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NWF.027/FEB.4.1997
[1] Power Council Says Science Rules Salmon Studies
[2] Fish and Wildlife Workplans Look for Common Ground
[3] Idaho's Steelhead Plan At Odds with NMFS Barging Studies
[4] Oregon Coho Survive Last Year's Flood
[5] Latest Storms Cause $51 Million Damage to USFW Facilities
[6] Washington Residents Favor Taxes For Fish Protection
[7] New Salmon Migration Forecaster Evaluated
[8] Fishermen's Alert! NMFS Wants Comments On Salmon Harvest EIS
[9] UW Dean Pleads Case For New Fisheries Building

[1] POWER COUNCIL SAYS SCIENCE RULES SALMON STUDIES :: At last week's work session in Portland, the NW Power Planning Council wrestled with everything from eels to the ISG report in an effort to infuse more accountability into its fish and wildlife program.

The accountability theme was sounded early, when it was announced that the three newest members have been selected for the 11-person panel created by the Gorton amendment to the NW Power Act to review funding priorities. The new panel, chosen from nominations submitted by the National Academy of Sciences, will review and prioritize BPA-funded fish and wildlife projects.

The new members of the Independent Scientific Review Panel are Robert Francis, an expert in ocean fishery science who is professor and past director of the Fisheries Research Institute at the University of Washington; Susan Hanna, who specializes in marine economics and policy and fisheries management at Oregon State University; and Nancy Huntly, associate professor at Idaho State University, whose field is community and ecosystem ecology.

The other eight members of the panel already serve on the Independent Scientific Advisory Board that advises both NMFS and the council, a group that began as the council's Independent Scientific Group.

The Council was doing some prioritizing of its own, examining three projects to see how much they reflected needs in the fish and wildlife program. A project involving lamprey research was funded after the council determined it was consistent with a fall 1995 decision to develop a status report on Pacific lamprey at the request of several tribes. It was reported that little of the $335,000 approved in last year's budget had been spent, so the Council voted to continue the work to determine abundance distribution, and limiting factors.

Council members also trimmed the budget for a project conducted by Battelle's Pacific Northwest Laboratory to evaluate fish screening facilities.

Most of the budget discussion was spent reviewing the council decision, made a few days earlier via conference call, to fund a controversial PIT-tag study sponsored by the states and tribes. The council's own Independent Scientific Advisory Board recommended that tagging could provide important information, but said the proposal as submitted did not show enough rigor to stand up to scientific scrutiny.

Staff biologist Chip McConnaha told the council that "we still have to give a direction to the study as a whole," and members heard testimony from some of the proposal's sponsors, who tried to explain the reasoning behind it. Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologist Howard Schaller said tagging smolts at the hatcheries is "more fish-friendly" than collecting and tagging them at dams as NMFS has done in the past, but he did not cite any evidence to support his case. He later said that "we're not sure," and that this study would help to answer that question. Tagging fish at hatcheries will require twice as many tags since 40-50 percent of the juveniles die before they reach the first dam in their migration at Lower Granite. NMFS reserachers found out last spring that chinook jacks PIT-tagged at Lower Granite returned in the same proportion to the total number of returning jacks as they were tagged to the population as a whole the year before, showing no increase in mortality by handling.

One of the main issues is whether enough hatchery fish are available to be tagged to make for a credible study that investigates the value of transportation versus in-river migration by counting returning adults. The states and tribes have asked for enough money to tag 200,000 Idaho spring chinook hatchery smolts--a budget that has come in at over $800,000, which includes the cost of tagging around 75,000 fish last fall that will be released this spring as well.

But a NMFS memo that looked at the proposal said it was too optimistic, and that at least 350,000 smolts would have to be tagged to produce a statistically valid study. NMFS canceled their own transportation study because of the low numbers of spring chinook coming from Idaho this year.

NMFS scientists say that the $863,000 cost has only about a 50-50 chance of providing any meaningful data about transporting fish. They do say it will have some use in monitoring smolt survival to McNary Dam, but it's already too late to redesign a transportation study that's locked into tagging a number of fish that will provide a final analysis confidence level of less than the accepted scientific standard of 95 percent.

