Orca Network News - April, 2005
the Southern Resident orcas,
orcas worldwide, and their habitats
April 1, 2005 through April 30, 2005.
April 29, 2005 (Kitsap Sun) The whales thrashed about, and the next day there was a dead octopus on the beach.
The whales were acting frantic, Rebholz recalled. Some were moving around with their heads down and their tails in the air, sometimes sideways, striking each other. The activity went on for more than an hour.
"They were fighting something," he said, but he had no idea what it might be. Or maybe they were just playing with great intensity.
"I have never seen such a show in my life," he said. "I wish I had a movie camera or something. It was fantastic. I couldn't believe it."
Eventually, the whales moved on.
The next morning, Rebholz noticed three eagles crowded together on the beach pecking at something. It turned out to be a dead octopus with tentacles nearly 6 feet long. That must have been what they were fighting or playing with the day before, he said.
The six orcas in Hood Canal, which have been in the waterway more than 13 weeks, are called "transients" because they roam widely. Transients generally eat marine mammals instead of fish, as the more familiar "resident" orcas do. This particular group has been seen frequently in Southeast Alaska. Since they've been in Hood Canal, accounts of catching and killing harbor seals have grown, as reported on an Internet mailing list called Orca Network.
Judge hears salmon, dam case today
April 27, 2005 (Idaho Statesman) Court will rule on federal plan that ruled out breaching
The future of salmon and dozens of industries tied to the Columbia and Snake rivers will be decided by a federal judge in Oregon this spring.
The Bush administration said eight federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Washington and Oregon do not jeopardize endangered salmon and steelhead. Administration lawyers argue that the dams were there when the salmon were listed as endangered.
They say high numbers of returning salmon since 2000 are enough evidence the fish aren't going to go extinct and current efforts are sufficient.
Oregon, several Indian tribes, salmon-related businesses and environmental groups say the plan does not adequately address how dams hurt salmon and steelhead. They say more needs to be done to reduce salmon mortality caused by the dams, including delayed mortality after the migration.
U.S. District Judge James Redden will address two major issues for Idaho:
• Whether the Nez Perce Agreement's commitment to provide 427,000 acre-feet of water from southern Idaho in all but the worst drought years is sufficient.
• Whether breaching four dams on the Snake River in Washington that impede salmon migration and inundate spawning habitat will remain one of the options.
The federal plan, called a biological opinion, was first approved in 2001. It said the four dams did not have to be breached because a suite of actions, from flushing water from Idaho reservoirs down the Snake to habitat improvement, harvest controls and hatchery reforms would be enough to save the fish. But it left open the possibility of breaching four dams on the Snake River in Washington if the other measures didn't work.
The Bush plan removes that possibility.
Why are we talking about just ANWR?
April 26, 2005 (USA Today Op-ed by Nick Jans) If that line about the Arctic coast becoming an "industrial park" seems an exercise in greenie-weenie hyperbole, you haven't been to Prudhoe Bay, where the oil rush began decades ago. Already, the 27 North Slope oilfields cover 1,000 square miles. They include more than 4,800 oil wells, two refineries and 28 production plants connected by 570 miles of permanent gravel roads and 1,800 miles of pipeline. And they are served by an array of airports and landing strips, the largest of which can handle commercial jetliners. There are power-generating stations, seawater-treatment plants, living quarters and maintenance and repair facilities. These huge, big-box steel buildings rise from the tundra like an endless mirage, illuminated by burning natural gas flares.
Last year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), at the direction of the Bush administration, removed all protections from Teshekpuk. Vehement opposition by bipartisan groups - including local Eskimos (who depend on Teshekpuk as an important subsistence area), the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, an array of conservation groups and pro-hunting wildlife organizations such as Ducks Unlimited - was disregarded, as were warnings of negative impact by the National Academy of Sciences. The BLM hasn't given an inch, and the march west toward Utukok's caribou calving grounds continues.
Our last great Arctic wilderness exchanged for, at best, a few more years of our gasaholic ways and a fistful of dollars is a bleak prospect. Yet perhaps, against all odds, the American people will rise up and assert their claim to what is rightfully theirs - for a start, by renewing demands that the Arctic Refuge, a refuge in the fullest sense of the word, containing the last 5% of tenuously protected coastline on the northern fringe of the continent, will remain preserved as a legacy, to offer at least a glimpse to our children of what once was.
Salmon tell us good times are over
April 24, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Op-ed by Mark Trahant, P-I Editorial page editor) Last year, the federal salmon plan said times were so good that we could ignore the impact of dams. The dams were now to be thought of as just another feature along the Columbia and Snake rivers, a permanent part of the environment. After all, the fish were doing well enough, so it wasn't even worth considering any plan that required dam removal.
As a token of those good times, the salmon plan accorded the dams an essential license to kill some 90 percent of the salmon stocks.
"We don't need a judge to tell us the federal plan is a failure -- the fish just did," says Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association.
Good enough is over. We're now back in the extinction arena because the spring chinook run has nearly disappeared from the Columbia River. Projection for the salmon count at Bonneville Dam was about 250,000 fish -- half the size of the run in 2001. As of last week, only a couple thousand fish had been counted.
Ecology and the economy go hand in hand
April 24, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Op-ed by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury) Too often in recent decades, the two big "e" words -- ecology and economy -- have been used as though they represented opposing concerns. Yes, we should be glad to do more about the environment, if only this didn't interfere with economic development and with the liberty of people and nations to create wealth in whatever ways they can.
Or, we should be glad to address environmental issues if we could be sure that we had first resolved the challenge of economic injustice within and between societies. So from both left and right there has often been a persistent sense that it isn't proper or possible to tackle both together, let alone to give a different sort of priority to ecological matters.
But this separation or opposition has come to look like a massive mistake. It has been said, "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment." The Earth itself is what ultimately controls economic activity because it is the source of the materials upon which economic activity works.
It is relatively easy to sketch the gravity of our situation; not too difficult either to say that governments should be doing more. But governments depend on electorates; electors are persons like us who need motivating. Unless there is real popular motivation, governments are much less likely to act or act effectively.
