Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
So just how did the January 17th Willapa Management Plan (WMP) public meeting go? About the same as past meetings I think. Not much change really but I must admit in some respects staff did much better or worse depending on your view. So some bullets.
It was much better and the information supplied was well organized. Mr. Theisfeld has gotten a much better feel for the issues than when he assumed the Region 6 (R-6) job so a A+ here. In working the AHA and the math with it staff has put a huge effort in and continues to do so, A+ again. Also two of the senior R-6 hatchery employees were present to answer question and this is a real improvement, A+ again. So these things are good.
Now the bad. The meeting had little public notification other than what was posted on the Commission's Willapa webpage. No press release no nothing other than a e mail from Mr. Theisfeld that I and others circulated very late in the game. A big fat F here, not good.
Then this thing they called aspirational goals. Wish list is a better term and none of them are based upon reality. Why aspirational goals? Got me as they come from the very first public forum that was poorly attended that had a survey taken. The survey was not properly explained or even remotely presented in a way that a citizen would have any idea of just how staff intended to use the survey. Additionally staff continues to utilize it as a base for the AHA model output which means simply they are not using the AHA model to define the parameters to comply with HSRG but to show what aspirational goals could / should / would require as to production. As one gentleman told me "show me how many fish I can kill" Big F again.
Now the AHA model runs. This where it gets way past strange! Rather than blather on lets go right to the most glaring item. With hatchery production you can have either a integrated stock or segregated stock. A hatchery integrated stock is one that the hatchery stock is identical to the natural run and you incorporate natural stock into the hatchery spawn at a designated percentage and limit staying. A segregated hatchery stock is one that is completely and totally isolated from the natural production be it by the natural processes ( run timing ect ) and genetics. It can be segregated by other means such as a weir that guarantees no straying. This allows for a rather substantial flexibility for hatchery production. Now Forks Creek hatchery on the Willapa is many miles upstream and while it has a weir on average 20% of the returning adult hatchery Chinook after harvest fail to return to Forks Creek and spawn in the Willapa Basin naturally. This results in a somewhere around 3.5 to 1 hatchery origin spawners (HOS) over the natural spawners (NOS) in the gravel. That is a no go with HSRG.
So how did staff solve the problem? In several AHA option runs you see Willapa River Chinook as a segregated stock! Now the Willapa Chinook is the integrated stock from hell. There absolutely ZERO difference genetically or any other standard between the hatchery production or natural run. Zero! They did the same for another option with the Naselle Chinook calling it segregated and again it is not as it is a fully integrated stock. The Naselle does have a weir but it is pulled at or around October 15th depending on flows. Additionally it fails in high water events, not floods just a normal high water event, so segregated is a no go with HSRG.
So the question is just why is staff doing things? Well as one can imagine opinions are pretty much all over the map! So my opinion and I stress this is MY OPINION. Staff is trying to show folks with the AHA model what it would take to achieve the wish list aspirational goals for harvest. They are not saying they can or will be able to achieve those goals but what it would require. Staff have provided mountains of information in the WMP process as to HSRG and parameters / requirements needed. Again this is my opinion, I think the intent is that folks are supposed to utilize the HSRG information to interpret what is or not possible. Not good, BIG fat F again.
The final item is which stream is to be primary for Chinook Willapa or Naselle? This issue has pluses or minus' depending on your view. The primary has stricter HSRG requirements on staying and the mix of NOS plus HOS so it is important. At this time it not clear as to which is the most advantageous to designate. I am sure a lot of conversation will continue on this issue.
So there are my thoughts of my minutes for the 1/17/15 WMP public meeting.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in