In the end, the council voted to proceed with the PIT-tagging for this year, but followed a staff recommendation that called for creation of a steering committee and inviting NMFS to participate in a formal response to the ISAB's concerns and build a credible structure for analyzing the PIT-tag results.

Montana council member Stan Grace said he wanted the ISAB to pass muster on the final study proposal. "I'm more interested in results than the process," said Grace, and the council voted for the PIT-tag study with that caveat, along with assurance that it will be coordinated with the multi-year work plans now under development.

The council's fish and wildlife committee also directed the ISAB to do a full review of the draft hatchery EIS submitted by the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority. The document proposes significant changes in hatchery production on the Columbia, such as increasing the amount of fish supplemented from current levels of about 7 million smolts annually to 78 million.

A progress report on the multi-year work plans was delivered by John Palensky of NMFS and CBFWA director Brian Allee (See related story at 2). They reported that regional fish managers were attempting to bring together the different salmon recovery plans to find the common elements and proceed. It was reported that the managers are developing a "conceptual framework" for the multi-year plans based on the conceptual foundation created by the ISG in its report, Return to the River, a document that took some heat as well.

Bruce Lovelin of the Columbia River Alliance, a coalition of commercial river users, told the council that the ISG report and its concept of a return to the "normative river" needs more peer review and substantive discussion. He said that what's now going on behind closed doors in fish agencies needs to be discussed in a public forum that would include comments from other regional scientists, including members of the Bevan team who produced the Snake River Recovery Plan.

The council seemed to agree. Cohen said that full illumination and debate is needed, and chairman John Etchart, who reminded everyone that it was still a draft document, said, "we want to finalize it, and welcome comments." He admitted that it was probably an oversight not to have already provided such a forum, and the staff was directed to develop such an avenue of communication.

The council also heard more results from the PATH process, a group of regional scientists who are examining key assumptions that govern fish mitigation. NMFS' Chris Toole told the council that it appears transport might work to meet the interim passage survival goals of 50 to 70 percent for Snake River smolts, while it is clear that keeping fish inriver under present conditions won't work.

He said PATH's preliminary conclusions are consistent with the findings of the recent Harza report that whittled down Snake River salmon salvation to two options, transport or natural river drawdown. BPA's Jim Geiselman said that PATH was important because it was identifying "key uncertainties," but that the available information was being pushed to the limit. "Cutting edge science is being applied here," he told the council [Bill Rudolph].

[2] FISH AND WILDLIFE WORKPLANS LOOK FOR COMMON GROUND :: The power council listened to progress on the status of the multi-year workplans for salmon, resident fish, and wildlife in the Columbia Basin. Brian Allee, executive director of the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority called the plans "a living document in a binder." But at 574 pages in its second draft, the undertaking seemed to disturb some members.

John Palensky of NMFS told them it was a work in progress, an exercise that was not obligated to resolve issues, but find the common elements in the NMFS Biological Opinion, the council's fish and wildlife plan, and the tribal restoration plan, and use them as a basis for coordinating implementation. "It has a ways to go yet," he admitted, as regional fish managers struggle to make sense of it all.

Oregon council member Joyce Cohen said she was disillusioned and troubled. "The dialog is probably worth more than the documents." She said she took some solace in that.

Washington member Ken Casavant asked "When you're done, who do you hand it to?"

"Who owns it?" said Palensky. "If we don't all own it, it probably isn't very good."

The executive summary of the latest review draft says "it also describes areas where there are differences among the plans and identifies opportunities to resolve those differences." It goes on to say that some of these issues must be resolved by early 1997 to keep implementation on schedule.

The summary also says the new plan will incorporate a conceptual foundation based on the conceptual foundation of the council's report from the Independent Scientific Group, Return to the River, an exercise that may be premature.

Council chair John Etchart said the ISG report was a "draft," and therefore open to revision. At their work session last week, the council directed its staff to develop a mechanism for fielding comments from other scientists of the region regarding the merit's of the ISG report. Since the ISG named its own peer review panel, and because those comments have remained confidential, some voices in the region have complained about the closed process.

The draft summary spells points a direction for managers to begin development of a unified approach based on the three plans, which includes a review by the Independent Scientific Advisory Board, with the eventual goal of building a framework to revise the council's fish and wildlife program and help fish and wildlife managers make recommendations for amendments. "In addition," says the document, "NMFS will use this information in the revision to its Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan."