There are always quite a few excuses around for not taking action, and, without a genuine popular mandate for change, we cannot be surprised or outraged if courage fails and progress is minimal. Our own responsibility is to help change that popular motivation and so to give courage to political leaders. And this means challenging and changing some of the governing assumptions about us as human beings.
Whales pay visit to region
April 23, 2005 (The Olympian) A gray whale was spotted swimming around Totten Inlet Friday, possibly its third straight day in lower South Sound, according to Cascadia Research in Olympia.
The whale is one of about 10 gray whales frequenting the waters of Puget Sound this week, said John Calambokidis, a marine mammal researcher with Cascadia.
"We've got a lot of activity right now," he said, noting that a gray whale was first reported in Totten Inlet on Wednesday.
Two whales make splashy visit by downtown Seattle
April 23, 2005 (Seattle Times) Two gray whales visited downtown Seattle yesterday, swimming as close as 50 yards from the waterfront piers along Elliott Bay.
One of the whales cruised past the Seattle Aquarium, catching visitors' attention with a trail of bubbles and then a brief glimpse of its back breaking the surface.
The West Coast grays are northbound now on their annual migration between winter breeding grounds off Mexico and summer feeding grounds off Alaska.
At least nine grays are now in the state's inland marine waters, according to a news release from Cascadia Research, a nonprofit research institute based in Olympia. They include a half-dozen whales in the Whidbey Island area, where they gather to feed on ghost shrimp; two in southern and central Puget Sound; and one in Hood Canal.
Six grays, identified by markings on their skins, have returned annually to Whidbey since at least 1991, according to Cascadia researcher John Calambokidis.
Meanwhile, Cascadia reported yesterday that a dead gray whale found Monday on a Whidbey Island beach apparently had suffered a head injury, perhaps from a vessel.
"Because the animal was thin and results of other tests are not available, it is possible other factors were involved as a cause of death," Cascadia said.
The whale was a juvenile male about 25 feet long, probably an undersized yearling. It was the first confirmed stranding of a gray whale this year in Washington state. As many as 28 grays wash up dead on state shorelines each year, the release said.
The missing salmon
April 22, 2005 (Oregonian Editorial) The low, slow return of spring chinook salmon will change the debate over fish recovery in the Columbia Basin. On this Earth Day, the most pressing environmental question in the Northwest is whether Columbia River spring salmon are just running late, or whether tens of thousands of fish are coming back at all.
Even though salmon returns at Bonneville Dam have picked up in the past few days, the fish counts so far are bleak and disturbing. Only a few thousand fish crossed Bonneville's fish ladder by this week, one of the lowest numbers since record keeping began in 1938.
There is much riding on this run of fish, once expected to include more than 250,000 salmon. Now fisheries biologists are hoping the spring run will at least top 80,000 fish.
The commercial and sport fishermen shut down this week are already arguing that the poor returns show the large salmon runs from 2001 through 2004 were aberrations, and that the Northwest still has not done what is necessary to recover salmon.
While ocean conditions were prime and salmon were flooding back to the Northwest from 2001 to 2004, it was tempting to think all the effort, all the money, spent on salmon recovery was paying off.
Nobody claimed salmon recovery was at hand, but from President Bush on down there was an eagerness to point to the improved dam operations, the barging, the habitat improvement and say, "Look, it's working."
Today lawyers for the federal agencies, tribes, fishing groups, dam operators, electrical users and irrigators will crowd into a federal courtroom in Portland to argue about river operations and salmon protections. Soon, U.S. District Judge James Redden will decide whether to overturn, for a second time, the government's biological opinion that dam operations pose "no jeopardy" to endangered salmon.
Lawmakers OK citizens oil-spill council
April 22, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Oil companies and the state Department of Ecology lost a battle with environmentalists yesterday when the Legislature approved a permanent and independent citizen council that will advise the governor on oil-spill prevention and cleanup in Washington waters.
Petroleum lobbyists wanted either no council at all, or a less independent one that would report to the Department of Ecology rather than the governor. Ecology officials echoed the industry view until yesterday.
The bill the Legislature approved yesterday would create a 16-member Oil Spill Advisory Council reporting directly to Gov. Christine Gregoire, thus sidestepping Ecology.
Given Gregoire's recent support of the bill, Ecology policy adviser Ron Shultz reversed his earlier opposition and said, "We are supporting it."
Seattle environmentalist Fred Felleman praised Spanel for shepherding the bill, noting that her district in northern Washington contains two of the state's largest refineries -- at Cherry Point and Ferndale -- as well as the San Juan Islands, where much of the state's tanker traffic occurs.
"She's got the beauty and the beast in her district," he said.
Study Says Antarctic Glaciers Are Shrinking, Sea Levels May Climb
April 22, 2005 (Washington Post) Most of the coastal glaciers along the 1,200-mile Antarctic Peninsula have shrunk as temperatures have risen over the past 50 years, and sea levels may climb if the trend continues, according to a study published today in the journal Science.
About 212 of the 244 glaciers surrounding the peninsula, which stretches north from the southern polar continent toward South America, have retreated as temperatures have risen more than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1950s, reported the study by Alison Cook and colleagues.
In the Northwest: Environmental hearing may be deaf to dissent
April 22, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) A House committee or task force travels to the West to put on a hearing. Local opinion will be heard and members of Congress will "listen," the chairperson promises.
When the hearing day arrives, however, lawmakers take oral testimony only from a sifted, slanted list of invited witnesses.
Such a scenario is likely to be followed tomorrow. A House task force to "improve" the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is staging a post-Earth Day hearing at Washington State University's Spokane campus.
NEPA, as the law is known, requires environmental impact statements on federal actions significantly affecting the environment. It also established the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Sen. Henry Jackson, D-Wash., who headed the Senate Interior Committee, drafted the law. He worked with GOP White House domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman, later of Watergate fame.
President Nixon signed NEPA into law Jan. 1, 1970. A few days later, in his State of the Union speech, Nixon spoke words that resonate 35 years later:
"The great question of the 1970s is, shall we surrender to our surroundings or should we make our peace with nature and begin to make reparations for the damage done to our air, our land and our water?"
Bipartisanship was the rule in the early 1970s, when a Republican president and Democratic Congress put in place America's basic framework of environmental protection.
