The "Estuary Habitat Restoration Partnership Act of 1997" (S. 1222) was passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 22, 1998. This legislation, introduced by Senator John Chafee (R-R.I.) would establish a voluntary, community-driven, incentive-based program designed to catalyze the restoration of 1,000,000 acres of estuary habitat by 2010. Amended to the bill prior to passage out of committee were measures regarding Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound and the deadly organism Pfiesteria piscicida.

Major Elements of S. 1222 include:

Now What: S. 1222 has no companion legislation in the House.

For Further Information Contact the Office of Senator John Chafee at (202) 224-3121.



In June, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC or Council) reviewed proposed Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) amendment language to its Salmon, Groundfish and Coastal Pelagics Fishery Management Plans (FMPs). At that meeting, the Council adopted draft amendments to the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP (Amendment 11) and Coastal Pelagic Species FMP (Amendment 8), including the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) EFH recommendations. Both documents were sent out for public comment (See below).

However, unlike with the Groundfish and Coastal Pelagics amendments, the Council delayed action on the Salmon FMP (Amendment 14), in part because of controversy surrounding the EFH provisions.

BACKGROUND: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Act) was originally passed in 1976. The Act provided NMFS with legislative authority for fisheries regulation in the United States in the area between three miles to 200 miles offshore. It also established the eight regional fishery management councils (Councils) that manage the harvest of fish and shellfish resources in these waters.

The PFMC covers the area offshore of the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, while the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) manages Alaska’s fishery resources. Councils prepare FMPs to govern their management activities, which are then submitted to NMFS for approval.

In 1996, the Act was reauthorized and changed extensively. Among other changes, these amendments were intended to emphasize the importance of habitat protection to healthy fisheries and to strengthen the ability of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Councils to protect the habitat needed by the fish they manage. This habitat is called "Essential Fish Habitat" and is broadly defined to include "those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity."

The deadline for the PFMC and NPFMC to submit their EFH amendments to the Secretary of Commerce is October 11, 1998.

The first draft of the salmon EFH amendment language was presented to the PFMC in March of 1998. The draft contained descriptive language on the adverse impacts that activities such as mining, forestry, and aquaculture have on EFH. The document also proposed detailed measures for avoiding or minimizing those impacts (such as, for example, cattle must be denied access to streams during salmon spawning).

However, the March draft received vociferous opposition from the non-fishing industry (including oyster growers, cattle ranchers, and property rights advocates) as well as some Congressional representatives. The non-fishing industry claimed that they were not sufficiently consulted during the drafting of the salmon EFH guidelines. Despite the fact that the EFH is non-regulatory, objections were also raised over the draft conservation and enhancement measures, which, they thought were overly restrictive.

Prior to the June PFMC meeting, in response to the concerns raised, NMFS decided to scrap both the detailed descriptions of potential adverse effects and the specific conservation and enhancement language from the March draft. In its place, NMFS presented to the Council a "toned down" document typified by more generic conservation measures. However, NMFS’ June submittal to the PFMC caused dissatisfaction in the environmental community and some fishing groups. In response to these concerns raised, the PFMC’s Habitat Steering Group recommended that the Council reinstitute the more detailed descriptions and conservation and enhancement measures from the March draft.

The Council decided the salmon plan amendments were not ready for the public hearing process, in part because of the conflicts over EFH language. The Council directed its staff, in cooperation with National Marine Fisheries Service, to redraft the document to include more specific conservation and enhancement measures, similar to the March 26 draft document. The Council also directed staff to revise NMFS’ EFH recommendations, and to consider public comments received before and during the June Council meeting.

NOW WHAT: A revised draft of the salmon plan amendments, including EFH, is now available. If the Council decides at its September 14-18 meeting in Sacramento that the draft salmon amendments are ready for public comment, public hearings will then be held sometime in October.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: The Council is scheduled to take up the salmon EFH issue on Tuesday, September 15. Public comment will also be accepted. The Council meeting will take place at:

Red Lion’s Sacramento Inn
1401 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA

For a copy of salmon EFH documents and for further information contact the Pacific Fishery Management Council at (503) 326-6352.



At its June meeting, the Pacific Fishery Management Council sent out for public review Amendment 8 to the Northern Anchovy Fishery Management Plan (also called the draft FMP for Coastal Pelagic Species) and Amendment 11 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. Included in the amendments are the Essential Fish Habitat requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. For further information about the hearings and related documents, contact the Pacific Fishery Management Council at (503) 326-6352.

Hearing Dates, Times, and Locations are as follows:

City, State




Eureka, CA

Tuesday, September 8

6 p.m.

Doubletree Hotel
1929 Fourth Street

Long Beach, CA

Tuesday, September 8

6 p.m.

California Department of Fish and Game
330 Golden Shore, Suite 50

Monterey, CA

Wednesday, September 9

6 p.m.

California Department of Fish and Game
20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100

Seattle, WA

Wednesday, September 9

6 p.m.

