A NW EnerNet News Service of Energy NewsData

NW FISHLETTER
Fish.Net Search NW Fishweb Fishletter Archives NW Fishletter Links

NWF.124/May.17.2001
[1] BPA's Spill Strategy Off Again, On Again
[2] Agreement Reached Over Excess Methow Hatchery Fish
[3] States, Tribes Called On To Help Implement Hydro BiOp
[4] High Priority Projects Get Funding
[5] Updated Extinction Study Excludes Abundant Years

Fishletter Readers: Get automatic e-mail notification whenever a new issue comes up on line. Comments? Advice? Give feedback to the editor.


[1] BPA's SPRING SPILL STRATEGY OFF AGAIN, ON AGAIN

Facing the second lowest water year on record, and plagued by uncertainty over water supply forecasts, BPA has spent weeks reviewing the possibility of spilling water in May to aid fish passage in the lower Columbia River. The strategy was firmly in limbo by May 11, after the agency failed to get most Basin tribes and the state of Montana to support a spill swap with a mid-Columbia utility at a May 11 federal execs' meeting, even though the Power Planning Council voted for the swap that same day.

However, a few days later, Acting BPA Administrator Steve Wright told Council members meeting in Helena that spill could be initiated as early as the evening of May 16, because of excess water coming out of the lower Snake from snowmelt and no place to store it. He said BPA was filing a letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency explaining a possible spill swap plan with Grant PUD, which operates Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams on the mainstem Columbia above Tri-Cities. At 6 pm that night, spill started at two lower Columbia dams.

The spill saga began in earnest after Wright committed to a review at the April 27 meeting of the Federal Caucus in Portland, where federal execs heard a scathing speech from Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber. The Governor said the agency was not living up to its moral and legal obligations to put fish issues on an equal footing with other considerations--namely, power.

Though Wright successfully rebutted some of Kitzhaber's points, he said BPA's financial picture had improved and that the agency was considering purchasing power and spilling water in May. He also said a decision would by made by May 4.

But by May 3, BPA was still working on a status report on the spill issue. According to a draft version of the memo, the agency posed a simple question--can some measure of spill be provided and remain consistent with three main criteria?

The three criteria were: (1) less than a 5 percent chance of the Northwest having insufficient generation; (2) sufficient generation to preserve the near-term reliability of the power system over the next 12 months; and (3) at least an 80 percent chance that BPA's financial reserves over the next 12 months will be sufficient to make needed power purchases and fund other activities such as programs to protect, mitigate and enhance fish and wildlife.

Water Supply Outlook Hinges on Canada

BPA said a key consideration was how much water will show by the end of June. That question was discussed at the May 3 Implementation Team meeting in Portland where NWPPC staffer John Fazio explained a preliminary update of his earlier power analysis. Though he cautioned the group that his numbers had not yet been reviewed, it seemed likely that if the region had implemented all BiOp spill and flow augmentation this year, the hydro system would be about 3000 MW short for May.

Though Fazio hasn't completed phase two of his analysis--the estimation of power curtailment from proposed emergency hydro actions--BiOp spill and flow augmentation make up about 1350 MW-MOs, which would leave the system 1650 MW short for the month of May.

Other questions remained as well, Fazio said. One big one was whether the basin would experience an early or late runoff. Another was the state of Canadian reservoirs--if they were filling in July and August, that could effectively cancel out any new generation (1000-2000 MW), additional load reduction and voluntary conservation measures taken by the region.

"Relative" Benefits

BPA had included a graph in its spill memo that NMFS had rolled out at the April 27 meeting to show fish benefits from BiOp spill vs. no or less spill for upper and mid-Columbia River salmon and steelhead (some will be barged from McNary), and other stocks that migrate from areas too low in the system to be barged.

Ostensibly to show "relative change" in inriver survival from BiOp spill for some listed stocks, the NMFS analysis showed only a 2 percent survival difference for upper Columbia spring chinook if BiOp spill (1350 MW-MO) was reduced to 800 MW-MO.