Consider, however, what House Majority Leader DeLay says about these laws, and such arms of government as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"The EPA, the Gestapo of government -- pure and simple -- has been one of the major claw-hooks that the government maintains on the backs of our constituents," the man who runs the House said in 1995.
Chinook salmon collapse alarms West Coast
April 21, 2005 (Toronto Globe and Mail) An agency that regulates the U.S. West Coast's biggest river has halted sport and commercial fishing for three kinds of fish after scientists became alarmed about a mysterious collapse in the population of salmon.
The Columbia River Compact voted this week to shut down sport fishing for salmon, steelhead trout and shad to avoid losing too many salmon that are preparing to spawn. Officials also suspended commercial fishing on selective stocks of hatchery fish.
The Columbia River and its tributaries in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana have historically been the world's largest producer of chinook, the biggest of the Pacific salmon species.
Scientists had predicted that more than 200,000 chinook salmon would return to the Bonneville Dam east of Portland. As of Tuesday, however, only 2,030 had shown up.
I'll gladly stay behind
April 21, 2005 (Seattle Times Op-ed by Brenda Peterson) A neighbor recently insisted I read the Left Behind series. "Especially now after 9/11," he said, "and the blessed countdown for the Rapture has begun."
"Why are you so ... well, cheerful, about the end of the Earth?" I asked him.
He gazed at me with the true alarm of deep pity. "I'm afraid you'll have a rough time of it here during the Tribulations -- plagues of locusts, frogs, viruses ... the Earth attacked by tsunamis, volcanoes, dark legions of the unsaved."
"Don't you love any of us you believe will suffer so?" I said.
This gave my neighbor a moment's pause. But then he admitted with some chagrin. "You can't blame us born-agains for at last getting our heavenly rewards. We've waited thousands of years for End Times."
All this might seem darkly comic, if not for a Time magazine poll that 56 percent of Americans "believe the prophecies in the Book of Revelation will come true." And that the Left Behind books are the biggest selling fictional series in the United States.
In complex and challenging times, apocalypse is such a simple answer. This fight-or-flight fear is hardwired into our reptilian, forest-slashing, migrating, pioneering species -- leave the Old World behind, find a New World. No need to really change, adapt or evolve, just find another planet or heaven to plunder for our own rewards. After all, the dark side of fundamentalism is consumerism.
The next time I saw my neighbor he sported a new bumper sticker: "This Vehicle Will Be Unmanned in Case of Rapture." It was a surprisingly sunlit Seattle day and we strolled down to our backyard beach on the Salish Sea to continue our End Times talk. We sat down on driftwood and watched the comic black-and-white tuxedo harlequins diving and popping up in the waves. A Great Blue Heron swooped in with the caw of a dinosaur bird. How could this ancient bird fly with such huge wings? How did she escape extinction? Somehow the Great Blue had adapted and survived beautifully.
"So," my neighbor asked excitedly, "what did you think of the Rapture Index?"
"Doesn't the Scripture say, 'For God so loved the world?' " I asked. "Well, I'm going to start a Real Rapture Index with signs and wonders of how beautiful and sacred this Earth is. Another mantra is: For we so love the world ... ."
My neighbor looked at me, startled, then fell very quiet as we watched a harlequin float past, his bright beak dripping a tiny fish. Happy, so happy in this moment. The Great Blue cawed hoarsely and stood on one leg in a fishing meditation. Wave after bright wave lapped our beach and the spring sunshine warmed our open faces.
I put my arm around my neighbor, the driftwood creaking slightly under our weight.
"Listen," I said softly, "I want to be left behind."
Left Behind to figure out a way to fit more humbly into this abiding Earth, this living and breathing planet we happily call home, we call holy.
Slowly my neighbor took my hand and we sat in silence, listening to waves more ancient than our young, hasty species, more forgiving than our religions, more enduring. Rapture.
Tribes seek higher toxicity standards on Columbia
April 21, 2005 (Seattle Times) The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality disagree over how to calculate toxicity standards for the Columbia River and are meeting today to try to sort out their differences.
The tribes say their greater consumption of fish should be taken into account when setting toxicity standards for the river.
The human-health criterion adopted by the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission last May increased the presumed daily fish-consumption rate from 0.2 ounces to 0.6 ounces for the general population, based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
A state advisory committee concluded in May that any of four consumption rates, from 0.6 ounces a day to 13.7 ounces a day, could be used. The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) then proposed the 0.6-ounce level and opened the issue for public comment.
The Umatilla say the standard should be higher to protect tribal members.
"The tribes have a scientific study that determines how much fish tribal people eat, not just the Umatilla tribes," said Rick George, who directs the tribes' environmental planning program.
"It shows they eat 20 to 25 times the fish that is the rate set by the DEQ."
Female Orca spotted near Luna
April 20, 2005 (MMFN Tsux'iit Stewarsdhip Logs) Keith Wood of the Anon called a few minutes ago (5:45 pm) to say there is a big female killer whale hanging out with Luna right now. Keith received a call from Kip the Light keeper who had kindly relayed from Terry Williams at Yuquot that a MMFN boat had come across a mature female killer whale that took up a position between Luna and the passing boat. At Yuquot they are scrambling to hook up the hydrophone recorder at the lighthouse as Lisa had left for a few days. It's too late to go out right now as it will be dark before we got out there. Well check it out in the morning and let people know whats happening.
Sport-fishing closures over small run
April 20, 2005 (Seattle Times) Washington and Oregon fishing managers yesterday announced sweeping sport-fishing closures on the Columbia River to protect a troubled run of endangered spring chinook salmon.
The closure will take effect at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow. It includes the entire main-stem river below McNary Dam down to the mouth of the Columbia, at Buoy 10. The closure, however, does not affect fishing for hatchery chinook in Columbia River tributaries that include the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Wind and Klickitat rivers.
The action also closes steelhead and shad fishing in the main-stem river.
In the initial harvest plan, state officials had scheduled sport-fish openings through May 15. And if the run picks up, more openings still could be scheduled.
