On July 31, 1997 Representative George Miller (D-Calif.) is expected to introduce the "Endangered Species Recovery Act," a bill reauthorizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Some elements of the bill will:

[Source: Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Northwest Endangered Species Alert, Issue #24, July 18, 1997.] For Further Information Contact: The office of Representative George Miller at (202) 225-3121.

*** AS WE GO TO PRESS *** Senators Dirk Kempthorne (R-Idaho) and John Chafee (R-R.I.) were expected to introduce their ESA reauthorization bill by the end of July (See Habitat Hotline Number 31). However, it now appears that it will not be introduced until after the August recess. Congress will be on recess August 2 through September 1. The Clinton Administration has been involved in negotiations over the Kempthorne/Chaffee bill, and the bill reportedly has the backing of Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.). [Source: Greenwire: (202) 739-8536.]


The Clinton Administration appears willing to work with Congress in the reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act. In a July 17, 1997 speech to the National Press Club, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said the Administration will send its ESA proposals to Capitol Hill later this summer, including a range of suggestions aimed at protecting species while allowing controlled development. Babbitt warned "there should not be any backsliding’’ in protecting species. He also rejected a "frontal assault" on the Endangered Species Act, saying the American people support this law. [Source: H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press.]


On April 24, 1997 Representative Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 1453, the "Clean Water Enforcement and Compliance Improvement Act of 1997." Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced a companion bill, S. 645, in the Senate. Some elements of the bills include:

REACTION: According to Senator Frank Lautenberg: This important bill will put real teeth in the enforcement provisions of the Clean Water Act, and will help restore and preserve our Nation’s already stressed lakes, rivers and coastal areas.

[A]s we approach the 25th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and after several substantial revisions since its enactment, the Act has failed to meet all of our goals. While the Act has resulted in significant progress and water quality is improving, our waters are not clean. In 1988, over one-third of our rivers, lakes and estuaries surveyed throughout the country were either failing to achieve designated water quality levels or were threatened with failing to achieve those levels. In my State of New Jersey, a survey of roughly 10 percent of the State’s rivers showed that only 15 percent were safe for swimming.

The Clean Water Network had this to say: Why is illegal water pollution so widespread? The law has simply not been enforced effectively.

EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and state agencies routinely ignore serious and chronic violations. When actions are taken against violators, the penalties rarely outweigh what companies gain from permit violations. In addition, courts are chipping away at the right of citizens to bring enforcement suits, blocking communities who want to make polluters pay, and citizens do not have access to the information they need to hold polluters and government accountable. Finally, federal facilities have the worst compliance records of all because they are protected from penalty actions.

It isn’t bleak though—the Clean Water Enforcement Act (H.R. 1453) will make polluters pay for their violations, strengthen the right of citizens to hold polluters accountable, and expand citizens’ right to know about water pollution violations. This bill is modeled after the successful New Jersey Clean Water Enforcement Act. [Source: Clean Water Network, Status Report. May 1997.]

Now What: H.R. 1453 is in the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. S. 645 is in the Committee on Environment and Public Works. No further action has been scheduled for these bills.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Write Your Congressperson: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515; and U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; or call the House of Representatives switchboard at (202) 225-3121; and the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

To register your opinion with the President on any issue call the White House Comment Line at (202) 456-1111.

E-Mail Messages to President Clinton: president@whitehouse.gov: Vice President Gore: vice.president@whitehouse.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, the Clean Water Network at (202) 289-2395.


On June 25 American Sportfishing Association (ASA) (based in Alexandria, Virginia), announced it was launching a campaign aimed at Congress to make good on the original goal of the Clean Water Act to make American Waters fishable once again.

According to ASA Board member Helen Sevier:

Today, 40 percent, I repeat 40 percent, of the nation’s rivers, lakes and estuaries are not clean enough to meet basic uses such as fishing. Clean Water means more fish, and more fish mean more fishing opportunities, and more fishing opportunities means growth in the sportfishing industry. The Fishable Waters Coalition* (FWC), created by ASA, has developed a set of five key principles that will drive their efforts to revise the Clean Water Act (CWA). Those principles include: *Other FWC members include Trout Unlimited, the Pacific Rivers Council, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, and the American Fisheries Society.

For Further Information Contact: Norville Prosser of the American Sportfishing Association at (703) 519-9691.




In May, the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP) released the long awaited "Upper Columbia River Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statement" (covering Oregon and Washington) and the "Eastside Draft Environmental Impact Statement" (covering Idaho, and parts of Utah, Nevada, Montana and Wyoming).

The Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Project is part of a 1993 Presidential directive to develop a scientifically sound, ecosystem-based strategy for management of federal lands east of the Cascades.

The project area the two Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEISs) includes portions of the Columbia River, Upper Klamath and northern Great Basins that lie east of the Cascade Mountain range. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service administer seventy-two million of the 144 million acres of the project area.

According to the DEISs:

This plan is expected to amend current Forest Service and BLM land-use plans with ecosystem-based direction at the regional and sub-regional level. It will also replace the interim conservation strategies known as PACFISH (Pacific Anadromous Fish Strategy), INFISH (Inland Native Fish Strategy), and the Eastside screens. These short-term rules were put in place within the last several years to protect aquatic and other resources until we [the ICBEMP] could craft long-term strategies. "Key" anadromous fish affected by this federal land management plan include steelhead and chinook salmon, including "threatened" Snake River chinook and "endangered" Snake River sockeye salmon. Anadromous fish species that are under proposal for listing under the Endangered Species Act in the project area include the Upper Columbia River "endangered" and Snake River Basin "threatened" steelhead trout. [NOTE: A decision on these steelhead populations (as well as eight others in California, Oregon and Washington) will be made by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on August 11, 1997.]
Treatment of Fish Habitat

According to the Eastside DEIS (Chapter 2, page 153):

More than 95 percent of the healthy native stocks of anadromous fish are believed to be threatened by some degree of habitat degradation. Fish habitat quality in most watersheds has declined...pool frequency has decreased and fine sediments has increased in many project-area watersheds. In addition to hydroelectric development, most alterations of steelhead habitat can be attributed to human land-distributed activities as a result of mining, timber harvest, agriculture, industrial development, and urbanization. Alternatives: The DEISs contain seven alternatives. The preferred alternative is alternative 4. Please refer to page 6 for the projected long-term effects of the alternatives on anadromous fishes. Below are brief descriptions of the alternatives: Alternative 1: No Action. Continues management specified under 74 existing Forest Service or BLM land-use plans (including recent direction from the Northwest Forest Plan within certain national forests and one BLM resource area).

Alternative 2: Applies recent interim direction (PACFISH, INFISH, and Eastside screens) as the long-term strategy for lands administered by the Forest Service or BLM. All other direction from existing plans would continue. Direction in Alternative 1 would apply to areas not covered by interim direction.

Alternative 3: Updates existing Forest Service or BLM plans in response to changing conditions. Minimizes changes to local plans, addressing only priority conditions that most hinder effectiveness or legal conditions. Provides a broader dimension and more integrated management regarding priority large-scale issues than Alternatives 1 or 2.

Alternative 4: Aggressively restores ecosystem health through active management using an integrated ecosystem management approach. Priority is placed on forest, rangeland, and watershed health. Actions are designed to produce economic benefits whenever possible.

Alternative 5: Emphasizes production of goods and services consistent with ecosystem management principles. Areas are targeted for specific uses based on biological capability and economic efficiency; other uses may occur but conflicts would be resolved in favor of the priority use of the emphasis area.

Alternative 6: Emphasizes an adaptive management approach to restore and maintain ecosystems while providing for social and economic needs. Takes a slower, more cautious approach than other alternatives and implies the use of experimental processes, local research, and extensive monitoring.

Alternative 7: Emphasizes reducing risks to ecological integrity and species viability by establishing a system of reserves on Federal lands. Reserves are selected for representation of vegetation and rare animal species. Management activities are limited within reserves and are similar to Alternative 3 outside the reserves.

Preferred Alternative: According to the two DEISs, alternative 4, developed in public scoping sessions, is preferred because "it achieves, at a more accelerated rate than other alternatives, fulfillment of the purpose and need statements." It does so by: REACTION: The Pacific Rivers Council said: Pacific Rivers Council (PRC) finds that the preferred alternative fails to provide management direction which is needed to maintain and restore aquatic ecosystems at a level which is required by existing laws. The alternative fails with regard to each of the key components of an Aquatic Conservation Strategy which we and others have recommended: (1) the identification and protection of watersheds which should be managed primarily for their contribution to aquatic biodiversity and water quality, (2) the identification and protection of riparian areas across the landscape; (3) the use of watershed analysis to design and implement management actions; (4) the implementation of a watershed restoration program which focuses on actions with the highest ecological benefit, and; (5) a clear, mandatory implementation and effectiveness monitoring program. Jim Riley, executive vice president of the Intermountain Forest Industry Association was quoted in a May Idaho Statesman article as saying: We believe the (scientific assessment) accurately describes the risks we all run from uncontrolled fires and unhealthy forests unless we take aggressive and immediate action… But, according to the article, the lack of local management, and the creation of many new layers of bureaucracy trouble Riley: This creates an environment ripe for litigation, which means the plan gets wound up in the courts, and management actions never get on the ground. The result is inaction, which overrides the good work that the preferred alternative envisions. NOW WHAT: Congress may pose a significant hurdle for implementation of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. At a joint House and Senate Parks subcommittee hearing on May 15, 1997, several western lawmakers questioned the cost and effects of the project. Representative George Nethercutt (R-Wash.) was reported as saying that the Appropriations Committee is watching this project with a skeptical eye. [Source: Environmental and Energy Study Institute, Environment and Energy Weekly, May 19, 1997: (202) 628-6500.]