If spill volume was cut to 400 MW-MO, "relative" survival would only go down by three percent, meaning survival below Bonneville Dam would drop from 30 percent to 29 percent. The other stocks in the graph showed even less benefit. At $400/ per kWh, the spill would be worth over $100 million.

At the April 27 meeting, consultant Jim Litchfield, representing the state of Montana, pointed out that the spill benefits seemed meager compared to the value of the spilled water, but NMFS policymaker Jim Ruff said Litchfield had misconstrued the graph. Later, Litchfield said that by measuring "relative survivals," NMFS made the value of spill look more valuable than it really is. With no spill, the agency's graph shows that inriver survival of the upper Columbia chinook would go down 12 percent (e.g., from 30 percent to 26.4 percent).

Others had expressed similar sentiments. The Public Power Council's Rob Walton told the Oregonian April 28 "there is no evidence that spilling water significantly helps salmon."

But, as the BPA memo said, "what happens next?" It reported that a team made up of NWPPC staff, states, tribes, and federal agencies had been set up to determine where and when spill would be most effective. And since so many juvenile fish were migrating in May, the memo called that the prime month for spill.

"There is a strong commitment to help fish," said the memo. "The administrator must determine if BPA can do so without inappropriate risk to reliability and financial stability while taking into consideration the possible consequences of fish."

NMFS' Ruff told IT members that BPA and the federal agencies were looking for 400 MW-MOs of spill for about 30 days--hopefully beginning that week and continuing into the first week of June. The feds estimate that a 450 MW-MO spill in May would allow for a 30 percent spill at The Dalles and 50 Kcfs at Bonneville 24 hours a day.
Juvenile fish bypass pipes
at Bonneville's Powerhouse 2.

He said large numbers of juvenile steelhead had migrated out of the John Day River and were now in the mainstem Columbia, but no PIT-tagged fish from the upper Columbia had yet to be detected at McNary Dam.

"The decision has to be made soon," Ruff warned, noting that alternative scenarios were developed by the spill team for 200, 400, 600, and 800 MW-MO contingencies.

Meanwhile, BPA extended its emergency order to keep from spilling; barging fish was in high gear at lower Snake dams and every other day at McNary while policymakers waited for the next water supply forecast, scheduled for May 8. Their own plan for operating the hydro system this year was scheduled to go into effect May 17. It called for no spill in May if January-July flows are below 60 MAF. The supply looked about 3 MAF short, but with more than $800 million in reserves, it seemed that BPA was prepared to shell out for some spill.

Spill Swap Discussed

But then word was out that BPA was working to swap load with Grant PUD, if Grant could get an OK from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to amend its operations and reduce spill at its own projects, a state of affairs some considered rather unlikely to happen.

The fish/spill situation left an observer from one private utility incredulous. He said the true costs are much more than just what BPA spends for power. "Don't they know for every kilowatt they have to buy on the spot market, the ripple effect on other utilities is hugely expensive?" But he shouldn't have worried. On May 4, BPA's Wright said he wouldn't spill if he couldn't get the power from Grant.

Grant sent a letter to FERC May 9 requesting a temporary variance to suspend spill at Priest Rapids through the summer fish migration season. In a quick turnaround, FERC issued a 14-day public comment notice the next day. The Power Planning Council has already sent a letter to FERC urging it to modify or eliminate spill programs at Mid-C dams this year.

But the utility said it would not reduce or stop spill unless it was able to get concurrence from government agencies and tribes, including Gov. Locke, NMFS, the NWPPC and the Yakama Tribe.

Grant said there were several management options for water that would otherwise be spilled--"depending on how the benefits are directed to address the region's salmon and power problems." Power could be generated and the revenue generated from it could pay for salmon protection costs or preventing increases in consumer power costs.