But as of Monday, only 1,544 chinook had been counted at the Bonneville Dam, compared with a 10-year average of more than 50,000 chinook by that date. And state fishery managers are unsure whether the run is late arriving, very weak, or some combination of the two. They now believe that the mix of hatchery and wild chinook returning this spring will fall well short of pre-season forecasts of more than 250,000 fish.
Forests grow, owls decline under plan
April 20, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) A decade after the Clinton administration reduced logging in national forests in the Northwest, scientists have concluded the forests are growing, but the population of the threatened northern spotted owl has declined.
Scientists reported Tuesday that the Northwest Forest Plan, adopted by the Clinton administration in 1994, resulted in an 80 percent reduction in logging on 24 million acres of land in western Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
Since the plan was adopted, medium-aged to older forests have increased by 606,000 acres to 7.9 million acres, or to about 34 percent of all forest land in the region, said Melinda Moeur, program leader for old-growth monitoring for the U.S. Forest Service.
The plan also aimed to protect the threatened northern spotted owl, of which there are about 8,000 pairs in the region.
Officials expected an average annual decline in owl numbers of 3.1 percent until enough habitat grew to stabilize populations. But the actual decline has been steeper in some areas.
Natives want $176,000 to watch whale
April 20, 2005 (Vancouver Province) Members of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation watch Luna while paddling in Mooyah Bay last year. The natives want $176,000 to do it again this summer.
The native band looking after Luna wants the federal government to pay it $176,000 this year to help keep the wayward orca safe from boaters.
The Mowachaht/Muchalaht of Gold River were paid $10,000 last year by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as part of a stewardship program to monitor Luna after the band thwarted efforts to capture him and reunite him with his L pod.
The band believes the orca is the embodiment of the spirit of dead chief Ambrose Maquinna and wants the whale left where it is until after a ceremonial potlatch is held this November. It also believes Luna, known to scientists as L 98, should be allowed a natural reunification with its family.
Meanwhile, the band wants a large increase in federal funds, enough for six salaries, to help keep the five-year-old orca apart from summer boat traffic in Nootka Sound.
"The reason the money is so high is that we're going to employ more people to express to the public that the whale is out there," said Jamie James, the band's fisheries manager. "We would like to employ two full patrol groups, both on the water and on land, to help promote public awareness. We're working on a full-blown program right now."
He said the money would cover salaries, education pamphlets, equipment and patrolling costs.
New era promised in salmon recovery
April 19, 2005 (Seattle Times) On a feeder stream, young coho salmon swim through a fish-friendly road culvert and then up a wooden fish ladder to reach the quiet rearing grounds of a beaver pond.
Federal officials yesterday showcased this restored waterway in Clark County as an example of the grass-roots action that will underpin a new Southwest Washington plan for recovering wild salmon in the Lower Columbia River as well as the broader effort that in the decades ahead will unfold across the Northwest.
The Bush administration envisions that effort to include hundreds of small-scale projects to improve stream spawning and rearing grounds but has opposed the removal of Snake River hydroelectric dams that rank as a major obstacle to fish survival.
"This is the face of the salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest," said Bob Lohn, regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, or the National Marine Fisheries Service, as he watched a college student dip-net young coho and steelhead out of a small fish trap to count them and measure the project's success.
Wild salmon runs have staged a modest rebound in recent years, in part due to improved ocean conditions. But this year's run of endangered spring chinook, so far, has largely not shown up at Bonneville Dam's counting station, sparking concerns of a major run failure.
The plan is being announced as the federal government faces legal challenges over operations of hydroelectric projects on the Columbia and Snake rivers, major killers of fish.
Lohn, the regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said that plenty of efforts are under way to make the major dams more fish-friendly and that the big gains in salmon recovery depend on improving the rearing and spawning grounds of smaller tributaries.
But environmentalists and tribes take issues with that.
"That's wishful thinking on Mr. Lohn's part," said Charles Hudson, a spokesman for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
"The existence of the dams continues to be the single biggest cause of mortality in the system, and to say the hard work is done is just misleading."
U.S. backing for Columbia salmon recovery plan April 19, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Gray whale washes ashore on Whidbey Island
April 18, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) A dead gray whale that appears to be a juvenile was found washed ashore Monday on Whidbey Island.
A team from Olympia-based Cascadia Research visited the site and planned to tow the carcass to another location so that a necropsy could be performed Tuesday to determine the cause of death.
Researchers told KING-TV News there are between five and 10 gray whales in Puget Sound at this time. About four beachings of gray whales are reported in Washington state every year.
Senator Lisa draws a bead on fish farms
April 18, 2005 (Juneau Empire) Fish farming in federal waters would face significant new hurdles under a bill introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski late last week.
Her proposed Natural Stock Conservation Act would stall development of aquaculture in offshore waters until federal agencies receive instructions from Congress requiring "rigorous studies" for the new industry, Murkowski spokesman Eliot Bundy said Friday.
Fish farms - which can spread disease and non-native fish to surrounding waters - need the same level of scrutiny that has been given to national ocean policy reform in recent years, Murkowski said in a Friday press statement.
"We cannot afford a rush to judgment on this issue," she said. "It is far too dangerous if we make a mistake."
Salmon: Look for the wild label
April 18, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial) Marian Burros, the food critic of The New York Times, recently wrote that "fresh wild salmon from West Coast waters used to have a low profile in New York ... (but) has become the darling of chefs."
But someone fooled the chefs with the wrong darlings.
Burros reported that much of the "wild" salmon was farm raised and was sold under fraudulent pretenses.
Consumers should ask questions about their fish. If 90 percent of the salmon are farmed, then it must be extraordinarily difficult to get the wild cousin. So, ask. What kind of fish? Where was it caught? And is this even the right season?
One way to protect the integrity of wild fish is to prosecute fraud. When people sell farmed fish for as much as $29 a pound, labeled as wild, there's something obviously wrong.
The rest of the country doesn't understand the Northwest's desire to save our wild salmon runs. The selling (and mislabeling) of the farmed variety will only add to the confusion.
The Northwest has a stake in protecting, and marketing, this heritage food source. When it comes to salmon, the real darlings are always wild.