WHAT YOU CAN DO: This process is important because it will guide land management decisions that affect fish habitat for years to come.

Comments for the Eastside DEIS should be sent to:

112 E. Poplar St.
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Comments for the Upper Columbia River Basin DEIS should be sent to:

304 N. 8th Street
Room 250
Boise, ID 83702
*** DEIS comments must be postmarked ***
no later than October 6, 1997


For Further Information on the Eastside DEIS call Rex Holloway of the ICBEMP at (509) 522-4046; and for the Upper Columbia River Basin DEIS contact Andy Brunelle of the ICBEMP at (208) 334-1770, Ext. 120.


An "El Niño" weather pattern has formed and is affecting ocean conditions along the West Coast of the United States. "The timing of this one is a little later than usual, more like the El Niño in 1982. A typical El Niño wind and air pressure pattern appeared off the U.S. Coast in May [1997]," said oceanographer Ron Lynn, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) El Niño Watch project at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. A July 15 "Diagnostic Advisory" from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center reported that warm episode El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions continued to strengthen during June and early July.

A description of the El Niño phenomenon can be found below:

El Niño is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather around the globe. Among these consequences are increased rainfall across the southern tier of the US and in Peru, which has caused destructive flooding, and drought in the west Pacific, sometimes associated with devastating brush fires in Australia.

In normal, non-El Niño conditions…the trade winds blow towards the west across the tropical Pacific. These winds pile up warm surface water in the west Pacific, so that the sea surface is about 1/2 meter higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador. The sea surface temperature is about 8 degrees C higher in the west, with cool temperatures off South America, due to an upwelling of cold water from deeper levels. This cold water is nutrient-rich, supporting high levels of primary productivity, diverse marine ecosystems, and major fisheries. Rainfall is found in rising air over the warmest water, and the east Pacific is relatively dry.

During El Niño (bottom panel of the schematic diagram), the trade winds relax in the central and western Pacific leading to a depression of the thermocline in the eastern Pacific, and an elevation of the thermocline in the west.

The result [is] a rise in sea surface temperature and a drastic decline in primary productivity, the latter of which adversely affected higher trophic levels of the food chain, including commercial fisheries in this region.

Rainfall follows the warm water eastward, with associated flooding in Peru and drought in Indonesia and Australia. The eastward displacement of the atmospheric heat source overlaying the warmest water results in large changes in the global atmospheric circulation, which in turn force changes in weather in regions far removed from the tropical Pacific.

El Niños usually occur approximately every two to seven years. Recent El Niño events occurred in 1976-1977, 1982-1983, 1986-1987, 1991-1993 and 1994-1995. The first half of the 1990s is unusual in that four out of five years featured weak warm episode conditions in the tropical Pacific. However, a cold episode occurred in 1995/96 and its effects lingered until late 1996. [Source: El Niño Theme Pages, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.]

Please refer to page 9 for a time series graph of El Niño related data.
Predicting El Niño Is Tough

In the June 25, 1997 Juneau Empire, Bob Kanan, a meteorologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service, said "very likely, one way or the other, we’re probably going to have a weird winter [in Juneau]." In the article, Kanan said that making predictions this year is especially difficult because this El Niño is following on the heels of a colder than normal period in the Pacific—what is known as La Niña. Usually a couple of transition years separate the unusually cold and warm periods. Also, this El Niño is predicted to be warmer than most. "There’s no precedence for this," he said. "I don’t believe this sequence has happened this century."

Global warming seems to have diminished the chances of predicting the El Niño’s schedule and at the same time caused the El Niño events to last longer. According to Dan Bottom of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, "El Niño may be an analogue of global warming and give us some insight as to what may happen in the future with a warmer planet."


Southern Oscillation Index


FIGURE 3: Five-month running mean of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). Anomalies are departures from the 1951-80 base period means and are normalized by the mean annual standard deviation. Individual monthly values are indicated by "x"s. The x-axis labels are centered on July.