Another option would be to transfer spill--just what BPA was hoping for, so it could spill and have Grant produce the power it needed later. The Grant request to FERC pointed out that this could "also allow limited spill to be targeted for protection of endangered fish rather than nonlisted species."

The third option would be to store water for future fish or power flows. More water could be stored at Coulee or other upstream projects, the letter said, to help with fish or power problems next winter or spring.

Lower Columbia Tribes Object

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission called for BPA to get more aggressive about saving fish, but in a May 10 press release reiterated its objection to any spill swap with Grant. They called the strategy "an inappropriate and irresponsible trading of risk from one stock to another." CRITFC supported an 800 MW-month spill regime that would also spill water at John Day and McNary Dam.

Grant PUD spokesman Lon Topaz told NW Fishletter last week that the Colville Tribe has agreed not to object to the proposed variance, but it remained to be seen whether the Yakama Tribe would support it. "That's an issue between BPA and the tribe," he said, pointing out that just because CRITFC won't support the power swap didn't mean the Yakamas won't.

Topaz said his utility couldn't begin swapping power until the end of its spring spill program that ended June 1. "We can do that for them if they need it," he said of BPA. But with Grand Coulee refilling until the end of June, he said it was hard to predict how much power could be generated later this summer.

So far, Grant has been spilling under the terms of the MOA filed Sept. 13, 2000, but not yet acted upon by FERC. The new agreement calls for the PUD to spill considerably more water in the spring and summer, but it plans to fall back on its earlier order for summer spill because of the drought conditions. That Interim Order calls for Grant to spill enough water to ensure passage of 50 percent of the summer migrants over 80 percent of the run.

But would the spill swap really do much for fish? Another analysis from BPA was being circulated late last week in that estimated the 400 MW-month spring spill at lower Columbia projects could add 120 to 1,192 more returning adults to listed runs in the Columbia and Snake and from 1,000 to nearly 10,000 more returning non-listed spring fish.

No decision was made by Friday morning, when the federal execs met in Portland. The word was out that BPA wouldn't swap spill unless Wright could get a regional buyoff at the meeting. By then, the size of the May spill had been reduced to 300-MW-MO. Acting regional NMFS administrator Donna Darm spoke in support of the swap. She called BPA's efforts to develop a strategy "heroic."

As the discussion continued, it was evident that Grant may not be able to provide all 300 MW-MO that BPA may need, depending on how much the utility is allowed to spill this summer. Other NMFS staffers trotted out a chart that showed potential mortality to summer migrants (all non-listed) from not spilling at Grant projects, which could be as high as 150,000 fish, though they admitted that was probably an over-estimation.

Consultant Litchfield cautioned that potential benefits from the swap may still be so low--in the realm of only a percent or two of relative survival--as to be unresolvable with the tools used for evaluating the strategy. As the meeting progressed, with some parties on the phone, Wright allowed the parties to huddle before he called states and tribes to publicly state their positions. The Colville Tribe did not object to the swap, CRITFC did. The Yakamas weren't even on the line. But by then, neither was Washington state.

Wright, unable to get a consensus for the proposed operation, said if FERC filings showed substantial support for the swap, BPA might begin the spill before the two-week comment process ended.

Going With The Flow

But on the morning of May 16, he said spill might begin that very evening. Wright was in Helena, MT to address the Power Planning Council. He told them final agreements had been worked out with Grant PUD and NMFS and was prepared to file with FERC that day.

"Our view is that it appears we have support of many key parties in the region," Wright said, "and in addition, the system, this week, is operating in such a fashion that it looks like we have some excess energy. And we are now in the critical weeks for the juvenile salmon migrants."

He said the agency was assessing the situation and a decision could be made later in the day to proceed with some spill, going with the initial agreement that called for the strategy at The Dalles and Bonneville dams. Wright also said that if a spill strategy was somehow interrupted to help California this summer, they would pay a "premium" in addition to giving us more power back within 24 hours then we would send them initially.