National Marine Fisheries Service
7600 Sand Point Way NE, Building 9

Astoria, OR

Thursday, September 10

6 p.m.

Red Lion Inn
400 Industry Street

Newport, OR

Friday, September 11

2 p.m.

Holiday Inn
3019 North Coast Highway



At its June meeting in Dutch Harbor, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) adopted amendments to incorporate EFH provisions to the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska Groundfish, Salmon, Crab, and Scallop FMPs. According to the NPFMC, these provisions included: identification and description of EFH (including habitat areas of particular concern); identification of research and information needs; and identification of potential adverse effects on EFH due to fishing and non-fishing activities. The NPFMC adopted Alternative 2, which designates EFH as described by general distribution.

For Further Information Contact Dave Witherell of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council at (907) 271-2809.



The June issue of the Habitat Hotline, the story titled "Columbia River Dredge Suit" described the potential impacts that the thin layer disposal method of dredge spoil material has on Dungeness crab, especially molting (softshell) crab. According to the article:

...there is evidence that the thin layer disposal will impact Dungeness crabs during the molting stage of their lifecycle. It is during molting (softshell) that they are most vulnerable to burying-related mortality from dredge material: Molting crabs do not crawl out from under the new sediments and thus perish; non-molting (hardshell) crabs are more apt to crawl out.

We received a comment on the above statement from John Malek, of EPA’s Region 10 Sediment Management Program. According to Malek:

There is suspicion, but no evidence either way that the thin layer disposal would impact molted crabs. That is why the crab study is being done in La Jolla this summer. We believe that spot dumping would impact molted crabs (though again there is no evidence) and expect that the thin-layer placement would not.



A graph of the seven strongest most recent El Niño events since 1950, and of the seven strongest La Niña events since 1949, including the most recent event, can be found below. On August 11, 1998, the Climate Prediction Center/National Centers for Environmental Prediction issued the following El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) "Cold Phase" Diagnostic Advisory:

Cold (La Niña) episode conditions continued to develop in the equatorial Pacific during July, as negative sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies strengthened in the central Pacific. SSTs along the equator were more than 2ºC below average between 130ºW and 160ºW...The rapid cooling that occurred during May in the central equatorial Pacific was replaced in July by a more gradual cooling, which is slightly greater than the average seasonal rate in the central equatorial Pacific and close to the average seasonal rate in the eastern equatorial Pacific...Consistent with the strengthening negative SST anomalies, the oceanic thermocline remained much shallower than average in the east-central equatorial Pacific, with subsurface temperatures as much as 8ºC below average. Accompanying these conditions, low-level equatorial easterlies were stronger than average over the western and central Pacific and near average over the eastern Pacific. Also, the SOI [Southern Oscillation Index] became significantly positive (+1.3) for the first time since early 1997.

The latest NCEP coupled model predictions indicate strengthening cold episode conditions in the tropical Pacific during the remainder of 1998, with cold episode conditions continuing through the boreal spring 1999. Other statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate a similar evolution.


How does the 1997/98 event compare against the six previous biggest El Niño events since 1950? The first three events (1957/58, 65/66, and 72/73) all featured early warming in the far eastern Pacific and reached their standardized peak by the end of the first year. The more recent events (1982/83, 86/87, and 91/92) took longer to mature, lacking the early warming in the eastern Pacific, and typically reached their peak in the spring of the second year or even later. During 1997, the latest El Niño event had more in common with the first three events than the more recent events. During 1998, the latest event has occasionally resembled the 1982/83 El Niño, but is now fading fast. Its peak values of nearly +2.9 in July/August 1997 and February/March 1998 have only been surpassed in early 1983 (for further discussion go to the recent anomaly maps). Source: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/~kew/MEI/#comparison


The 1997/98 El Niño event has now dropped below any reasonable threshold for El Niño conditions, so we are back to near neutral for the first time since March/April 1997. Its duration above 2 sigma (a full year, from May/June 1997 through April/May 1998) surpassed the 1982/83 benchmark of nine bi-monthly seasons. The recent drop of the MEI [Multivariate ENSO Index] is every bit as unprecedented in its size as the rise towards El Niño conditions one year ago. Given the consensus of publicly available forecasts for La Niña conditions by the end of 1998, we are including a comparison figure of historic La Niña events since 1949. As in the El Niño category, only strong events (above 1.4 sigma) are included in this comparison figure. Note how all big La Niña events got off to an early start - if we are to witness a strong one this year, the transition would have to continue awfully fast. Source: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/ ~kew/MEI/#comparison





On July 29, 1998, the Federal Energy Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) offered a license to Tacoma Power for the operation of the heretofore unlicensed Cushman hydroelectric project facilities located on the North Fork of the Skokomish River and Skokomish Reservation. Conditions of the 40-year license include increasing river flow in the North Fork to 229 cubic feet per second (28% of historic flows). The Skokomish Tribe, the State of Washington, federal agencies, conservation groups (e.g. American Rivers), and Tacoma Power are all unhappy with the license requirements.