  Editor’s Note: The above figure charts the standard deviation of the Southern Oscillation Index* (SOI). El Niño events are indicated by the negative standard deviation values. Recent El Niño events occurred in 1976-1977, 1982-1983, 1986-1987, 1991-1993 and 1994-1995. The first half of the 1990s is unusual in that four out of five years featured weak warm episode conditions in the tropical Pacific. However, a cold episode occurred in 1995/96 and its effects lingered until late 1996. The figure shows that the SOI remained strongly negative (-2.0) for the fourth consecutive month during June, 1997.

*The SOI is defined as the normalized difference in surface pressure between Tahiti, French Polynesia and Darwin, Australia. It is a measure of the strength of the trade winds, which have a component of flow from regions of high to low pressure. A high SOI (large pressure difference) is associated with stronger than normal trade winds and La Niña conditions, and low SOI (smaller pressure difference) is associated with weaker than normal trade winds and El Niño conditions.

[Source: Climate Prediction. Center National Centers for Environmental Prediction, NOAA/National Weather Service World Weather Building Washington, DC 20233. Internet Address: http://nic.fb4.noaa.gov/products/analysis_ monitoring/enso_advisory/index.html.]

Affect on Fisheries

The warming of the ocean off the West Coast of the United States associated with El Niño weather patterns affect fish species differently. Below are brief descriptions of those affects on some West Coast fish and mammal species:

Pelagic Species: National Marine Fisheries Service scientists expect:

…favorable conditions for mahi-mahi and billfish, as well as certain small schooling fish that occur off California at the northern end of their range, such as mackerel and sardine. * Marine Mammals: Californians may...see an increase in dead and live strandings of seals and sea lions along the coast, and poor seal and sea lion pup survival and growth at island breeding sites. * Rockfish: Resident bottom fish from Point Conception (near Santa Barbara, California) Northward, such as rockfish, may be "…vulnerable because they are bound to the bottom." *

Pelagic Species - Pacific Mackerel:

Pacific mackerel spawn off southern California. When high stock abundance and unusually warm water temperatures coincide, large numbers of pacific (and Jack) mackerel migrate as far north as British Columbia and southeast Alaska to forage. Since mackerel are significant predators of juvenile salmon and herring, their appearance in large numbers is now regarded as a harbinger of poor survival [of salmonids], particularly the west coast of Vancouver Island Stocks. ** Salmon: Correlation studies have found both positive and negative effects of El Niños on salmon smolts in the California current system, but have consistently found deleterious effects on the growth and survival of fish that have been in the ocean for at least a year. *** [*Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce News, Washington D.C. June 16, 1997.]

[**Source: Don Ware and Brent Hargraves. Occurrence of the Pacific (Chub) Mackerel off the BC Coast; 1993. Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, BC, Pices Press. January 1994, Vol. 2, No. 1.]

[***Source: Robert G. Kope. El Niño Effects on Pacific Salmon Stocks. National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Tiburon Laboratory. April 5, 1994.]

For Further Information via the Internet, go to NOAA’s El Niño Theme Pages at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/toga-tao/el-nino/home.html; The Defense Department’s Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanography Center has current ocean temperature maps that can be found at http://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/.


The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 (also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act) provides for the collection and public release of information about the presence and release of hazardous or toxic chemicals in our nation’s communities. The EPCRA requires manufacturers to report releases of nearly 650 designated toxic chemicals to the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compiles the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data in an on-line, publicly accessible national computerized database.

On May 20, 1997 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 1995 TRI data. There is some apparent GOOD NEWS to be found in the 1995 report:

For TRI release data from facilities in Alaska, Idaho, California, Oregon, and Washington, please refer to page 12.

Further Information on the TRI is available in public libraries or online at http://www. epa.gov/opptintr/tri/; or by calling the EPA Hotline number at (800) 424-9346.


[Toxic Release Inventory for 1995]



The Environmental Protection Agency has extended until September 5, 1997 the public comment deadline on adding dioxin to the Toxics Release Inventory list of chemicals. However, the EPA probably would not have industries report any dioxin emissions, unless the agency also lowers the threshold at which emissions must be disclosed. [Source: Greenwire.]

Environmental groups support adding dioxin to the TRI list with an adjusted reporting threshold of zero.

Dioxin is a highly toxic organochloride and is typically emitted at much lower concentrations than other substances under the TRI program. Sources of dioxin include the manufacture of chlorine bleached paper, herbicides and other products. Studies on lake trout have shown dioxin concentrations as low as parts per trillion affecting egg and sac fry mortality.