Smolts hitch ride downstream
April 16, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Federal fish and water managers have started trapping young salmon and loading them onto trucks to haul past dams, attempting to help them survive low water levels in the Snake and lower Columbia rivers this spring and summer.
As the number of juvenile salmon in upstream waters increases later this month and in May, the officials will start using barges for the downstream transportation project, said Ed Mosey of the Bonneville Power Administration.
The fish are released below Bonneville Dam, the last dam before the Columbia River reaches the ocean.
Because of the dry winter, planned water spills will be halted at four dams: Lower Granite, Little Goose and Lower Monumental dams on the Snake River and McNary Dam on the Columbia River. Instead, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will trap as many of the juvenile fish as possible and ship them down river.
Water still will be spilled at other dams that lack fish-trapping facilities.
Environmental organizations, fishing groups and Indian tribes want the government to continue spilling water at all Snake and Columbia river dams, saying it will improve fish survival.
The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition in Boise has joined with Indian tribes, environmentalists and fishing groups in a lawsuit against the government's salmon plan. If they win, a judge could order water to be spilled at all the dams.
Orca is state symbol thanks to area students
April 14, 2005 (Skagit Valley Herald) What started as a school project in Oak Harbor grew to leviathan proportion this week when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill making the orca Washington's official marine mammal.
The signing ceremony capped a two-year project for a group of students at Crescent Harbor Elementary School in Oak Harbor.
Recognizing that Washington lacked its own marine mammal, the students studied whales and collected 1,000 signatures in support of the first orca bill. The bill went through two legislative sessions before it finally passed this year.
In a prepared statement, second-grade teacher Bonnie Alanis said she was proud of her students for putting their hearts into "a lesson that will touch their memories for a lifetime."
Shane Aggergaard, owner of Island Adventures in Anacortes, said people have a special connection to the whales that roam the waters around the San Juan Islands.
"The whales have a way of touching people," Aggergaard said.
Kari Koski of the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor said visitors now relate to orcas on a personal level. "They love even seeing or hearing their breath," Koski said. "That seems really captivating."
Stranded dolphins get round-the-clock care
April 14, 2005 (CNN) In early March an estimated 80 rough-toothed dolphins stranded themselves in the shallows off Marathon in the Florida Keys.
Rescue workers and volunteers worked nonstop to help as many as they could to return to deep water. Some dolphins made it. About two dozen died.
For 26 that clung to life there was only one chance for survival -- transfer to the Marine Mammal Conservancy rehabilitation facility on Key Largo, farther up the Keys from Marathon.
By the second week in April, more than one month into the rehabilitation effort, only 11 of the original 26 were still alive.
Nobody knows what caused the dolphins to strand themselves, but the U.S. Navy and marine wildlife experts are investigating whether the Marathon stranding was caused by sonar exercises by a submarine.
There have been a handful of instances in which military sonar activities have overlapped with mass strandings of marine mammals -- which use their hearing to find food and their way. But the exact link is not understood.
State Senate approves tougher standards for car emissions
April 14, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) The state Senate approved legislation last night adopting California's vehicle-emission standards, the toughest in the world.
Although Republicans tried to derail the measure, it passed handily, 29-19, with three of the senior GOP caucus leaders joining Democrats in favor. The sponsor, Sen. Erik Poulsen, D-Seattle, called it "probably the biggest environmental vote we have taken on the floor of the Senate in the past 10 years."
But the fight isn't over.
The measure was returned to the House for consideration of some Senate amendments that could be poison pills. The House approved the bill 53- 42 last month, but the Senate attached amendments last night to ease the effect on vehicle dealers.
April 14, 2005 (Tri-City Herald) The fish are the reason for the feast, which is a centuries-old tradition as Columbia River tribes gather near The Dalles, Ore., to thank the Creator for their return.
But this year something's wrong. The fish haven't yet kept their promise to the people.
Besides the boy's salmon, there were only 55 other fish available to feed the crowd. Some of those had been caught far downstream weeks earlier and frozen for the ceremony. Others were caught by commercial fishermen.
"This is the first year we've ever had to get assistance," said Bobby Begay, a Celilo fisherman.
Begay, who helps organize the feast each year, said normally they serve perhaps 150 fish. And normally all of those would have been taken from the river nearby.
Experts say they are baffled what's happened to the run of 254,000 fish they expected.
By April there are usually thousands of fish struggling up Bonneville Dam fish ladders each day. As of Tuesday, only 200 fish had passed the dam this year.
"Nobody knows why, certainly not any of the scientists here I've talked to," Brian Gorman of the Pacific Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, told The Associated Press. "It's a mystery. Nobody has a clear idea."
Proposal would ban trio of toxins
April 14, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Proponents say flame retardants used in everyday products leak into bodies
Lawmakers in Olympia have jumped into a searing debate about chemical flame retardants.
A proposed law would make Washington the first state in the nation to ban a trio of long-lived industrial chemicals commonly added to televisions, computers and other electronics.
Scientists have found the fire-proofing chemicals -- polybrominated diphenyl ethers -- in fish caught in the Columbia River, local women's breast milk and household dust in Seattle.
"It's a kids' issue," said Rep. Ross Hunter, a Medina Democrat who sponsored the legislation. "This is about having children who are healthy and don't have neurological damage."
Although there's no evidence that PBDEs have accumulated in people at levels that pose an immediate health threat, there are concerns that the flame retardants can harm brain and bone development and thyroid function. Beginning in July 2007, the legislation would prohibit the sale of numerous products containing PBDEs, such as electronics, mattresses, seat cushions, carpet pads and telephone handsets. Manufacturers would have to eliminate the chemicals from their production lines.
Ban or no ban, some Washington manufacturers already are taking action.
Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries, which makes Panasonic products at a Vancouver plant, has announced that they will be PBDE-free this year.
Alternatives to the fire retardants "are creeping up fast now," said Dale Swanson, an environmental engineer with the company. "Everyone is seeing the handwriting on the wall."
Region feeling the heat, says expert
April 13, 2005 (Tacoma News Tribune) Drought or no drought, climate change has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. That means higher average annual temperatures, reduced snowpack, earlier spring thaws and less river water in summer, said state climatologist Phil Mote.