"We think this makes sense, we think that this allows us to have the type of relationship that we want to have with California, which is [that] mutually beneficial transactions should take place. We should not 'island' these two systems, but we have also got it set up in such a way that returns of energy come quickly so that we are not put at risk by providing power to them."

Montana Council member Stan Grace said, though he's been quite vocal against spilling, he did see a benefit from the spill swap because the agreement with California does some good in terms of human welfare.

"Frankly, I have a problem if a traffic light causes a fatality, down there, the absence of a traffic light, because there's an emergency. How many fish is that worth up here? Those are tough decisions to make, and I think in an emergency time, I would much prefer to see Grant be able to curtail spill without transferring the spill over to Bonneville Power, and that's probably what I'll work towards. It's just that I'm really concerned about human welfare."

Wright said he understood Grace's concern. From the reliability side, he said they shared a common concern, pointing out that the system has not spilled any of the 2000 MW-MO of spill called for in the BiOp this April and May, and if they go ahead with the 300-MW-MO spill, it's a small fraction of what's specified.

"It's also of small benefit to the fish," Grace said. "I'm not in the compromise mode in a time of crisis."

Wright said he was "trying to balance the long-term exposures for ratepayers of the region, mitigation and litigation exposures, against the fish benefit, and taking into account reliability and financial solvency."

Wright said he tried to operate to the first rule of politics--"Don't surprise anybody"--but pointed out they do not control "when the water comes off the side of the hill." He said high flows in the Snake have produced more water then they know what to do with and these short-term operational decisions are not predictable. "And...we'll have to go with the flow, so to speak," he said.

But the next morning, May 17, after the spill strategy had begun, Grace said Wright had misrepresented BPA's agreement with Grant. With the tribes still going on record against reducing Grant spill later this summer, Grace said there's little chance that the utility could swap load with the federal agency.

In an e-mail sent to fellow Council members, Grace said, "We weren't informed yesterday of the conditions Grant PUD placed on their participation. If you examine closely you will see that the chances of Grant replacing power spilled by BPA are slim to none especially now that the BPA spill has started. I personally hope that the skill Mr. Wright may possess to provide an adequate and reliable power supply are equal to that which he appears to possess for duplicity." -Bill Rudolph


[2] AGREEMENT REACHED OVER EXCESS METHOW HATCHERY FISH

Controversy over returning hatchery spring chinook on the Methow River in northeast Washington state has been solved for one year. In 2001, with the record hatchery spring chinook run heading upriver, the state, NMFS and tribes have reached an agreement that will use all returning fish. An egg supply from local stocks will be gathered from areas where these fish are found.

"We think this agreement is consistent with what we have been trying to achieve in the Methow River for years," said NMFS spokesman Rob Jones. At issue is a dispute with tribes and local Methow residents over the NMFS policy against letting some non-native hatchery fish spawn naturally. Landowners and tribes want all the excess hatchery fish to spawn in the wild. They say that hatchery and native spring chinook in the upper Columbia River tributaries are the same.

Years of stocking Carson Hatchery (located on the lower Columbia) spring chinook, remnants of upriver Columbia and Snake spring runs, into these tributaries have not erased the wild stocks, however. There are still genetically distinct native spring chinook salmon found in the Methow River basin. And the native stock is listed as endangered under the ESA.

"The Twisp and Chewuck tributaries still contain spring chinook stocks that are distinct from the hatchery stocks," said Jones. He maintains that the Carson Hatchery fish do not survive very well and tend to spawn primarily near the hatcheries where they were released. But since the hatcheries are not located near the spawning areas for native chinook, NMFS reasons that the impact of the hatchery fish has been moderated.

Those fish originating from outside the Methow River and hybrids of local and out-of-basin stock will be taken and the young fish from these eggs will be planted in areas away from local, natural stocks. Since not all returning hatchery fish are marked with a fin clip this year, it is difficult to tell hatchery from natural fish. But from now on, all hatchery fish will be marked so they can be managed separately.