Although the summary says that state, federal and tribal plans have a lot in common, it admits that the overall objectives "differ significantly." Planning insiders say that none of the tough decisions have been made so far.

Section 3 of the draft plan contains two different strategies for spending the $600 million allotted to the Corps of Engineers general construction fund for the next five years.

First, the federal agencies and council's approach is described as one of interim improvements in juvenile passage, with screens and bypass systems, new barges and loading facilities, and completion of drawdown studies on the Snake, and with the approval of Congress, a study of deep drawdown of John Day reservoir.

The second approach is espoused by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. It's based on the tribal restoration plan and would reallocate $207 million now budgeted for bypass and surface collectors at lower Snake and John Day dams towards "early implementation of a drawdown to spillway at John Day and natural river drawdowns at lower Snake dams. The tribes also call for modifications of stilling basins to reduce gas levels at all dams and building surface bypass systems at lower Columbia dams.

The draft summary says CRITFC and the Shoshone-Bannock "believe their approach is consistent with the ISG report, Return to the River, and is based on the best available science. They are concerned that their approach is seriously compromised by the current funding plan and that over $200 million will be spent on fish bypass systems that will become obsolete when drawdowns are implemented in the future."

The tribes have suggested a possible compromise between these approaches--to fund only those mainstem capital construction activities that all the plan have in common--but "this approach has not been developed in the draft work plan."

The PATH process has been proposed as a potential answer to developing a unified decision criteria.

According to the summary, the tribes feel that the current decision-making schedule adopted by the feds will not result in enough improvements to avoid extinction of some stocks. NMFS has called for engineering and design to be completed in the next few years with dam modifications scheduled to begin in 2000.

The anadromous managers have recognized "significant conflicts between flow augmentation for anadromous fish and maintaining the biological requirements for resident fish in storage reservoirs...and other mainstem reservoirs," with increased flow responsible for decreasing food production for resident fish. The conflict has been sent to the ISAB for examination, and the Corps of Engineers is studying a proposal for reducing the spring draft of Libby Dam in Montana.

Another conflict exists with the council's program and the NMFS BiOp with respect to flows and reservoir fluctuations at Lake Roosevelt, where the federal mandate often calls for operations that exceed limits spelled out in the council's fish and wildlife program.

The fish managers also recognize they must come to terms with the differences in production goals of the three plans. The tribal plan calls for more hatchery production than the others "because of the management focus to restore historical tribal fisheries." Tribal co-managers want to participate "with parity in decisions regarding fish production," and they call for speeding up the transfer of production facilities and funding to areas that support tribal fisheries.

The draft summary says that resident fish managers have identified major policy issues that include impacts of the power system (including flow augmentation to benefit salmon); balancing flow regimes for Snake River salmon and Kootenai River sturgeon, and watershed protection and restoration.

The draft spells out the next steps in the multiyear plan process that calls for integrating the work of the ISG and its "normative" river concept, and revising the present document in light of the new ISG framework that should be completed this spring. Then the managers will move on to developing comprehensive recommendations for amendments to the council's fish and wildlife plan and working with NMFS on a final recovery plan for Snake River salmon. The managers also call for improved consultation with Northwest tribes, and increasing accountability as spelled out in the Memorandum of Agreement with other regional powers.

A summary of the plan's implementation costs will also be included in the final document. Then it will be reviewed by CBFWA members, the council, and federal agencies [Bill Rudolph].

[3] IDAHO'S STEELHEAD PLAN AT ODDS WITH NMFS BARGING STUDIES :: "When you go up to Idaho and talk about taking somebody's water away from him," a well-known Northwest fisheries biologist once said, "that's the kind of talk that runs you the risk of getting gut-shot."

Those sentiments were echoed in a much more polite way by Idaho Gov. Phil Batt, when he released his state's recipe for steelhead recovery last week, hoping that it will preclude listing the fish under the Endangered Species Act. One of the main ingredients is to rely on the river and quit barging the fish downstream, even though barging has been proven to work quite well for steelhead; every NMFS study on the subject has shown the benefits from it.

