Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > It's only money, right? (Seattle Times 03/11/24)
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altasnob
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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 12:00 pm 
treeswarper wrote:
But I have a feeling this has turned into a Look How Much We Are Spending To Restore Salmon, Aren't We Good mission
The very liberal WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson took this case all the way to the US Supreme Court trying to avoid having to pay for these culverts, and lost. WA did everything they could to try to skirt having to pay for this. We should blame those pesky Indian tribes.

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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 12:09 pm 
^ The tribes have better lawyers.

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altasnob
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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 12:14 pm 
Ski wrote:
^ The tribes have better lawyers.
WA State was represented by Noah G. Purcell, who is as close to a rock star attorney as you get in WA (born in WA, UW grad, and editor of Harvard Law Review; not many in WA can claim that). He's likely going to be our next AG, and probably governor after that.

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altasnob
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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 12:20 pm 
There's some answers to my questions in the 9th Circuit opinion:
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When the priority index is calculated, it treats those other (non-state owned) barriers as transparent. The reason we do that, we don’t know when those other barriers are being corrected. So by treating them as transparent, you do a priority index that looks at potential habitat gain as if all those barriers would be corrected at some point in time.
Also, 90% of non-state owned barriers are up stream of the state barriers. So in the vast majority of cases, fixing the state owned culvert will solve all issues downstream to the ocean. Further, in a situation where there is a non state owned downstream barrier, there is at least partial stream flow in 69% of those non state owned barriers.

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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 12:35 pm 
altasnob wrote:
Just because something is not a fish stream, today, does not mean it won't become a fish stream down the road. With all the development in the Puget Sound, and increase in impermeable surfaces, these little trickles will soon be gushing torrents.
The area will be under water from sea level rise long before this could ever be a salmon stream. Half a mile away I've been involved in a study for the past 8 years to open up a coastal lagoon that's been behind an impoundment and a tide gate since 1904. We've had the County involved and the study funding was provided by the Conservation District and the DOE. The tribes aren't interested in spending any money on this so we can't get any further funding. This would genuinely benefit salmon.

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treeswarper
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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 2:28 pm 
altasnob wrote:
]The very liberal WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson took this case all the way to the US Supreme Court trying to avoid having to pay for these culverts, and lost. WA did everything they could to try to skirt having to pay for this. We should blame those pesky Indian tribes.
quote="Ski"]^ The tribes have better lawyers.[/quote] I am all for salmon recovery IF it is somewhere it will actually be successful. The examples mentioned in the article do nothing but solidify the attitudes of folks who are against any recovery work. If I were in charge of the world, I'd shut down all salmon fishing, including tribal fishing, until the runs improved. How do I say this??? Sometimes, projects are located in places that are easy to get to rather than the location being the most needy. Like you'll find road decommissioning projects become less frequent the farther away they are from "the office" or town. I'm thinking of those in the Randle area. Like Ski's example, there were also class 4 streams that we could not find in the Cispus Valley. They were not verified on the ground prior to mapping. Can't remember if we had to buffer them anyway. Sometimes there are egos to deal with, or people will say they are too busy to go out and verify what the map says. Everything is not science based.

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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 6:34 pm 
Benson creek borders my property in Verlot, it is designated as a fish stream, a F&G worker walks it in the spring and sometimes they mark what they think are redds. When I bought the place about 12 years ago there were small smolts in the creek and the occasional salmon, smaller species maybe pink or sockeye. I haven't seen a fish in the creek for nearly 10 years and it is frequently bone dry now from July-Sept. My property is designated as recreational and I can't build a permitted living structure because of the close proximity to the creek. Not sure if that can or ever will be changed due to there no longer is any fish activity.

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PostTue Mar 12, 2024 8:07 pm 
The State’s attorney was impaired by facts, The WADOT has long claimed they were removing obstructions to salmon movement in streams. We don’t need the Courts interfering with the engineers. The problem was there was finally a comprehensive culvert survey done to a generally accepted method. A baseline was created. So in court WADOT had to testify that they were replacing culverts at a something like a one or two percent per biennium. It’s common that streams continue to down cut below outfall, and so that a passable culvert can become impassable at a later date. So the Tribes’ attorney asked WADOT how much progress had been made on reducing the backlog over the many years the case took from filing to end of appeals. The answer was more culverts became impaired in those years than were fixed. The WADOT witness of course was asked what year based on that evidence he expected the backlog to be eliminated. There was no answer based on the facts. I don’t know what the Court would have done if access to 5% or 10% net of the blocked habitat was being restored per biennium. It wasn’t even keeping even. The State really gave the Court no choice.