"We are willing to accept more natural spawning from Carson Hatchery spring chinook this year for a quicker phase out of these fish." said Jones. This option means that the last return of Carson Hatchery spring chinook will be in 2003, with all fish marked.

Three hundred thousand Carson Hatchery spring chinook will be moved to the Okanogan River, where the native spring chinook is extinct. And at the hatchery, naturally produced males of local stock will be back-crossed with Carson-native hybrids to improve the survival of the hatchery stock, making it more like the natural stock.

There is still a difference of opinion with some groups, such as the tribes, over the phase-out of the Carson Hatchery spring chinook and placing increasing reliance on the Methow River fish. Also, there is the prospect of not having full hatchery trays in poor run years when there may be fewer eggs from the local stock. Up until now, when the adult run is less than what the hatchery needs, the policy has been to get eggs from outside sources. It is this transfer of eggs from outside sources that NMFS wants to curtail in order to recover the native natural stock.

"Salmon recovery depends on the number of salmon perpetuating themselves in the stream, not the number of salmon that return from hatchery plants," says Donna Darm, acting regional NMFS administrator.

But will hatchery fish thrive in the wild, harm native runs, or die off? In a letter to NMFS last month, the Independent Science Advisory Board, sent the agency their recommendations on the question of excess hatchery fish. The ISAB concluded that the policy of increasing numbers of fish by allowing hatchery fish to spawn with wild fish is unsubstantiated; that hatcheries select for traits that do not work well in nature; that hatchery fish spawning naturally in streams do not survive as well as fish of wild origin, and that interbreeding of hatchery and wild fish will reduce fitness of the wild populations.

"These hazards become particularly important when the outcome of these management actions is irreversible and involve ESA listed species," said the scientists. NMFS' Jones said the agreement reached on the Methow River for this year is consistent with the recommendations of the board. -Bill Bakke


[3] STATES, TRIBES CALLED ON TO HELP IMPLEMENT HYDRO BIOP

With action agencies scheduled to sign off on the new hydro BiOp May 17, they are still sorting out just how to implement the 199 actions [Reasonable, Prudent Alternatives] spelled out in the NMFS document released late last December.

According to BPA' s Dan Daley, a draft plan will now be available by the week of May 21, with the idea of going final in September. Daley was clear that states and tribes will be expected to pull their fair share of the load, especially in the habitat and hatchery arenas.

Daley told fellow IT member at the forum's May 3 meeting in Portland that the plan will show the links between actions through development of performance standards--at the highest level they will measure the level of improvement needed to achieve survival and recovery of listed salmon and steelhead stocks, but in the near term they will provide yardsticks to measure progress over the next five years. Daley said these standards are in a transition stage and need more definition. BPA proposes four tiers of such standards.

As for measuring biological benefits, BPA's Jim Gieselman said it may be beyond 2008 to see results of actions. The BiOp, which will be good for the next 10 years, calls for check-ins at the one, three, and five-year points. The three and five-year check in points focus on programmatic standards, and that's where the agencies need help from the states and tribes, Daley said.

Habitat and hatchery issues would be dealt through existing forums, he pointed out, meaning the BPA/Power Planning Council funding process, while hydro issues would go through the TMT and IT route. The hydro BiOp calls for survival improvements to listed fish populations through improved habitat and hatchery actions in addition to direct improvements in both the operation and modification of the hydro system in order to avoid jeopardizing the stocks.

The proposed standards for hatcheries include maintaining stocks that return at least at replacement levels, using genetically similar stocks in both the hatchery and wild, and insuring that broodstock is representative of the natural population being protected.

As for habitat standards, the plan calls for working closely with the Power Planning Council, and using models such as EDT (Which NMFS recently heavily criticized. See NW Fishletter 120) and SWAM (developed by NMFS) to assess physical and biological benefits from actions. The agencies have suggested using a more streamlined version of EDT instead of using all 40 attributes of the complicated model.