But the Idaho proposal says "primary focus should be on improving migration conditions through the lower Snake and Columbia rivers," and advocates the "normative" river approach recommended by the power council's ISG study to create a friendlier environment for juvenile and adult migration. The document summary says, "This approach requires an eventual weaning from reliance on both smolt transportation and large-scale flow augmentation."

The Idaho plan recommends the continuation of federally funded fish hatcheries, but calls for isolating hatchery releases from wild steelhead production areas. Aggressive watershed habitat protection measures are called for, with clear goals and time lines, along with "mechanisms for accountability."

The plan claimed the endorsement of Idaho's congressional delegation and the state's two power planning council representatives as well, but on Jan 21. Rep. Helen Chenoweth and Sen. Larry Craig sent a joint letter to the governor that clarified their position.

"I remain opposed to any and all drawdowns and flushes because I do not believe the science is conclusive," said Chenoweth. "If the state of Idaho decides, however, to deem drawdowns and flushes as a beneficial use of Idaho water, it is within their rights as a sovereign state to do so."

Craig said the governor's approach of local control and local solutions "is the path we should continue down, rather than unproven, in-stream proposals for steelhead prompted by federal agencies bent on wresting control of Idaho's water from its citizens."

The two Idaho politicians also endorsed a "spread the risk" policy that balanced the numbers of juvenile fish in barges with those left to migrate in the river.

The plan echoes Batt's remarks from his state of the state address Jan. 6 when he said he was working with other Northwest governors "to devise a plan for more closely conforming to natural river flows."

Batt said Idaho cannot furnish large amounts of water in dry years if it doesn't have it. And he made it clear that the Port of Lewiston must be allowed to operate, which seems to preclude any support for taking out lower Snake dams or a permanent, deep drawdown on the Columbia at John Day, as the ISG study has recommended as part of its normative river strategy. Such a strategy would stop the transportation system. A lesser drawdown possibility, to spillway crest, would cost a billion dollars in dam modifications to keep the barges and the salmon running, according to a 1994 report by Harza Northwest.

Batt also told his constituents that Dworshak Reservoir must be maintained at a usable level during the summer.

"We will do our part--and we expect others to do the same," said the governor, who pointed to ocean fishing, in-stream gillnetting, habitat degradation, irrigation and improvements at dams as other factors that must be dealt with. And he said aluminum companies and other big electrical users "must participate in any overall plan of sacrifice for salmon recovery."

Batt said any reasonable solution must be based on sound science, which, according to NMFS studies, says steel barges and steelhead work well together.

Doug Marsh recently told fellow staffers in Seattle that barged steelhead return at twice the rate of those that migrate in-river. He was backed up by NMFS biologist Gene Matthews, who said it was "irrefutable" that transportation worked for steelhead. Matthews said studies have consistently shown that barged steelhead return at astounding rates compared to salmon, 4 percent for wild stocks, and 2 percent for hatchery fish.

Wild Idaho steelhead returns were as high as 60,000 fish in the late 1960's and declined to less than 10,000 in 1996, deteriorating along with native salmon stocks, to which they are biologically linked.

Steelhead traditionally stay in their fresh water streams four or five years before they migrate to sea. They depend on returning salmon to provide up to half the nutrient base for replenishing their environment and their diet, mainly in the form of nitrogen from rotting carcasses. Their duration in the fresh water environment makes them especially susceptible.

When steelhead begin their migration, they are outnumbered 10 to 1 by their hatchery brethren, one-year-olds who outweigh them as well. During last year's spring migration, more than seven million out of 8.5 million Idaho steelhead were transported to below Bonneville. More than 66,000 hatchery adults returned to state waters, along with less than 10,000 wilds.

As hatchery production increased substantially since the mid-1980's, the wild population has continued to decline, causing some biologists to speculate that too many steelhead have been sent to sea in recent times when ocean productivity was low, overloading the coastal pastures with too many hungry fish [Bill Rudolph].

[4] OREGON COHO SURVIVE LAST YEAR'S FLOOD :: In Oregon, two small streams that have been monitored for the past five years have revealed some tantalizing facts. Tenmile and Cummins Creek, a wilderness watershed, flow into the ocean near Yachats, and have been the sites of intense scrutiny during a period of time that has included both drought and flood conditions.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is keeping track of the anadromous fish populations in these creeks to determine life history attributes, species distribution and abundance of adults and juveniles. Coho salmon, fall chinook, winter steelhead, and sea-run cutthroat trout are being monitored.