BACKGROUND: The licensing process for the Cushman project’s hydroelectric facilities goes back to 1974, when Tacoma Public Utilities submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Skokomish River Basin was once the biggest producer of salmon in the Hood Canal Basin of Puget Sound. These stocks have been reduced to critically low numbers and some have been lost forever. The South Fork Skokomish watershed has been seriously degraded by forest practices. The North Fork, historically the most productive, has been impacted by hydroelectric development.

In 1930, the City of Tacoma completed the Cushman Project (consisting of two dams) which blocked fish passage to 84 percent of the North Fork Skokomish watershed. Until 1988, the project diverted the entire North Fork of the watershed to a remote power plant. Since 1988, the project has released flows of only 30 cubic feet per second (cfs), or about 4 percent of the river’s natural average annual flow.


Gordon James, Tribal Chairman, Skokomish Tribe said the environmental safeguards proposed by FERC are "totally inadequate to protect the Tribe and the general public." In addition, according to James*:

The FEIS mentions but otherwise ignores the Commission’s trust/fiduciary responsibility to the Skokomish Tribe, and ignores the Commission’s duty under section 4(e) of the Federal Power Act to ensure any license issued the City is consistent with the purposes of the Skokomish Indian Reservation

The FEIS persists in applying relicense rules to project facilities the Commission admits have never previously been licensed, thus forever evading original licensing provisions of the Federal Power Act.

The FEIS uses existing unlicensed, unregulated project-degraded environmental conditions as the baseline for analysis, and then inappropriately uses continuation of unlicensed, unregulated project operations [rather than no license] as the "no-action" alternative, thus "disappearing" all continuing project adverse environmental impacts and creating misleading illusion that marginal changes in severely degraded conditions protect tribal and general public interests.

The FEIS persists in using the DEIS [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] double standard of economic evaluation that egregiously biases the analysis in favor of Tacoma and against the Tribe and general public. "Net benefit" of licensing is defined as the economic benefit to Tacoma, which would be obtained at the continued expense of the Tribe and general public.

*Source: July 28 letter to David P. Boergers, Acting Secretary, Federal Energy Commission from Gordon James, Tribal Chariman, Skokomish Tribe.

On the other side of the issue, Tacoma Power and Light is fearful that the license requirements will cause the utility to lose money as compared to current operations. According to Steve Klein, Utility Superintendent for Tacoma Power and Light:

This is truly frustrating. On one hand Congress is pushing electric utilities into a new, competitive market...while on the other hand actions like this will make our power too expensive to sell. (Source: Ross Anderson, Seattle Times, 07/30/98)

NOW WHAT: On July 29, 1998, the Skokomish Tribe announced that they would challenge the license issues by FERC for the Cushman project and file claims in federal court against the federal government and the City of Tacoma for economic damage** to the Tribe. The Tribe has asked FERC to reconsider the license (via a rehearing) and revise the environmental requirements. Federal agencies (Departments of Interior, Commerce and the Environmental protection Agency) and the State of Washington are also asking FERC to reconsider the license.

Tacoma Power has also asked for a rehearing on the license. A decision on whether to grant a rehearing could take several months, however, regardless of whether a hearing is granted or not, expect more court action.

For Further Information Contact Vic Martino, Skokomish Tribe at (206) 842-5386; John McEachern of FERC at (202) 219-3056.

(**Note: In a July 1998 study, the Tribe release the report "Estimated Economic Damage to the Skokomish Indian Tribe From Unregulated Construction and Operation of the City of Tacoma’s Cushman Hydroelectric Project, 1926-1997." The report, prepared by consultants Ed Chaney and Victor Martino, says that the economic damage of the project over time is at a minimum of $5.7 billion. Much of that loss (~$1.48 billion) is attributed to loss of production potential in the North Fork Skokomish River.)



The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is revising the rules for mineral prospecting and placer mining as required by Substitute House Bill 1565, which was passed in 1997 by the state legislature. Five public workshops, listed below, will be held throughout the state in September and October. Details of the proposed changes to the rules will be explained and public comments on the changes will be taken at the workshops.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: In October, following the workshops, the Department will submit the draft rules to the Washington Code Revisor’s Office for publication.

Written comment on the draft rules will then be accepted by the Department. Public testimony will be solicited at the December Commission meeting prior to rule adoption. The Mineral Prospecting Rules Public Workshop schedule is listed below.

For Further Information: A preliminary draft of the rules is available online at http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/hab/goldfish.htm, by calling (360) 902-2534, or by mailing a written request to:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Habitat and Lands Services Program
600 Capitol Way North
Olympia, Washington 98501-1091


The Mineral Prospecting Rules Public Workshop schedule is as follows:

City, State




Vancouver WA

September 21, 1998

6 - 10 pm

Clark College
1800 E McLoughlin Blvd., Foster Auditorium

Des Moines WA

September 22, 1998

6 - 10 pm

Highline Community College
2400 S 240th St, Building 7

Olympia WA

September 24, 1998

6 - 10 pm

Natural Resources Building
1111Washington St SE, Room 172

Spokane WA

October 7, 1998

6 - 10 pm

Spokane Falls Community College
Student Union Building
3410 W Fort George Wright Drive, Lounge A & B

Ellensburg WA

October 8, 1998

6 - 10 pm

Hal Holmes Community Center
201 N Ruby, Auditorium



In June, the Washington Department of Ecology released its biannual list of waterways receiving some pollution as required by Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (See page 9 for listed watersheds). The list identifies 636 lakes, streams and estuaries in Washington as not meeting water-quality standards.