According to the Federal Register summary on the proposed rule:

In response to a petition filed under section 313(e)(1) of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA), EPA is proposing to add a chemical category that includes dioxin and 27 dioxin-like compounds to the list of toxic chemicals subject to the reporting requirements under EPCRA section 313 and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 (PPA). EPA believes that dioxin and the dioxin-like compounds that are included in the petition, meet the criteria for addition to the list of toxic substances as established in EPCRA section 313(d)(2)(B). EPA is also proposing to modify the existing EPCRA section 313 listing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in order to exclude those PCBs that are included in the proposed dioxin and dioxin-like compounds category. What You Can Do: To obtain a copy of the May 7 Federal Register (Volume 62, Number 88) [Page 24887-24896] visit your local library; or on the Internet, go to http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/.

Written comments should be submitted in triplicate to:

OPPT Docket Clerk
TSCA Document Receipt Office (7407)
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M St. SW, Rm. G-099
Washington, DC 20460
Attention: Docket Control Number OPPTS-400109

For Further Information on this proposed rule, call the Environmental Protection Agency’s Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Hotline at (800) 535-0202; in Virginia and Alaska call (703) 412-9877.




On May 23, 1997 the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released the final version (Record of Decision) of the Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) (See Habitat Hotline Number 27).

According to the Forest Service:

This revised plan provides for preserving 92 percent of the old-growth forest that was present in 1950 after 10 years of plan implementation, and 84 percent through the 100-year plan horizon. It also provides high levels of protection for fish and wildlife, and enhances the opportunity for growth in tourism. In issuing the decision, Regional Forester Phil Janik said: Did we reach a perfect balance between multiple uses, given our knowledge and public opinion? I think we reached the best possible balance. And now it is very important for the public to work with us as we implement the Plan, as we execute projects on the ground such as roads, campgrounds, timber sales, and fish habitat improvements. REACTION: The environmental community chastised the TLMP. Bart Koehler, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, said in a June 21 letter: "We are deeply disappointed by the plan. The Forest Service could have done much more for conservation but chose not to do so."

The timber industry was also critical. Jack Phelps of the Alaska Forest Association was quoted as saying, "The volume of timber to be made available under this plan will clearly be inadequate to sustain an integrated timber industry in Southeast Alaska." [Source: Land Letter, June 1, 1997: (703) 522-8008].

NOW WHAT: The TLMP became effective July 27, 1997. However, the plan can still be appealed by the public. A written appeal must be filed with the USFS by September 27.

The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) has said it is considering an administrative appeal. According to Tim Bristol of SEACC, the appeal would be on selected sections of the TMLP, not the whole document.

IN CONGRESS: On July 9, 1997 the Senate and House Resources Committee held a joint hearing on the TLMP. The hearing was convened under the aegis of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), a law which gives Congress 60 legislative days to delay a "major" rule in order to allow Congressional review and possible vote to overturn the rule.

[Note: A "major" rule is defined as resulting in $100 million or more in economic impact. If the SBREFA applies, Congress can block the rule for up to sixty days from its published date to vote on a resolution of disapproval. The president does have veto power over a disapproval resolution if he so chooses. Congress can override a presidential veto.]

The Alaska Congressional delegation thinks that the TLMP is a major rule and should be subjected to congressional review. However, at the July 9 hearing, Sally Katzen of the Office of Management and Budget said that the TLMP is not a rule because the U.S. Forest Service never qualified it as such. Disagreeing with Katzen was Robert Murphy of the General Accounting Office who testified that it is a major rule. The Forest Service is trying to determine if the TLMP constitutes a major rule. [Source: Environmental and Energy Study Institute, Environmental and Energy Weekly. July 14, 1997.]

For a copy of the Record of Decision of the Tongass Land Management Plan, Contact the U.S. Forest Service, Tongass Land Management Planning Team, 8465 Old Dairy Road Juneau, AK 99801: (907) 586-8700.

For Further Information Contact the U.S. Forest Service at (907) 586-8700; Tim Bristol, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council at (907) 586-6942.




A controversial proposal to test burn oil in the ocean off the southern Washington coast has been withdrawn by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

In situ burning of oil spills can be used as a clean-up method, a process that involves surrounding the oil spill with a fire resistant containment boom and purposely setting it on fire. Conservation and fishing groups had questioned the wisdom of the test spill (See Habitat Hotline Numbers 27 and 28).

A citizen’s advisory group that was set up to provide input into the oil test burn proposal did not reach a consensus recommendation to continue work on an Environmental Impact Statement, according to Ecology. However, it did unanimously support using burning as a response tool. Advisory committee members representing the fishing and shellfish industries included: Westport Charterboat Association, Washington Trollers Association, Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association, and Willapa-Gray’s Harbor Oystermen’s Association.