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Anne Elk
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PostThu Mar 14, 2024 1:29 pm 
The politics of salmon habitat restoration in Puget Sound is going to do what it has to do for optics sake, no matter how asinine and expensive. I'm more pessimistic than most: I put salmon recovery in the same statistical bin of improbabilities as reversing climate change. Mainly because the numbers needed to achieve reasonable survival of the species (like the bald eagle coming back from the brink) isn't going to happen. Too much of human behavior would have to change. I'm not saying don't do anything, but when I keep seeing reports of even orcas being visibly underweight b/c they can't find enough food, well, do the math for what "acceptable" numbers of salmon populations would have to be for a meaningful, sustainable recovery. To reiterate:
treeswarper wrote:
If I were in charge of the world, I'd shut down all salmon fishing, including tribal fishing, until the runs improved.
We're incapable of doing even that. The first thing that would happen is everyone with skin in the game will cry about the monetary implications to their personal interests. Then there are all the other related issues. I figure we're on the same drought trajectory as California, but most aren't paying attention to the early "signals" because, comparatively speaking, we have lots of water; at least right now. Sorta. Consider: - Our snowpack has become unreliable. Even when it reaches normal levels in winter, spring/summer conditions often cause it to melt too rapidly. People are so glad it's going to hit 70F this weekend. Me, not so much. Too early in the year. - Seattle Public Utilities has already asked customers once this year to voluntarily conserve water b/c our reservoirs were too low for late winter. A big red flag in my book. - The population of Seattle alone is projected to hit 1M by 2044. That's a lot of extra water consumption and hydro demand. - Remember the huge BC salmon die-offs just a few years ago? Probably will be coming to streams near us, more frequently. Then all the culvert rehab won't matter, even if there is enough water. The water will be too hot for fish. I don't think the small incremental improvements of habitat restoration "backpaddling" will amount to much over the next 50 years. I'd love to be proven wrong. Humans just don't have that much control over the big picture, and even if they did, the way humans behave collectively (on almost everything) argues against it. Sorry. (I'm not even having a bad day.) tongue.gif

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PostThu Mar 14, 2024 2:10 pm 
treeswarper wrote:
If I were in charge of the world, I'd shut down all salmon fishing, including tribal fishing, until the runs improved.
THAT would not fix the problem. I've had this conversation many times with both John Meyer (now retired) and Sam Brenkman (current) - fisheries biologists up at ONP. (and several others.) It's a complex problem, and just as in forest management, there are no simplistic solutions. Putting a halt to all harvest doesn't fix: - hydroelectric dams that block passage for anadromous species (you of all people have seen what this did to the Cowlitz, formerly one of the most productive salmon streams on the planet.) - dikes, dams, and levees and other "bank armoring" that's decimated habitat - commercial and residential run-off of toxins - ocean temperatures - overharvest of small foodfish species from the northern Pacific - too much crap in the water (nets/ropes/junk) that has a downstream effect on aquatic species - the list goes on and on and on...

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostThu Mar 14, 2024 2:20 pm 
@Anne Elk - your comments lean more toward "realism" than "curmudgeon". wink.gif @Chief Joseph - Interesting point. What happens to owners of parcels of land that have tiny streams on them that dry up due to climate change due to not enough snowpack/rainfall to keep them running year round (if at all?) Does that lower their property taxes? Does that change the local zoning and building codes? That goes into a whole new can of worms there. dizzy.gif

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Anne Elk
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PostThu Mar 14, 2024 11:59 pm 
Ski wrote:
THAT would not fix the problem. ...It's a complex problem, and just as in forest management, there are no simplistic solutions. ... the list goes on and on and on...
Yep. I wasn't suggesting that a total fishing moratorium would fix the problem. But my brain is just too simple to understand: does it really make sense to keep removing stock of a species so close to extinction? Don't even get me started on " overharvest of small foodfish species from the northern Pacific ". When I was working with NOAA in the Antarctic in the late 80's/early 90's, there was a fair amt of fishing going on down there; even from improbable countries like Poland. The ones that really bothered me were from an Asian country I won't name. They were fishing for krill. I was told a good portion of that catch was used for fertilizer. Krill is the base of the whole food chain down there. But I digress. I just shake my head at our modern ham-handed preservation efforts in the light of history. For perspective: according to this page from the Oregon History Project,
Quote:
Concerns that the Columbia's salmon runs were being overfished began to surface in the late 1870s. By 1894, it was evident that many stocks were disappearing.
By that metric, I figure we were probably at the tipping point around 1950 or so. According to the article, the advent of salmon canning had a lot to do with accelerating the decline. We pigged out big time.
[i:a1542d6e19]Salmon catch on floor of unidentified cannery, Pacific Coast, probably between 1890 and 1940[/i:a1542d6e19]; UW Digital Archives
Salmon catch on floor of unidentified cannery, Pacific Coast, probably between 1890 and 1940; UW Digital Archives

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treeswarper
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PostFri Mar 15, 2024 8:05 am 
"They" did outlaw fish wheels after figuring out those might could be a problem. OK, so instead of concentrating on culverts, why not design fish ladders/detours around dams? That way, salmon could access the habitat that isn't so degraded and has actually had some projects on it. I'd volunteer the Cowlitz as a start and after learning on that, hit Chief Joeseph (on the Columbia) and eventually the big plug, Grand Coulee. We have the Snake River also. Wouldn't a very expensive system of fish ladders or detours be a win win, except for the cost, with everybody? Think of it as a huge river restoration that won't wipe out hydropower, barging and irrigation. We're going to throw mass quantities of money at this, why not do something that's likely to help? A "moon shot". Meanwhile, I see where we are now encouraged to fish for, and eat more Walleye.

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PostFri Mar 15, 2024 10:46 am 
^ or farm-raised Tilapia, which I understand is now a big seller in western Europe for those who cannot afford the price of the farm-raised Norwegian salmon. Yes, fish ladders would be an enormous help, but that would have to go through the U.S. Congress, Senate, USFWS, DNR, EPA, DOE, all the Oregon State agencies, and all the involved tribes first. I'm not sure the planet will still be around by the time you get all those parties to even agree on seating arrangements. or... alternatively... we could just push the magic button...

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Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > It's only money, right? (Seattle Times 03/11/24)
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