As required by the federal Clean Water Act, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) submitted the list to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval. "The amount of polluted water in our state is simply unacceptable," said Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons. "We need clean water for our human population, as well as for fish, wildlife and many economic uses. Our entire quality of life is in question."

According to Ecology:

Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, every two years, Ecology is required to prepare a list of waters not meeting standards. Ecology puts water bodies on the list that either do not meet standards currently or which are not expected to meet standards within two years, and more needs to be done to control pollution. Water quality standards are measurements to indicate whether the water can be used for activities such as recreation, industry, fish and aquatic life habitat and drinking water.

Since last August, Ecology has been compiling the list with information from more than 60 industries, local and state governments, Indian tribes and others. Of the 1,099 water bodies that Ecology considered, 636 are on the final list—about 2 percent of the waters in Washington.

The list indicates that the primary water quality problems are temperature and fecal coliform bacteria. Both problems are generally associated with "nonpoint-source" pollution, which comes from many, diffuse sources.

By far, temperature is the most prominent water quality problem for the water bodies, with 315 waters listed due to temperature problems. Elevated water temperature generally occurs in areas where loggers or developers have removed trees for timber harvesting or land development, taking away shade that is necessary to keep the water temperature low and healthy for fish.

Excessive amounts of fecal coliform bacteria were found in 288 of the waters on the list. It is found in sewage and animal waste, such as failing septic systems and improperly managed dairy-cattle waste.

NOW WHAT: The EPA is reviewing Washington’s 303(d) list. The list of polluted waters is also used for developing and implementing water cleanup plans. These plans, which also must be approved by EPA, must include an analysis of how much pollution a lake, river, or marine water can receive and still remain healthy. The plans also identify sources of pollution, and how much is coming from each. In addition, they require management plans be developed to curtail inputs from these sources.

Below is the 1998 Section 303(d) List (by Water Resource Inventory Area) for the State of Washington. An example of a map showing segments within the Duwamish-Green Watershed (78 KB) where pollution problems were identified.

  • Nooksack Watershed
  • San Juan Watershed
  • Lower Skagit-Samish Watershed
  • Upper Skagit Watershed
  • Stillaguamish Watershed
  • Island Watershed
  • Snohomish Watershed
  • Cedar-Sammamish Watershed
  • Duwamish-Green Watershed
  • Puyallup-White Watershed
  • Nisqually Watershed
  • Chambers-Clover Watershed
  • Deschutes Watershed
  • Kennedy-Goldsborough Watershed
  • Kitsap Watershed
  • Skokomish-Dosewallips Watershed
  • Quilcene-Snow Watershed
  • Elwha-Dungeness Watershed
  • Lyre-Hoko Watershed
  • Solduc-Hoh Watershed
  • Queets-Quinault Watershed
  • Lower Chehalis Watershed
  • Upper Chehalis Watershed
  • Willapa Watershed
  • Grays-Elokoman Watershed
  • Cowlitz Watershed
  • Lewis Watershed
  • Salmon-Washougal Watershed
  • Wind-White Watershed
  • Klickitat Watershed
  • Rock-Glade Watershed
  • Walla Walla Watershed
  • Lower Snake Watershed
  • Palouse Watershed
  • Middle Snake Watershed
  • Esquatzel Coulee Watershed
  • Lower Yakima Watershed
  • Naches Watershed
  • Upper Yakima Watershed
  • Alkali-Squilchuck Watershed)
  • Lower Crab Watershed
  • Grande Coulee Watershed)
  • Upper Crab-Wilson Watershed
  • Moses Coulee Watershed
  • Wenatchee Watershed
  • Entiat Watershed
  • Chelan Watershed
  • Methow Watershed
  • Okanogan Watershed
  • Foster Watershed
  • Nespelem Watershed
  • Sanpoil Watershed
  • Lower Lake Roosevelt Watershed
  • Lower Spokane Watershed
  • Little Spokane Watershed
  • Hangman Watershed
  • Middle Spokane Watershed
  • Middle Lake Roosevelt Watershed
  • Colville Watershed
  • Kettle Watershed
  • Upper Lake Roosevelt Watershed
  • Pend Oreille Watershed

For Information about waters listed in Washington State contact Alison Beckett, (360) 406-6456, or visit Ecology’s web site at http://www.wa.gov/ecology/wq/ 303d.