Reasons for not going through with the test burn proposal were spelled out in a June 10 Ecology press release:

The decision was based on concerns raised by interest groups and the identification of other new options to advance in situ or "in place" burning as an oil spill response tool in Northwest waters.

Integral to Ecology’s decision were the recommendations of an advisory committee representing fishing and shellfish interests,

Graphs depicting oil spill volume and impacted medium in Washington State over the past 14 years can be found below.
[Oil Spill Graphs]

[Source: Washington Department of Ecology, Oil Spills in Washington State: A Historical Analysis, 1997.]

environmental groups, environmental development entities, and federal, state and local governments. The advisory committee was created in December 1996 to provide input to Ecology and a Northwest Area Committee in situ burning workgroup regarding the development of an EIS for the oil burn test proposal.

Instead of a test burn, Ecology and other Northwest Area Committee workgroup members plan to pursue other options which will improve the ability to use in situ burning but don’t require an intentional oil discharge. These options include fire boom deployment exercises, preparing for some tests in the event of an accidental oil spill, and coordinating with other ongoing regional and federal efforts.

To order Oil Spills in Washington State: A Historical Analysis, (document number 97-252) Contact the Washington Department of Ecology Distribution Center, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600: (360) 407-7472.

For Further Information Contact: Paul Heimowitz of the Washington Department of Ecology at (360) 407-6972.


The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is currently developing a watershed planning grant program. The 1997-1999 state biennial budget allocated five million dollars for watershed planning. According to Ecology:

Half of those funds are proposed to be provided to local watershed planning projects, and the other half will be used to establish state teams to provide technical assistance and information to local planning groups. Tom Fitzsimmons, Ecology’s director, said: Our first priority is to get money to local communities to help them do watershed planning. Ecology also plans to provide technical assistance to help communities…We fully recognize the need for local governments to develop plans. Now, we want to work collaboratively with communities to develop criteria for funding watershed planning projects. Hearings on the developing rule were held around the state in July. The proposed rule could be published as early as September 1997.

For Further Information Contact Peggy Clifford at the Washington Department of Ecology at (360) 407-7262.




The Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) will be teaching a course entitled "Citizen Monitoring Techniques for Critical Salmon and Steelhead Habitat—Woody Debris, Vegetative Cover and Sediment Sources." The course will be taught at the field school located near Quincy, in Plumas County, from September 22-25, 1997. Total cost for course instruction, including room and board, is $700.

To Register: The refund and payment deadline is August 29, 1997 (payment must be received by this date). Space is reserved by payment of a $100 non-refundable deposit. Space is allocated on a "first come first served" basis. A limited number of Commercial Salmon Stamp Fund scholarships are available for individuals not employed by federal, state or local government agencies. To apply, please call the information request number below. The scholarship application deadline is August 8. Recipients will be notified by August 20.

For More Information, Contact: Mike Kossow, Director, SRF Field School, PO Box 226, Taylorsville, CA 95983, phone: (916) 284-7277, fax: 284-7056, email: meadconasc @telis.org.




The Clean Water Network and Natural Resources Defense Council have released the publication "Wetlands For Clean Water—How Wetlands Protect Rivers, Lakes and Coastal Waters From Pollution." This 29-page document includes information on polluted runoff, the importance of wetlands to clean water, and the consequences of wetland destruction. Wetland case studies from across the country are included in the report.

To obtain a copy of this publication, send a check (payable to "NRDC") for $5.00 to the Clean Water Network, 1200 New York Avenue NW, Suite 400, Washington D.C. 20005.


Political leaders will gather to talk about salmon at the 1997 Salmon Homecoming Celebration in Seattle on September 13. The Salmon Homecoming Forum will feature federal, state, and tribal leaders, along with representatives of the timber and fishing industries and environmental groups from the pacific region.

Speakers will focus on the politics of salmon conservation, the barriers that stand in the way of making salmon a top priority, and ways to remove those barriers. It will be an opportunity for the people who can make a difference for salmon to examine recent initiatives to protect the species and work toward regional consensus on salmon management issues.

The forum, co-sponsored by For the Sake of the Salmon, the Sustainable Fisheries Foundation, and the Seattle Aquarium, will be held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. The registration fee is $20, which includes lunch and refreshments.

For more information, call For the Sake of the Salmon at (503) 650-5447 or the Sustainable Fisheries Foundation at (206) 670-3584.


