So how did the meeting on Willapa go? Everywhere from good to bad just depends on your point of view. It did not take long to see that most attending had not done their basic research on the AHA model to be sure. In fact it was pretty much a dog & pony show for much of the meeting but ( you knew that was coming didn't you ) it was not due to staff but rather the public both commercial and recs. In fact Mr. Theisfeld actually asked how many had reviewed the model and few hands went up. For a meeting that was to help folks understand the AHA model one would think, well something.

Keeping in mind this is Chinook only. It is clear staff have been working rather hard with AHA and are finding it difficult, unforgiving, and cumbersome. It is slow going to be sure. Staff is still slogging out options but none are really based on reality just the so called aspirational objectives.

In the process of putting options up ( the few that did go up on the wall ) I picked up that the math did not make sense. Make Willapa primary which only allows for 20% hatchery influence ( pHOS ) of spawners on the gravel you get the production level of about 300k at Forks Creek hatchery. Switch to Naselle as primary and 30% pHOS for Willapa as a contributing stock with Forks Creek producing 1.3 million and it still meets HSRG pHOS standards on staying. Now on average 20% of the adults returning to Forks Creek stray all over the Willapa Basin and you have math that does not work. It took a bit but staff figured it out.

In the AHA model has Forks Creek Chinook as a segregated stock. Now segregated stocks do not have the same requirements in HSRG as they are not able to spawn with the natural spawners. It can be timing such as Summerrun & Winter Steelhead on the coast or a weir that stops the hatchery allowing for removal and passes natural spawners up. Neither of these apply to Forks Creek Chinook so it begs the question just what on earth are they doing? To compound it further HSRG requires a certain percentage of natural origin spawners ( pNOS ) be incorporated into the hatchery fish spawned and that does not happen at Forks Creek. ( and is not likely to be achievable ) So as one person said then it cannot be integrated either so just what should Forks Creek Chinook be modeled as? The answer is a bit of a bear but it is simple. To meet HSRG standards Forks Creek should not be producing Chinook except in small numbers. Already some are claiming somebody is trying to trick the model to allow Chinook production that should not be allowed. I do not know but I am sure of one thing this issue could get ugly as faith in WDF&W's modeling is so poor that nobody trust them. Both the Grays Harbor & Willapa harvest models have performed so dismally trust is low to nonexistent.

So my last thoughts are about the Willapa harvest model. When this came up it resulted in a rather pointed exchange between myself and two of the Willapa Advisers. ( both who I have great respect for ) The issue was just how bad the harvest model performed. Those helping me have said it ranged from 40 to 50 percent of the Naselle Chinook while modeled at 30%. No said one it is 36%. So who is correct? Both of us or neither as it is about how you are doing the math. If your simply doing 1+1=2 math then the error could be 36%. Now the other shoe drops and if you back up to the premise utilized since 2010 that a 30% harvest rate on Naselle Chinook will stabilize and slowly recover Willapa Estuary Chinook populations it is the higher numbers. Since the implementation of the current draft plan Willapa Chinook stocks have crashed. In fact the graft line for returning natural spawners goes down at about a 45 degree angle and it should up not down.

Now this does not happen in the math of 1+1=2 but rather in the assumptions built into the model. So what is a assumption? It is things like the C&R mortality for Recs, the mortality of selective fishing with a gill net, or the drop off / Pinniped take. In fact in a document obtained in a Public Document Request one WDF&W staffer noted that the seals got a fish out of the net for every one landed in the gillnet boat. So the simple fact is the math can be 100% correct or 100% wrong depending on the assumptions built into the model. Another way to say it is garbage in garbage out.

So we all move on to the next Commission meeting and wait until WDF&W's staff get something that one can do a complete review off.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in