On August 3, 1998, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Oregon Coast Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU) as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The action comes after U.S. Magistrate Janice M. Stewart ruled in June that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s April 1997 decision not to list Oregon coastal coho had no legal basis. In her ruling, the judge said that "NMFS was unwilling to make the hard choices required by the ESA," and that:

Neverless, for the same reason that the Secretary [of Commerce] may not rely on the future actions, he should not be able to rely on unenforceable efforts. Absent some method of enforcing compliance, protection of a species could never be assured. Voluntary actions,like those planned in the future, are necessarily speculative...Therefore, voluntary or future conservation efforts by a state should be given no weight in the listing decision. Instead, the NMFS must base its decision on current, enforceable measures.

BACKGROUND: In April 1997, instead of listing the Oregon Coast coho salmon under the Endangered Species Act, the federal government postponed the listing and struck an agreement with the State of Oregon to implement its Coastal Salmon Restoration Initiative (CSRI or the Oregon Plan). A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Oregon and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) established the terms and conditions for the collaborative process during implementation of the Coastal Salmon Restoration Initiative.

Some of those terms and conditions included the establishment of an Independent Multidisiplinary Science Team (IMST) to ensure use of the best scientific information available as the basis for implementation of and for adaptive changes in the CSRI. Also last year, the Oregon Board of Forestry set up the ad hoc Forest Practices MOA Advisory Committee (MOA Committee) to evaluate forest practices concerns outlined in the Memorandum of Agreement and make specific recommendations to the Board of Forestry by the Fall of 1998. The MOA Committee was comprised of the timber industry, fishing groups (Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations), Environmental groups (Oregon Trout, Portland Audubon Society), and others.

To fund the CSRI, in February 1997, the state legislature approved $32 million—$13.6 million dollars coming from forest landowners (raised through Timber Harvest Tax funds)—a portion of these monies has been distributed to watershed groups for restoration projects.

However, the Earth Justice Legal Defense Foundation, representing environmental (e.g., Oregon Natural Resources Council, Native Fish Society, Portland Audubon Society) and fishing groups (Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations), sued NMFS over the decision not to list. The groups contended that the Plan’s reliance on voluntary measures would not stop poor land use practices, and that enforceable measures were needed as provided under the Endangered Species Act.


Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said:

The point of the Oregon Plan was never simply to avoid a listing, it was to help recover coastal coho. That’s what our plan does and we are going to do everything we can to implement it. A listing does not change the fact that Oregon’s Plan for Salmon and Watersheds is the best way to recover these fish. We will proceed to demonstrate that state conservation efforts with locally developed solutions and voluntary contributions can work. And we will continue to work as cooperatively as possible with our federal partners.

Terry Garcia, U.S. Commerce Department’s assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere, commented:

We are steadfast in our commitment to the people and resources of Oregon and we look forward to working with Governor Kitzhaber in implementing the elements of the Oregon plan. Now, more than ever, we’ve got to stay focused on the goal of salmon preservation and habitat restoration. We will continue to explore and develop cooperative efforts with states and regional authorities in order to protect and restore our natural resources.

William Stelle, Jr., regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Northwest Regional office, had this to say:

Certainly June’s court ruling won’t force us to change our fundamental position that steady and effective implementation of the Oregon salmon plan is the right thing to do. It was good for the fish last year and it remains good for the fish today. We look forward to the continuing hard work of the many people who are making this landmark effort a reality, notwithstanding the order of the district court or today’s action.

NOW WHAT: The listing decision for Oregon coastal coho becomes effective October 9. As a result of the listing, $6 million of future funding collected from the Timber Harvest Tax will not be forthcoming. However, according to an August 3 press release from the Governor’s office, industrial timber growers have voted to support reinstating the timber tax to provide funds despite the listing action by NMFS. New sources of funding to replace the shortfall could be instituted if there is a special session of the Oregon Legislature this Fall.

In the press release, Kitzhaber also stated:

We will continue to look for federal dollars now that a listing has occurred, but the core support for the recovery plan will continue to come from Oregon.

In addition, the State of Oregon and the National Marine Fisheries Service are currently reassessing their working relationship for coho recovery. Reports are that the Governor will issue an executive order in the near future, spelling out the post-listing state-federal relationship.

For Further Information, visit the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds’ home page, located at http://www.oregon-plan.org, or contact Roy Hemingway of the Governor’s Office at (503) 378-3548.




At its May meeting, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission passed a policy statement endorsing the "natural river option" as the best method for recovering Idaho salmon and steelhead.

BACKGROUND: By late 1999, the Clinton Administration has said that it will choose a long term plan to restore Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead. (For a listing of West Coast anadromous salmonid species protected under the Endangered Species Act, including Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead, please refer to http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/1protres/1pg898.pdf Source: NMFS, Northwest Region.) NMFS’ decision will include how many salmon and steelhead are to be left in-river versus transported by truck or barge.