Page 18, May 1997 Issue (Number 32): May is American Wetlands Month (not National Wetlands Month). American Wetlands Month is coordinated by the Terrene Institute, based in Alexandria Virginia. For further information on the Terrene Institute, including their environmental education resources, call them at (703) 548-5473; or visit their home page at http://www.terrene.org/ index.htm.



Provide Federal tax incentives to owners of environmentally sensitive lands to enter into conservation easements for the protection of habitat;

Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a deduction from the gross estate of a decedent in an amount equal to the value of real property subject to an endangered species conservation agreement;

Provide a 25 percent exclusion from capitol gains tax from the sale of the property for the purpose of protecting the habitat of endangered and threatened species, species proposed for listing and candidate species.

Some excerpts of what Senator Dirk Kempthorne had to say in introducing S. 901 can be found below: The right system is one where we encourage active involvement of landowners through incentives. Certainly, I know that if I were an endangered species, I would much rather have a friendly and willing landlord—one that viewed me as an asset—than a reluctant one who viewed me as a threat and a liability because of some bureaucrats and regulations handed down from Washington, DC. This bill does seem to have broad-based support in industry and environmental camps, as well as bipartisan support in the Senate. Senator Kempthorne reportedly tried to get S. 901 bill language amended to a tax bill, however his effort failed. The bill is currently in the finance committee. It is unclear whether S. 901 will proceed separately from the Kempthorne/Chafee ESA reauthorization bill (see page 2).
…intended to improve the condition of national forests by focusing on active management measures defined at past congressional hearings as a variety of methods, including logging, clearing overgrowth, preserving riparian areas, and conducting controlled burns.
    1. Expansions of the existing ODMDS [Offshore Dredge Material Disposal Site] at the mouth of the Columbia River will cease five years from the date of this letter, unless an extension is approved by EPA.
    2. To the maximum extent practicable, disposal events at ODMDS shall utilize thin layer placement or other methods that will maximize dispersion of dredged material. Exception: At the expanded site E, it is acknowledged that dredged material may be placed in discrete locations and configurations and monitored to determine whether or how the material erodes out of the site and what its actual capacity is.
    3. No further disposal shall occur within the coordinates of the original site B (1986 designation). Monitoring of the mounds within these coordinates will continue to track any changes in configuration [and] will occur at least annually. Monitoring plans and results will be developed and provided to EPA routinely.
    4. Disposal of dredged material at any of the ODMDS shall be limited only to "suitable" material (determined through existing regional testing procedures) from the federal MCR [Mouth of the Columbia River] project and estuarine portions of the Columbia River Navigation project.
    5. At least annually, the Corps and EPA will host a status meeting for agency representatives and the public to report on site use, monitoring results, and potential use of the ODMDS for the next dredging year at MCR. This requirement may be combined with the District’s annual operations and maintenance interagency meeting typically held in the spring.
  1. On 5/19/97, NMFS announced that they had DENIED a proposal to install an IRRIGATION PIPE near Boardman, Oregon on the Columbia River because the project would jeopardize several stocks of Snake River salmon. In its biological opinion, NMFS said the Army Corps of Engineers could not issue a permit to the Inland Land Corporation to construct an intake pipe at John Day Reservoir. The pipe is designed to deliver up to 196 million gallons of water a day to irrigate potatoes and other vegetables on about 20,000 acres of land in Oregon owned by the Boeing Co. and leased to Inland Land. According to Will Stelle, NMFS’ Northwest Regional Director in Seattle, "The whole system is already overloaded. Without fully offsetting new water withdrawals so there is no net loss from the river, we simply can’t allow additional water to be removed from the Columbia River."
  2. On 7/16/97, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced that "TAKE" restrictions under the Endangered Species Act would go into effect August 18, 1997 for the Southern Oregon/Northern CALIFORNIA populations (ESU) of COHO. Take restrictions would not apply for ocean fishery management and most fisheries research and monitoring activities.
Allow State Fish and Wildlife Commission to waive requirements to build fishways as part of artificial obstruction if alternative mitigation proposed by owner or operator would provide net benefit and if memorandum of understanding is submitted to commission.

Suspend enforcement capabilities of commission with respect to fishway requirements for existing hydroelectric projects until June 30, 1999.

This legislation, which also set up a fish passage task force, helps pave the way for the construction of the MILLTOWN HILL DAM (See Habitat Hotline Number 31). The Governor will reportedly sign the bill.
Idaho Rivers United joined several other groups...in nominating the Forks of the Clearwater—the Little North Fork, North Fork, South Fork, Middle Fork, and Lochsa for American Rivers’ annual "Most Endangered Rivers" contest.

