to stage up. You can have the Satsop full of fish to a couple of miles above Schafer Park and nothing at Bingham Hatchery four miles further upstream until serous rains arrive. Last year the rains were early and as luck would have it in the two week conservation shut down for fishing a huge portion of the run went right through the tidal water to over twenty miles upstream. Great for East Grays Harbor fishers not so for tidal fishers. It is all about when and how much it rains as who gets the bonanza. Mother Nature is fickle!
Our Walk Down Memory Lane:
Finally I, with the much needed help of others, did a paper on decisions within the Chehalis Basin by WDF&W and how they affect us today. (I attached it again to this email) Many have asked is that all and nope is the answer. So we will do HOW THE PROCESS USED BY WDFW TO SET ANGLER SEASONS AND MANAGE FISHERIES FAILS THE PUBLIC AND THE RESOURCE VOLUME 2 . I for one think this is important because if the old geezers like me in every watershed in the state were taking their neighbors on a look back in time at WDF&W decisions all would be a little.....horrified comes to mind. I will try to get this done in November after fishing season folks, one has to have priorities!
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in