"The warming seems to be unprecedented in the last 1,000 years," Mote told a group of about 320 scientists in Tacoma on Tuesday.
The University of Washington research scientist, who belongs to the school's Climate Impacts Group, was keynote speaker at the annual Washington Hydrogeology Symposium, held at the Sheraton Tacoma Convention Center. His topic: "Pacific Northwest Climate: Past, Present & Future."
Mote apologized for what he said was a grandiose title, then went on to describe how atmospheric carbon dioxide was associated with temperature change even during the Ice Age.
Mote and other scientists blame excess carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fuel combustion, for temperature increases that first became apparent in the waning decades of the 20th century.
Oil sheen reported in Puget Sound
April 13, 2005 (Seattle Times) The U.S. Coast Guard and the state Department of Ecology (DOE) are investigating a quarter-mile-long oil sheen reported yesterday morning west of Vashon Island and north of Point Richmond on the Kitsap Peninsula.
Pollution investigators determined the oil could not be recovered, according to the Coast Guard. It was first reported at 8:22 a.m. on the west side of Colvos Passage in Puget Sound, and it later dissipated.
Anyone with information about the sheen is asked to call DOE at 360-407-6300.
Foss fined $577,000 over '03 oil spill
April 13, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) The state walloped Foss Maritime Co. with a $577,000 fine yesterday for a December 2003 oil spill that damaged Puget Sound beaches, including a stretch of Suquamish Tribe shellfish beds here.
Standing on that shore, pelted by blowing rain, Ecology Department Director Jay Manning announced the fine, the largest ever for a spill in the Sound. The agency's investigation, he said, pinned the accident on "negligence" by Foss workers.
"It is clear that this spill should not have happened," he said.
The accident happened when heavy fuel oil was being transferred onto a Foss-owned barge at the ChevronTexaco terminal at Point Wells near Edmonds.
In the early hours of Dec. 30, the barge's tank overflowed while no one was watching.
A warning system that's supposed to be triggered when a tank is close to overflowing was improperly installed and hadn't worked since at least 1997, Manning said. Another alarm was supposed to sound when an overflow occurred, but it also wasn't working.
About 4,700 gallons of fuel spilled. Driven by a swift current, the oil swirled around to the west side of the Sound, washing ashore on the tribe's Doe-kag-wats beach and salt marsh. The oil tainted clams, killed crabs and fouled the sand and marsh grass.
Global warming's toll on Northwest forests debated
April 12, 2005 (Seattle Times) Some experts say global warming is changing wooded regions across the nation, and Northwest timber-industry workers are among those following the phenomenon amid concern it could eventually affect their livelihoods.
Glacier National Park is expected to be devoid of its namesake ice formations by 2040, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists. What's more, the Earth's Northern Hemisphere has been growing greener in the past two decades as temperatures rise, according to NASA satellite images.
"This isn't just one or two years of normal variability - this is a substantial trend over a half-century," he said. "When the old-timers tell you it's not as tough as it used to be, they're not kidding."
There's very little debate in Canada about warmer winters, drier summers and how they may be affecting forests, said Greg McKinnon, a Canadian Forest Service scientist who directs a national research effort on the effects of climate on forests.
In Edmonton, Alberta, where McKinnon works, aspen leaves are emerging three weeks earlier than a century ago, he said.
Salmon fishermen seek federal disaster aid
April 12, 2005 (Seattle Times) Claiming commercial salmon trollers from Santa Cruz, Calif., to Florence, Ore., could lose up to $100 million from lost fishing opportunities this summer, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations has called on the governors of California and Oregon to support a fisheries disaster declaration from NOAA Fisheries.
California Department of Fish and Game biologists have said the likely cause of the low returns this year is the increasing number of young fish succumbing to parasites as they migrate to the ocean. Some scientists think the parasites may be proliferating because low wintertime flows no longer flush them from the river.
Predictions call for plentiful returns of Sacramento River chinook this year, but trollers will not be able to fully exploit them over concerns that too many Klamath River fish swimming among them could be taken.
Last week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council set ocean salmon-fishing seasons sharply shorter than last year to be sure that a mandated 35,000 chinook return to the Klamath River to spawn. Last year, fishing seasons resulted in missing the mark by 10,000 fish.
The basin has struggled with dwindling salmon returns for more than 20 years related to loss of habitat to agriculture, hydroelectric dams, logging and mining. Disasters were declared during an El Niņo in 1982-1983 and during an extended drought in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Restoring the rainforest
April 11, 2005 (Vancouver Columbian) From here all the way north to the Olympic Peninsula, a century and a half of logging has left a landscape of young, industry-owned plantations where the original coastal rain forest once stood.
Only small pockets of that great cedar, spruce and hemlock forest survive. Passed over by loggers, they hold the genetic legacy of the original forest and provide scarce habitat for salmon and salamanders and marbled murrelets.
Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy have joined forces to begin restoring a portion of that cutover forest, using the remaining pockets of ancient forest in their combined ownership as a blueprint.
With a $750,000 U.S. Department of the Interior Cooperative Conservation Initiative grant, the first of its kind in the nation, the partners are conducting an inventory of 14,000 acres and preparing to restore 1,500 acres and remove 15 miles of road over the next three years.
Tests: Pen salmon being sold as wild
April 10, 2005 (Seattle Times) Fresh wild salmon from West Coast waters once generally migrated eastward in cans. But concern about the safety of farm-raised fish has given wild salmon cachet.
Chefs praise its texture and flavor as superior to the fatty, neutral-tasting farmed variety, and many shoppers are willing to pay far more for it.
"Fresh wild salmon" is abundant, even in the winter, when little of it is caught. In fact, it seems a little too abundant.
Tests performed for The New York Times in March on salmon sold as wild by eight New York stores, at an average price of $19 a pound, showed that the fish at six of the eight were farm-raised. Farmed salmon, raised in floating pens and available year round, sells for $5 to $12 a pound in the city.
'Green' law aims at public buildings
April 9, 2005 (The Olympian) Washington became the first state in the country Friday to enact a law requiring public buildings to be constructed with standards encouraging energy conservation and recycling.
