Sorry about not keeping all up to date but it is fishing time. So what have I seen on the river? Well both Coho and Chinook are coming right through the bay and upstream bright silver, scales not set but no sea lice. So best I can tell is they are simply slowly going upstream and not staging in tide water. Chinook appear to be late and not sure about that at all so as in all years it rains early things are weird in fish world. Early rain upstream benefits and tidal fisheries suffer is the rule.

To the question of the new Region 6 Fish Program Director James Losee and his style, no idea. We must remember that in the recent past Grays Harbor and Willapa harvest responsibility were put under a policy staffer. So Mr. Losee interaction with the South Coast areas may or may not change as that is a internal WDF&W decision. He seems to be a descent enough guy but then most staffers are. All will have to wait to see just what his philosophy on management is and if his areas of authority will include the South Coast.

Now about questions on Wynoochee Mitigation. This issue is a bear for me. Having literally set through meetings that number in the hundred of hours I have concerns. The recent proposal by WDFW and flies in the face of former staff positions and what the requirements are for the mitigation. It proposes utilizing Wynoochee Mitigation funds to rear fish at Bingham on the Satsop which for over 25 years was a no go. Several fish health issues exist also at Aberdeen Lake with the proposal which were discussed in detail many times in the past.

So for my part I will help put together documents that the local communities can use to insure past actions are not lost in time. To that end I will post a Public Records Request for fish health records and a letter outlining some of my concerns to the Director and Commission.

October 1, 20019

Director Susewind and Commissioners,

On September 30, 2019 I submitted a Public Records Request to WDFW ( attached ) for fish health documents for Aberdeen Lake Hatchery. I attempted to keep the scope as narrow as possible to limit the burden on staff. That said the need for the request is driven by the recent proposal by Region 6 staff for Wynoochee Mitigation Funds. Several elements of the proposal are troubling and simply ignore previous agency thoughts and actions. It is possible to develop a proposal that meets or exceeds Wynoochee Mitigation needs utilizing Aberdeen Lake Hatchery and other Grays Harbor Hatchery Complex assets but the recent proposal does not meet that standard. The following thoughts briefly touch on some concerns for the proposal outlined September 24th.

The use of net pens in Aberdeen Lake in the past was rejected by staff as they described the lake as a cesspool for fish, in particular Coho. That issues from predation to storm damage made net pens in Aberdeen Lake unworkable. Water temperatures were of particular concern as anything over 69 degrees resulted in disease outbreaks.

The current proposal relies upon the pipeline for direct Wynoochee water to overcome these concerns but it has limitations. First it must be shut down and the hatchery utilize lake water in winter periods of siltation in the Wynoochee River. Additionally in summer months the pipe line cannot supply the hatchery enough water for the entire facility first use water requiring reuse of water for nearly half the raceways. To further complicate matters in summer months Wynoochee water utilized regularly exceeds 70 degrees which is the temperature that the disease Columnaris becomes a major issue for Coho. At the meeting on Sept 24th staff identified an eggtake of 250k would be needed to produce the 100k Coho smolt which is overage of 150% just to overcome the fish health issues.

The use of Wynoochee Mitigation funds to rear fish in the Satsop is simply unacceptable. Couple this within the past WDFW utilized Skookumchuck Mitigation funds to build rearing vessels at Bingham Hatchery ( then Simpson Hatchery ) that were seldom used and simply utilized the Mitigation funds to pay for a portion of the existing Simpson Coho production. This violation of the Skookumchuck Mitigation Agreement ceased only after citizen's threatened legal action. That issue was solved by a public / agency partnership that still exist today to release the smolt above the Chehalis Tribal Reservation as required by the Skookumchuck Mitigation Agreement. I see no reason to doubt that if allowed to use Wynoochee Mitigation Funds at Bingham to rear Coho that the agency would then reduce or eliminate current Coho production and simply subsidize Bingham Hatchery Coho production with Wynoochee Mitigation Funds.

My lack of faith in the recent proposal is further reinforced by statements by Mr. Warren to the press. In an article in the local news paper he is quoted "Despite some obstacles along the way, the state and tribe have worked collaboratively over the years to find a path forward for fish in the Wynoochee Basin." In an effort to be polite I must say this is a gross misrepresentation of the facts at a minimum. Until around 1993 WDFW blamed the failure to perform on Tacoma City Light but that ended when in a meeting Tacoma City Light confronted agency staff resulting WDFW staff admitting Tacoma City Light had nothing to do with the failure to perform. From that point forward the agency position was the Quinault Nation was the impediment and four different times a proposal was developed by local citizens and WDFW to be presented to the Quinault Nation but staff never advanced the efforts forward.

The Nations position has always stayed consistent that the hatchery agreed to previously was to be built at the Wynoochee Dam must be built. Again the failure build the hatchery resides with WDFW staff and records are available to confirm this if you feel the need for the documents.

In closing the purpose of the PRR is to seek documents that I, working with others, will add to a record for the public to use in the future. To be blunt we are up there in years and frankly likely do not have that much time left on this planet. It is our intention that the citizens of the Chehalis Basin have access to the information as I have little doubt that WDFW will not meet its obligations. I am reminded of an issue agency staff had previously agreed to a solution. When I asked why staff had went back on their word the response was simple, "circumstances have changed" and I have little doubt that in the future staff will likely feel circumstances have changed, again. That response was not acceptable then and is not now, the Wynoochee Mitigation needs to be done properly.

September 30, 2019

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
WDFW Public Records Officer
PO Box 43200 MS#4136
Olympia WA 98504-3200

This is a request for public records request ( PRR ) is for records regarding Aberdeen Lake Hatchery. In the operation of the hatchery WDFW Fish Health Pathologist regularly visits the hatchery to determine the health of the fish reared at the facility. The Pathologist results and comments are detailed on a form that is commonly called a Path Report. This Public Records Request is for all Pathologist reports for Aberdeen Lake Hatchery from year 2010 to the present date of September 30, 2019.

Additionally it is common for the Pathologist to take tissue and other samples that transported to the WDFW Fish Heath laboratory for testing. These results are recorded and results transmitted to hatchery staff. This request is for all laboratory test results for Aberdeen Lake Hatchery from year 2010 to September 30, 2019.

This is PRR request is very narrowly defined to limit agency staff time needed to comply. The Path reports are on file at the hatchery as are the laboratory with Fish Heath.

Edited by Rivrguy (10/02/19 08:23 AM)
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in