Variables to be considered could include dam removal, reservoir drawdown, dam modifications (including adult passage improvements), and juvenile bypass improvements (including spilling the fish over the dams). Conservation groups contend that fish barging is a proven failure over the last 20 years, and the scientific consensus for restoring salmon is more natural river conditions. On the other side of the issue, industries that depend on the Columbia River’s electricity and transportation system say that the spill program is doing more harm than good, that harvest rates on Idaho chinook are too high, and that the benefits of barging fish are underestimated.

In its May 8, policy statement, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission said:

At this time, based on available information, the Commission considers the "natural river option" to be the best biological choice among 1999 Decision Point options for recovery of Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead. Available information indicates that the natural river option is the only option that can meet Commission recovery standards, defined as a normative river providing 2-6% smolt-to-adult survival for inriver migrants. Therefore, the Commission supports continued state and regional consideration of the natural river option so that a fully informed decision can be made by the region in 1999.

The Commission recognizes some outside disagreement that smolt transportation has not compensated for adverse impacts of the dams. The Commission directs staff to continue working in PATH [Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses] and other regional forums to help refine and analyze options and ensure the 1999 Decision Point is not deferred. If the regional process finds convincing new evidence or develops new alternative recovery plans, the Commission will evaluate that information to determine if recovery of Idaho’s salmon and steelhead can be accomplished.

The Commission is committed to giving the natural river option and all others the best possible consideration through the 1999 Decision Point process. This will require an open and active discussion of social, economic and political issues, and a thorough assessment of social and economic mitigation options to best preserve Idaho’s interests.

The Commission directs the Department to make a preliminary assessment of "next best" strategies both as to interim applicability and fall-back in the event the natural river option is not adopted. At this time, the Commission does not consider Snake River spillway crest drawdown or large-scale flow augmentation to be viable long term recovery options.

REACTION: The conservation group, Idaho Rivers United (IRU) called the unanimous Commission decision "a stunning victory for fish advocates." Despite opposition to the policy statement from dam supporters (e.g. aluminum companies, water users, grain growers), IRU said the Commission:

...refused to buckle under tremendous political pressure to further delay a decision," and had finally "embraced the science of its own department and set a precedent by separating biology from politics.

For Further Information Contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 334-3700; Idaho Rivers United at (208) 343-7481.

IN RELATED NEWS: on August 21, 1998 the Idaho Department of Fish and Game issued the following news release:

Correcting an error in scientific information on salmon recovery has strengthened the Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s position in favor of "natural river" migration.

Anadromous Fisheries Biologist Ed Bowles explained to the Commission earlier this month that scientists working in the Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses (PATH) had corrected an error in one study that has made smolt transportation appear a favorable option for recovering Idaho’s salmon runs. Path has studied two approaches to salmon recovery—one called CriSP that favors smolt transportation (barging) and another with the acronym FLUSH, under which the natural river choice is more favorable to salmon.

With this correction in the science, the natural river option outperforms smolt transportation no matter which model—CRiSP or FLUSH—is used.

"The natural river option is now the best biological choice regardless of which aggregate hypothesis (model) is used." Bowles told the Commission. "The natural river option is the only recovery strategy that is robust for the fish under both aggregate hypotheses and a variety of assumptions."

Bowles said later that "these results strongly counter those claiming ‘there is no guarantee that the natural river option will save the fish.’ The natural river option shows a remarkable likelihood of success no matter which side of the scientific debate you are on. The veil of scientific uncertainty is getting thinner and thinner."




The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is requesting proposals for fishery restoration work throughout California. Because of legal constraints on expenditure of funds allocated for this work, emphasis for funding will be on proposals for restoration of salmon and steelhead. Work to be considered for funding includes:

  1. In-stream Habitat Restoration;
  2. Watershed and Riparian Habitat Restoration;
  3. Watershed Evaluation, Assessment, and Planning, including Multi-year Grants for Watershed Planning;
  4. Project Maintenance and Monitoring following Project Implementation, including Multi-year Grants for Project Monitoring and Evaluation;
  5. Watershed Organization Support and Assistance;
  6. Private Sector Technical Training and Education Project Grants;
  7. California Forest Incentive Program (CFIP) Projects meeting CFIP Guidelines;
  8. Cooperative Fish Rearing;
  9. Public Education, including Watershed and Fishery Conservation Education Projects.

FINAL WORKSHOP: The final public workshop to assist the public in preparation of proposals will be held September 9, 1998, at the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters Office in Yreka, 1312 Bear Lane Road, in the Fir Room.

For Further information Contact Mary Brawner of DFG’s Coastal Watershed Restoration Program at (916) 654-5628. Or visit their website at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/dfghome.html and click on "Salmon and Steelhead Restoration RFP."




The Society for Ecological Restoration’s Northwest Chapter Conference (SERNW) and Annual Meeting, titled "Ecosystem Restoration: Turning the Tide," will take place October 28-30, 1998, at the Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center in Tacoma, Washington.

According to the conference sponsors, the 1998 SERNW Annual Meeting will explore a wide range of issues that will set the restoration agenda in "Cascadia" for years to come. Over 17 general sessions will be held covering restoration topics relating to forest, prairies, estuaries, beaches and dunes, wetlands, and wilderness, as well as sessions on watershed planning, restoration philosophy, education, volunteerism, geographic information systems, and tribal perspectives.