Such standards eventually could reduce public agencies' energy costs by 25 percent. Better design and ventilation also are predicted to reduce school and workplace sicknesses because of artificial ventilation and raise test scores among students.
Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the historic bill into law at Washington Middle School in Olympia, which will be among the first buildings in the state to incorporate the "green" standards.
'Footed' whale unearthed
April 8, 2005 (News 24.com) US scientists working in Egypt's desert have discovered bones from the skeleton of a 42-million-year-old "footed" whale.
The discovery is expected to help unlock the secrets of the mammal's evolution, a Cairo daily reported on Thursday.
A University of Michigan research team headed by Philip Gingerich, a physical anthropologist, last week completed its discovery of a 16-metre whale skeleton from which it had found several bones in 1989, reported the daily al-Ahram.
Found at Wadi Hitan in the Fayoum governorate, some 100 kilometres south of Cairo, the fossilised remains of the whale belonging to the Basilosaurus species has four appendages.
Under agreement with the Egyptian government the skeleton is to be loaned to the University of Michigan for further study.
Political will is sadly lacking in dealing with threats to the Fraser
April 6, 2005 (Vancouver Sun Editoral) It's one step forward and two steps back for the Fraser River, arguably the most important waterway in British Columbia.
The Outdoor Recreation Council, a conservation advocacy group, has ranked the Fraser River at the top its Endangered Rivers list for the first time in a decade.
After several years of improvement, growing threats to the Fraser River are emerging; including low counts of sockeye salmon, poor summer flows, agricultural impacts, and unsustainable extraction of gravel for flood control.
The council, which compiles its annual top 10 list of endangered rivers by polling its 120,000 members, said the river is also threatened by urban runoff (and rapid urbanization), logging in its headwaters, the loss of riparian habitat and old contaminated sites.
What's most surprising about this report is not that the state of the Fraser River basin seems to be deteriorating, but that so little is being done to prevent it.
Feds to Use Their Own Salmon Plan
April 6, 2005 (Oregon Public Broadcasting) This is a long running dispute---whether fish do better in a drought year swimming down river on their own or getting a ride. Brian Gorman of NOAA Fisheries says artificial transportation is better.
Brian Gorman: In low water years when the river is sluggish and volumes are low we think the most judicious thing to do is to transport as many fish as we possibly can. That is to say: put them in tanker trucks or barges and ship them around all the dams and release them below Bonneville.
Jan Hasselman of the National Wildlife Federation believes just the opposite is true.
Jan Hasselman: The fisheries managers and the scientists in the region have uniformly called for less transportation and more natural river conditions, in other words, better flow, more spill.
Beginning in April, federal agencies normally open the spillways on the four Snake River Dams for part of the day to let migrating juvenile fish get through. This year they won't spill water at three of the dams so they can generate more electricity.
Emory scientist finds different paths lead to similar cognitive abilities
April 5, 2005 (EurekAlert) Despite the divergent evolutionary paths of dolphins and primates -- and their vastly different brains -- both have developed similar high-level cognitive abilities, says Emory University neuroscientist and behavioral biologist Lori Marino. She presented her latest findings on the evolution of and differences in brain structure between cetaceans (ocean mammals like whales and dolphins) and primates April 5 during the 14th annual Experimental Biology 2005 meeting in San Diego.
Marino's presentation examined the diverse evolutionary patterns through which dolphins and primates acquired their large brains, how those brains differ, and how sensory information can be processed in different ways and still result in the same cognitive abilities.
Marino's earlier research has shown how dolphins have the capacity for mirror self-recognition, a feat of intelligence previously thought to be reserved only for Homo sapiens and their closest primate cousins. Marino is a professor of neuroscience and behavioral biology at Emory and a research associate at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, The SETI Institute, The Smithsonian Institution, and Emory University.
Senate passes bill designating orca as state's marine mammal
April 5, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) The orca would be the official marine mammal of Washington, joining the apple and steelhead trout as symbols of the Evergreen State under a bill passed by the Senate Tuesday.
The bill passed 46-1, with Sen. Brian Weinstein, D-Mercer Island, casting the only no vote. He jokingly said it was a "protest vote" for the overlooked seal and sea otter.
"They were discovered by Lewis and Clark in the Columbia River, they are part of our tradition and they haven't gotten their due," he said.
The bill passed the House last month, 90-7. It now goes to Gov. Christine Gregoire, who is expected to sign it.
The state's resident orca community is made up of three groups, known as J, K and L pods. Between 1996 and 2001, the population dropped by 18 percent, according to the state's status report. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said there are currently 88 southern resident orcas in the state's waters.
Killer whales, actually a kind of dolphin, are found in all the world's oceans. The southern residents, and their cousins in Canada, the northern residents, spend summer and fall in inland waters, feeding on salmon.
Other orca populations, including coastal transients and offshore killer whales in the Northwest, feed mostly on other marine mammals: seals, sea lions and whales. [Note: Offshore orcas are not known to eat marine mammals.]
Gray whale makes rare visit to Hood Canal
April 5, 2005 (Kitsap Sun) A gray whale was reported Monday in Hood Canal, where the animal apparently was foraging for food in Quilcene Bay, according to Camille Speck of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Brian McLaughlin, another biologist, said this is only the second gray whale he has seen in 12 years of working at the lab.
Transient killer whales have been known to attack gray whales at sea, so there was immediate conjecture about what might happen if the gray whale encountered the six transients that have been dining on harbor seals in Hood Canal the past 10 weeks.
"With fairly large numbers of harbor seals in Hood Canal, it seems unlikely they'll go after a gray whale," said Robin Baird of Cascadia Research in Olympia.
Baird said amateur whale-watchers in Hood Canal have been good about watching from shore, and he hopes they will continue the practice with the gray whale. Gray whale sightings may be reported to Orca Network at (866) ORCANET or to Cascadia at (800) 747-7329.
Columbia River chinook run to date lowest since 1949
April 5, 2005 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) The spring chinook salmon count at Bonneville Dam so far is the lowest since 1949 for reasons that include probably drought and sea lions, scientists say.
The prized fish also may be waiting longer before going upriver to spawn, said Robin Ehlke, a biologist in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"There's likely more than one thing going on here," Ehlke told The Columbian of Vancouver. "The run may be late, we've got marine mammals in the fish ladder and there were drought-like conditions in March with stream flows 65 percent of normal."