But Idaho spokesman Jim Yost said the Council process is not going to satisfy the ESA for Idaho. "The Council is not the ultimate source of responsibility for implementation of the ESA or CWA," Yost said.

Others pointed out that added survival improvements will be the duties of states and tribes "We have to coordinate with states and tribes or not meet it," Daley said.

Yost said his state has been improving water quality and habitat--"Not just waiting for your [action agencies] one and five-year plan." He said Idaho was not particularly satisfied the way the process is working right now and that it needs to be modified to satisfy the additional responsibility of the states, He also noted that Idaho has created an Office of Species Conservation to deal with these issues. "You have to look to somebody besides the Idaho Department of Fish and Game," he added. The new office has sponsored several high priority ESA projects for funding. Two have received provisional approval (See story 4).

Yost said there was a shift at the Council level and states were getting nervous about the amount of money being spent.

"This is supposed to be a biological opinion, not a recovery plan," BPA's Daley said.

NMFS liaison John Palensky pointed out the Council is taking a state-by-state approach to the Council's subbasin planning process.

"Planning in Idaho will be done by those of us in Idaho," Yost said. "... It won't be the Northwest Power Planning Council's plan, it will be Idaho's plan." Noting that his state has already got a soil plan, fish plans and is working on developing standards to comply with the Clean Water Act, he told the group, "I got a big complaint in Idaho that we're planning too much." -Bill Rudolph


[4] HIGH PRIORITY PROJECTS GET FUNDING

BPA announced last week that it will spend $15 million to fund nearly a dozen projects judged to be of immediate help to listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin. The agency may spend another $4 million on four other projects after those proposals are "clarified."

The proposals went through several levels of scrutiny before they were selected, and were reviewed by the Columbia Basin fish and Wildlife Authority, the independent science panel used by the NWPPC, along with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

"These projects will provide an on-the-ground balance to others that involve more extensive planning and review," Said Sarah McNary, BPA's fish and wildlife director.

Back in March, the Council picked the $19 million in proposals after a long session that had less to do with scientific merit and more to do with bringing home the bacon to each state (See NW Fishletter 120). Then BPA sent the list to NMFS for another look. The result is a far cry from the $45 million in projects considered high priority by CBFWA managers, who designated another $45 million eventually needed for emergency or long-term actions.

Some of the projects call for the purchase of conservation easements or large parcels of property, while other funds will go to buying fish screens and evaluating live capture harvest methods for commercial fisheries. BPA ended up funding projects that NMFS associated with specific Reasonable, Prudent Alternatives in the upcoming hydro BiOp, due to be signed by the action agencies May 17. Several projects that NMFS couldn't tie to a specific BiOp alternative remained in the "provisional category.

Two habitat projects are located in Idaho's Salmon subbasin, five in Oregon--two in the Willamette subbasin, two in the John Day, and one project in the Imnaha subbasin, which is a $2 million cost-sharing agreement with The Nature Conservancy to purchase a 27,000-acre ranch.

Another $2.5 million will go toward the purchase more than 1000 acres of the defunct Arrowleaf development in Washington's Methow basin. Funding from private grants, the state of Washington and the sale of some lots will help pay off the $17 million cost, which is being purchased by the Trust for Public Land. NMFS said the purchase would benefit both listed spring chinook and steelhead. -B. R.


[5] UPDATED EXTINCTION STUDY EXCLUDES ABUNDANT YEARS

The conservation group Trout Unlimited has released an updated version of its extinction study that was originally released with much fanfare in July, 1999, including a Portland-area billboard that advertised the coming demise of Snake River chinook. The original study was panned by several regional experts.

It was written by then consultant Dr. Phil Mundy, who used spawner to spawner counts from some Snake River index stocks and a narrow time frame from 1985-1990.