Idaho boaters, fisherfolks, floaters and hikers all appreciate the Forks. These streams drain some of the last unprotected wild country in the Lower 48. They are strongholds for native fish, whitewater recreation, and provide the base for a growing sustainable recreational/tourist base for Idaho. The Forks are imperiled by poor management by state, corporate and federal entities.

Last winter (1995-1996), the Forks experienced a series of dramatic rain-on-snow events in November/December, February and April. Logging road networks collapsed into streams, and heavily impacted watersheds blew out. Because of the problems, the Clearwater Forks are now in the middle of an aquatic extinction spasm.

For further information contact Idaho Rivers United at (208) 343-7481.


According to FOGH’s Attorney Knoll Lowney: Ecology decided to rescind the approval because it was clearly illegal. The approval was not based upon adequate environmental review as required by the State Environmental Policies Act (SEPA). The Department of Corrections is putting this project on such a fast track that the process is suffering. There has been no time for decision-makers to consider the public’s concern about drinking water and the increasing pollution in the estuary. For further information contact Arthur Grunbaum of Friends of Grays Harbor at (206) 382-8206. Stress the importance of maintaining forestry and agriculture economy. Technical assistance and other incentives to landowners were recommended as part of watershed plan development;

Add Indian tribes to the list of the local entities to be involved in local watershed planning entities;

Acknowledge the role of existing regulations, voluntary measures and individual landowner initiatives in developing watershed use plans;

Provide for flexible management of riparian (stream-side) areas, as long as stream protection is maintained;

Allow locally adapted hatchery-origin fish to be counted toward meeting natural spawning escapement objectives.

For further information contact Jeff Weathersby of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (360) 902-2256.
Fifty-eight percent of city managers in the study ranked clean water as important as health care;

Twenty-five percent ranked clean water more important than healthcare;

Sixty-eight percent of city managers rated keeping ocean and other water bodies protected from pollution more important than reforming product liability laws; and

Ecosystem conservation rated more important than increasing the minimum wage for 54 percent of study participants and as important for 28 percent.

For further information contact Robert Hansen of NOAA at (202) 482-4595.
Finding from the report included: Maximum temperatures have increased over most areas with the exception of eastern Canada, the southern United States, portions of eastern Europe, southern China, and parts of southern South America.

Minimum temperatures, however, increased almost everywhere except eastern Canada and small areas of eastern Europe and the Middle East. The gap between the highs and lows decreased in most areas, except over middle Canada, and parts of southern Africa, southwest Asia, Europe, interior Australia, and the western tropical Pacific Islands.

Seasonally, the strongest changes in the temperature gap were in the Northern Hemisphere winter; the smallest changes were in the Northern Hemisphere summer. These facts suggest that there is an element of a seasonal cycle in the changes.

Minimum temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere increased and [the authors] postulate that increased cloudiness is contributing to this.

They also note that urban effects on the narrowing temperature gap are negligible, and circulation variations in parts of the Northern Hemisphere appear to be related to the narrowing gap.


Editor’s recipe: Fish Stew [Source: Seattle Sport Fishing Club, Bulletin, May 1997].

2 Tbl. oil 

2 cup diced onion 

2 cloves diced garlic 

1 diced green pepper 

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes 

3 chicken bouillon cubes 

1 cup diced potatoes

1 cup dry white wine 

1 cup water 

¼ tsp. thyme 

¼ tsp. basil 

Salt and pepper to taste 

2 lbs. fish, cut into 1-inch cubes 

1 can (7½ oz.) clams


  1. In a large kettle, sauté onion, garlic, and green pepper in oil until tender. Add tomatoes, bouillon cubes, potatoes, wine, water, and seasonings. Simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Add cubes of fish and bring to boil for 8-10 minutes. Add clams, including juice.
NOTE: Imitation crab may be used instead of fish.




EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome information on habitat news in your area. Information should pertain to habitat of marine, estuarine, or anadromous fish or shellfish. Feel free to fax us newspaper articles, copies of letters, public hearing notices, etc., at (503) 650-5426. Funding for this publication comes in part from Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration. If you have any questions regarding the contents of this publication, or about our habitat education program, please contact: Stephen Phillips, Editor, Habitat Hotline, 45 SE 82nd Drive, Suite 100, Gladstone, Oregon 97027-2522. Phone: (503) 650-5400, Fax: (503) 650-5426. Messages can also be E-mailed at Stephen_Phillips@psmfc.org. Editorial assistance and layout by Liza Bauman. Printed on 100%-recycled sheet with minimum 50% post consumer fiber. Date of Issue: 7/31/97.