In December, Oregon and Washington state and tribal biologists predicted 254,100 spring chinook would head up the Columbia River for tributaries upstream of Bonneville Dam.
Through Sunday, typically the point at which 5 percent of the run has passed the dam, the count was 48 fish, compared with a 10-year average of 6,855 through April 3.
Half of the spring chinook usually have passed the dam by April 26, so scientists say it will likely be at least two weeks or more before they have a better sense of the strength of the run.
Waste dumping draws big fine
April 5, 2005 (Seattle Times) Owners of one of the world's largest cargo-shipping businesses - a company for which the Port of Tacoma last year built a 171-acre terminal - agreed yesterday to pay $25 million in fines for secretly dumping oil into the oceans and repeatedly doctoring log books to cover it up.
In an investigation that started with an accidental 500-gallon oil spill on the Columbia River four years ago, state and federal authorities ultimately caught seven Evergreen International ships routinely shutting off alarm systems or using special pipes and hoses - all to intentionally bypass pollution controls and dump oily waste and sludge into the high seas.
Evergreen, the largest single shareholder of Evergreen Marine, one of the Port of Tacoma's largest container-ship customers, pleaded guilty to 24 felonies, including attempting to obstruct Coast Guard inspections, and will pay the largest vessel-pollution fine in the Justice Department's history.
The fine will be split evenly among five states, with 40 percent of it going into special funds to be used for environmental-restoration projects - $2 million of which will be dedicated to stewardship projects in the Puget Sound region.
The case is the latest in a string of intentional-dumping cases, which federal officials maintain are rampant in the maritime industry. In the past three years, at least eight ship captains and engineers have been sent to prison, and companies have been assessed millions of dollars in fines in the Northwest and Alaska alone.
Killer whale jolts trainer
April 4, 2005 (Orlando Sentinel) A SeaWorld Orlando trainer is expected to return to work soon after being injured by an "overly excited" killer whale, a theme-park spokeswoman said Sunday.
The killer whale, one of nine at the park that go by the stage name Shamu, swam rapidly past the trainer and circled back, bumping him during the Shamu Adventure show at 12:30 p.m. Friday, spokeswoman Becca Bides said.
Heidi Harley, an associate professor at the New College of Florida in Sarasota and a former killer-whale trainer at the Miami Seaquarium, said it's likely the killer whale knew what it was doing, but it's not uncommon for a killer whale to become excited.
Predators in the wild, killer whales hunt in groups called pods for almost anything, including fish, seals, sharks and penguins.
They inhabit every ocean on earth.
They are the largest member of the dolphin family and are immediately recognizable by their distinctive black and white markings. The males can grow to 22 feet or longer and usually weigh between 8,000 and 12,000 pounds.
Harley said a close encounter could be frightening, but an experienced trainer "would want to focus on the situation rather than be distracted by fear. It is your relationship with the animal that is going to be the factor with how easily you get out in the end."
Last year, a spectator at a Shamu Adventure show at SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas, took dramatic footage of a 6,000-pound killer whale named Ky aggressively pushing veteran trainer Steve Aibel around the tank.
The killer whale suddenly began swimming rapidly around the tank, launching itself halfway out of the water and onto Aibel.
At one point, Aibel started to leave the tank, but Ky pulled him back in.
The trainer was eventually able to calm Ky and escape without injury, but the spectator's video showed several tense minutes.
In interviews after the incident, Aibel said that he had worked with Ky for 10 years and the training was built around positive reinforcement of calm actions.
He did not know what set Ky off that day, but he just waited for him to calm down, he said.
The last reported incident with a killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando occurred in 1999 when a dead man was found naked on the back of the whale Tillikum in a backstage tank.
The man apparently had tried to swim with the 11,000-pound whale after the park closed. The South Carolina drifter was thought to have drowned or died of hypothermia.
Tillikum and two other whales were blamed for drowning one of their trainers in 1991 while he was performing at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia. At SeaWorld Orlando, he was used for breeding and to give the final splash at the end of the show.
Irrigators Argue Fish Better Off With Dams
April 2, 2005 (Northwest Fishletter) Columbia Basin irrigators are now claiming that juvenile salmon are actually better off migrating past eight or nine dams in the Columbia and Snake Rivers than if the dams weren't there. When the benefits of barging fish are factored in, they argue that overall salmon survival is better than when the Columbia Basin was in a natural pre-dam state.
In a second memo filed March 11 in their case against the new federal hydro BiOp, Portland attorney James Buchal, representing the Columbia-Snake and Eastern Oregon Irrigators' Association, says NOAA Fisheries' analysts "cherry-picked" survival data from juvenile salmon traps to use the one that showed the lowest natural mortality to make their case that fish are worse off now with the dams in place. Buchal argues that the federal analysis exaggerates the effects of the dams and is "at least, arbitrary and capricious."
Buchal says the government has treated fish transportation benefits the same way. If they hadn't, he says "it would probably be obvious that 'system survival' (i.e., the net survival of transported and untransported fish) in the FCRPS is higher than in a natural river." (Italics his.)
Salmon once spawned far up Oregon river, biologists find
April 2, 2005 (Seattle Times) Based on a review of historical and archaeological evidence, a group of federal biologists has concluded that salmon definitely spawned in waters far above a series of hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River that have blocked fish since 1917.
The report comes as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) considers whether to grant the utility PacifiCorp a new license to operate four dams straddling the Oregon-California border as they are, or go along with Indian tribes, commercial fishermen and conservationists who want the dams removed or altered to open access to hundreds of miles of spawning habitat.
Besides being the focus of intense political battles over allocations of water between fish and farms, the Klamath River is a keystone for setting annual salmon harvests in the Pacific Ocean. The need to protect weak Klamath runs this year is forcing sharp reductions in the commercial chinook harvest off Oregon and California.
Allen Foreman, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, said he hoped the report would increase pressure to restore salmon to the upper Klamath Basin by settling any doubts that salmon were once plentiful in rivers flowing into Upper Klamath Lake, the source of the Klamath River.