Mundy called his extinction model "The Doomsday Clock," which had the Portland media abuzz when his report was announced nearly two years ago. Mundy's analysis said unless conditions change for the better, only the strongest of the 13 populations he studied would have any spawners at all after 2023.

But some critics, like the U.W.'s Prof. Jim Anderson, were not impressed. He said that the PATH analysis by regional scientists had shown the 1985-1990 period Mundy picked was the lowest period of productivity seen for the stocks. "Mundy's model has little relevance to the real fate of the Snake River fish," Anderson said at the time. "With its reference to Doomsday, it makes rational analysis and decision more difficult."

The updated version which still uses the Doomsday theme and was completed by Mundy and Dr. Gretchen Oosterhout, predicts median "functional extinction" of the stocks in about 15 years, similar to the earlier report. But the newer analysis uses recruit/spawner data and an expanded time frame (1985-1999). However, it deliberately excluded brood years from the early 1980s (used by NMFS in its own analysis) because the time frame showed "anomalously high productivities," according to the authors, who noted that the high rates of return could be due to a number of factors, including climate trends, increased flows, and/or a response to harvest rate reductions."

But the study has still not been peer-reviewed. Some who have seen the update say it still suffers from the truncated database, and since the improved returns from 2000 were not available for the analysis, the TU updated study does not reflect much of an uptick in the stocks, which is getting a real boost this spring as well.

University of Washington climate researcher Nate Mantua said the TU study is a "persistence forecast," that the future it predicts is prescribed by the data--that is, if stocks are diminishing throughout the period observed, then the model will only predict continual decline. He said the NMFS CRI model is similar in this way.

Mantua, who is developing an 'ocean conditions' model with others at the U.W., says that the next decade may be much better for Northwest salmon than the previous one. Though he won't claim there has been a "regime shift" in the ocean, Mantua says huge increases in adult survivals in the past two years may be largely attributed to better ocean conditions--cooler temperatures, more coastal upwelling, and earlier transitions from winter to spring.

In fact, recruit/spawner ratios for spring chinook seem to be reaching levels not seen since the early 1980s--up to more than 3.0 from 0.3 in 1990. These huge differences in productivity have been attributed to higher flows as juveniles, but the ocean has become much more salmon friendly in recent years.

By all accounts, conditions off the West Coast are very good for salmon this spring as well, even with the region facing a severe drought. A recent article in the Seattle Times reported on the continuing good news.

A few years ago, it did look like some runs were headed for extinction . In 1999, wild fish counts at Lower Granite were at less than 1,000, and doomsdayer Mundy was skeptical about runs improving.

"I have to ask those who are forecasting improved ocean conditions," Mundy told NW Fishletter then, "When may we expect to see more spring and summer spawners as a result? Time is the essence of the extinction problem, and timing, quite literally, is everything. Let them step up to the plate and make some predictions of their own. My predictions succeed or fail based on the numbers of fish on the spawning grounds, not on the longing for better ocean conditions."

So far, over 132,000 spring chinook have passed Lower Granite Dam this spring, and 10 to 20 percent are estimated to be wild fish. -B. R.

***Subscriptions and Feedback***
Subscribe to the Fishletter notification e-mail list.
Send e-mail comments to the editor.

***Link/Document Annex***
Works Cited

LINKS/DOCUMENTS FROM NW FISHLETTER 124:: Below are listed links and documents referred to in the text of NW Fishletter issue 124.

THE ARCHIVE :: Previous NW Fishletter issues and supporting documents.



NW Fishletter is produced by Energy NewsData.
Publisher: Cyrus Noë, Editor: Bill Rudolph
Phone: (206) 285-4848 Fax: (206) 281-8035
Contributing Editors: Bill Bakke and Jude Noland

If you would like to be notified when the next NW Fishletter is published online, send an e-mail message to webmaster.com with "Subscribe NW Fishletter" in the subject line and your name and e-mail address in the body.


Home

Please contact the Webmaster, webmaster.com,
with questions or comments on this site
.

© 2005 Energy NewsData