Costs: The cost for the three day event ranges from $145-$265. Conference fees are discounted if you register before September 23.

For Further Information about the conference, contact Sono Hashisaki, Conference Co-Chair and Program Coordinator at (206) 545-1117 or visit the SERNW web site at http:www.halcyon.com/sernw/.


Announcing the Fifty-First
of the
Agenda items include panels on marine sanctuaries and reserves, and the future of fisheries.
Sun Valley, Idaho
October 11-14, 1998
Valley of the Sun Lodge
For Further Information Contact PSMFC at (503) 650-5400





The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality could restrict grazing on those streams that are designated as "water quality limited" under the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act’s Section 303(d) program requires each state to identify streams, rivers and lakes that do not meet water quality standards (see related story on page 8). These waters are referred to as "water quality limited" and states are required to establish a list of these waters—referred to as the 303(d) list. The 1996 ruling has been applied only to grazing in Oregon, but could have been extended to such activities as logging and mining on federal lands.

However, in its ruling, the appeals court said the federal Clean Water Act authorizes states to require permits only for "point sources" of water pollution, like pipes, and not for non-point sources, such as runoff from cattle grazing or other agricultural operations. The appeals court said that states can regulate non-point source pollution only indirectly, through water pollution control plans that are federally funded and require Environmental Protection Agency approval. Conservation groups who filed the original 1996 suit may appeal this most recent decision to the Supreme Court. (Source: in part, Bob Egelko, The Associated Press).


According to the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations:

Reauthorization of the Trinity Program is necessary for the fulfillment of an effort more than two decades old aimed at restoring the salmon and other fish and wildlife of this great western river. Restoration of the Trinity salmon runs is critical to the permanent reestablishment of the commercial salmon fishery along the north coast of California and south coast of Oregon; it is important for the ocean and in-river recreational fishery; it is necessary for tribal subsistence and commercial fisheries and for the economic health of this basin.

However, chances for passage for the legislation appear dim. On 07/29/98, the Eureka, California newspaper, The Times Standard, reported a spokesman for Representative Riggs said that that reauthorization legislation has no chance to pass Congress this year.

Using innovative technology, such as "pop-off" satellite and archival tags and recently developed sea pen systems, Drs. Barbara Block and Heidi Dewar of the Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, and Charles Farwell of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, are initiating a major interdisciplinary study of the PACIFIC BLUEFIN TUNA, both in captivity and in the wild. Their work is being funded by the California Sea Grant College System, with matched funding provided by the Packard Foundation.

Studies of long-term movement patterns and behavior in the wild will complement studies of captive populations. Twenty-eight tuna will be implanted with pop-off satellite tags capable of storing information. At a predetermined time, these tags detach from the fish and float to the surface where they transmit stored data to a satellite. The tags will provide a continuous record of DEPTH AND WATER TEMPERATURE, as well as position estimates at least several times per week.

For further information contact California Sea Grant at (619) 534-4444.



For further information call the Alaska Forest Association at (907) 225-6114, or visit their web site at http://www. akforest.org/.

The state of Alaska and conservation groups oppose the mine, fearing tailings could harm water quality in the nearby salmon- producing waterways that flow from Canada into Alaska. The Taku river supports production of one of the largest populations of salmon in southeast Alaska (about one million pink, 400,000 coho, 300,000 sockeye, 50,000 chum, and over 100,000 chinook salmon ). In March, the conservation group American Rivers listed the Taku as one of its most endangered rivers of 1998.

Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked the International Joint Commission (IJC)—the bilateral body aimed at resolving transboundary water disputes between the US and Canada—to conduct an independent review of the project.

Also, British Columbia recently responded to concerns about the project, as posed by the State of Alaska and federal resource agencies. On 08/28/98, the U.S. Department of State continued to express concerns about the project. In a letter addressing the Canadians response to the earlier request for information on the mine’s environmental impacts, Victor Comris (of the State Department) said:

We continue to believe that a reference to the U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission to review the proposed mine is now the appropriate step. In our view, the Commission review process would have the merit of reconciling differences between the U.S. and the Canadian project review processes. Such an IJC review would ensure that all issues are addressed to the satisfaction of both sides. In addition, it would provide invaluable assistance to our two nations’ consultations on how the U.S. and Canada can collaborate in managing this transboundary watershed in the century to come.

Your Government has proposed holding a second government-to-government discussion of the outstanding issues. We remain open to such a suggestion. In addition to reviewing these issues, however, we would hope that such a meeting would also begin the process of framing a reference requesting that the International Joint Commission review the proposed mine, its environmental impact, and the future of the watershed.


In an unprecedented agreement signed today (Saturday), two Washington state public utility districts, the federal government, the state, a leading environmental organization and several Indian tribes will embark on a process intended to lead to a 50-year agreement to protect Columbia River steelhead and salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The agreement marks the first time the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency charged with protecting salmon and steelhead, has proposed to enter into such an arrangement with an electric-generating facility. That arrangement, which could be completed in final form as early as the end of next year, is known as a habitat conservation plan or HCP.

The no-net-impact commitment requires the two electric-dam operators—Chelan and Douglas county public utility districts in mid-Washington—to meet a standard of 91 percent survival for juvenile and adult salmon passing through three dams [Wells, Rocky Reach, and Rock Island] and their reservoirs. In addition to the 91-percent overall survival rate, 95 percent of juveniles passing through each dam must survive.

To achieve the no-net-impact goal from the 91-percent base survival rate, both the state and several Indian tribes will offset seven percent "unavoidable" loss of fish at the dams through hatchery production. The remaining two percent will come from increased productivity of wild stocks expected from improvements in tributary habitat on the mid- Columbia. A "tributary habitat conservation fund" will be established to accumulate almost $50 million over the lifetime of the HCP. The fund will be used to improve habitat along Columbia River tributaries and to get more fish to survive passage past the dams. The HCP must still go through the National Environmental Policy Act process, expected to take about 18 to 24 months. NEPA provides a public review of proposed federal actions that may affect the environment.

For further information contact Brian Gorman of the National Marine Fisheries Service at (206) 526-6613.

According to Mike Ostwald, habitat biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The sudden release of silt-filled water from the dam and the cut-off of the river’s flow probably killed large numbers of juvenile coho, chinook and steelhead and destroyed fish eggs. The department is currently assessing how many small salmon and steelhead were destroyed. In addition, several miles of the Wishkah River nearly went dry for approximately four hours while repairs were made on the dam.

According to Ecology, the incident seriously spoiled water quality and fish habitat in the Wishkah River and was the second harmful release of sediments from the dam in two years. The first release (in the spring of 1997) killed 30,000 wild coho and chinook salmon in the Mahr Brothers Hatchery, operated by the group Long Live the Kings.

In addition to the $10,000 fine, Ecology issued an administrative order that directs the city to:

Reports are that the City of Aberdeen has appealed the fine, and that Ecology and the City are trying to negotiate a settlement.


To All Parties Interested in Submitting Watershed Restoration Proposals:

The Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) are pleased to announce the availability of Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 funds from three watershed restoration programs in southern Oregon and northern California. Anyone is eligible to apply for these watershed restoration funds.

All three programs are included in this package to improve efficiency and to streamline the process for applicants and the federal agencies. Project proposals may be funded by one or more of the following programs: 1) USFWS Jobs-In-The-Woods Restoration Program (~$670,000); 2) USFWS Hatfield Restoration Program (~$900,000 including ~$50,000 for information and education projects); and 3) USBR Klamath Area office Restoration Program (~$250,000). Each program has different goals and eligibility requirements for funding and are explained within the color coded sections of this application package.

Applications must be postmarked OR received at the Klamath Basin Ecosystem Restoration Office BY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1998. Questions should be directed to Curt Mullis, Akimi King, Terri Campbell, Sue Mattenberger or Faye Weekley at (541) 885-8481 in Klamath Falls; Paula Golightly at (707) 822-7201 in Arcata; Patricia Bratcher at (530) 527-3043 in Red Bluff; or Monica Maghini at (530) 842-5763 in Yreka. This Request for Proposals package is available on the Internet...

...there is an urgent need for a systematic and comprehensive review of ocean and coastal policies and programs. Unless action is taken now, significant benefits to the economy and quality of life will be lost, and the United States will fall behind other nations in using and conserving the oceans and their resources.

The report may be viewed on the Heinz Center’s web site at http://www.heinzctr.org. Copies are also available from NOAA by calling (202) 482-6090.

A climate shift is imminent in the northeast Pacific Ocean, research suggests, and may have a major impact on marine resources, particularly Pacific salmon. Scientists anticipate that the shift, driven by large-scale changes in the Earth’s atmospheric wave pattern, will become evident in the next few years. The most recent shift, characterized by a switch from cold and wet conditions to warm and dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, occurred in 1977.

The expected climate shift is suggested by studies of oscillations in ocean surface water drift and in tree-ring records. Drift trajectories, derived from a new measure of decadal variability, showed well-defined oscillations in the 20th century, but researchers were concerned that this decadal nature might not be as evident over a considerably longer time. Thus because of the possible rarity of the 30-year interval since the last climate shift, tree-ring width data was scrutinized for the western juniper for the period from 1500 to 1900 A.D.

Previous studies have demonstrated that past climate shifts have had major impacts on regional marine resources...[numerous authors have] found this especially the case for the Pacific salmon. A physical-biological link between salmon production and atmospheric pressure patterns has been hypothesized... According to new research, the projected climate shift would favor increased salmon runs in the Columbia River and decreased runs in Alaska.


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., to (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 to Stephen_Phillips@psmfc.org. Editorial assistance and layout by Liza Bauman. Date of Issue: 09/03/98.