Tenmile Creek: In 1996 the spring smolt estimate was the second lowest in the five-year data set (2,230), but this was the result of a low summer rearing population in 1995 and related to the low escapement of adult spawners in 1994. The low smolt numbers were not the result of overwinter mortality caused by the Feb. 1996 flood.

Cummins Creek: In 1996 the spring smolt estimate was the second lowest in the five years of data collection (475). As in Tenmile Creek, this was the result of poor adult escapement in 1994 and not to the 1996 flood.

In Tenmile Creek, the 1996 summer rearing population of 3,800 0+ age fish came from eggs that were in the gravel at the time of the February flood. This summer rearing population is similar to the 1994 and 1995 rearing population. The 1996 rearing population is the same brood cycle that in the summer of 1993 produced 30,000 juveniles. It is worth noting, the authors say, that this was the same brood year that was strong in the Alsea River but failed to replace itself when adults returned in the fall of 1995. These fish were exposed to a 12% ocean commercial harvest rate designed to protect coho salmon and help rebuild the wild runs.

In Cummins Creek, the 1996 summer rearing population estimate was 1,100 fish, which is similar to the 1991-1995 counts.

The coho smolt production model for these two streams suggests these two streams should be producing about 20,000 smolts in Tenmile Creek and 9,500 smolts in Cummins Creek. For more information contact Steve Johnson, ODFW, Newport, OR. Phone: 541-867-4741 [Bill Bakke].

[5] LATEST STORMS CAUSE $51 MILLION DAMAGE TO USFW FACILITIES :: The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that damage from recent Pacific storms has caused more than $51 million in damage to its refuges and hatcheries in the western part of the country. Washington state received the brunt of it with $23 million in damages to USFW facilities, with dike erosion and water damage to historic barns at Nisqually refuge south of Tacoma, road washouts and collapsed buildings at Quilcene hatchery, and damaged levees and contaminated water systems at Willapa refuge on the coast.

Quilcene is home to a critical production facility for northwestern Washington fish. Three species of salmon are reared there.

"For Fish and Wildlife Service stations across the Pacific region, this has been the worst flood since Noah," said Michael J. Spear, director of the agency's Portland regional office. "We're gratified that the concern we feel for both wildlife and people in these flood-ravaged localities is shared at the highest levels of this administration.

Other hard-hit areas included California's Central Valley and the Willamette Valley in Oregon [Bill Rudolph].

[6] WASHINGTON RESIDENTS FAVOR HIGHER TAXES FOR FISH PROTECTION :: A survey sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has found that 75 percent of state residents are willing to pay up to $100 in new taxes to protect fish and wildlife. Sixty-six percent are willing to pay twice that.

The survey of 801 households was conducted by the Kirkland, Wash. firm Decision Data, Inc. last fall. Bern Shanks, director of WDFW, said the survey was "very scientific and credible" and will strengthen the fish and wildlife commission's role in policy making decisions.

"Now we know what Washington's citizens value." said Shanks. "Our Northwest quality of life is directly related to fish and wildlife. We know they don't like the fact that some of our salmon and steelhead runs already are being listed as endangered species by the federal government. Several more could follow this year. And the list of threatened and endangered wildlife species continues to grow as the rapidly expanding human population continues to consume or degrade the water, forest and steppe lands which these species require."

Shanks said that the citizen feedback is timely because Washington residents will soon be asked to approve a state Wild Salmonid policy that will be the roadmap to recovery. A draft of that policy that called for reduced harvest and less reliance on hatcheries was sharply criticized by both commercial fishermen and Northwest tribes.

The survey also found that 87 percent of the households felt that society has a responsibility to protect fish and wildlife even though there are many other problems, and 86 percent believed that society has a moral obligation to preserve all species of wildlife.

Decision Data said the survey has a 95 percent confidence interval plus or minus 3.5 percent, which means that 19 of 20 duplicate studies would produce the same results [Bill Rudolph].

[7] NEW SALMON MIGRATION FORECASTER EVALUATED :: University of Washington-based Columbia Basin Research has announced the evaluation of its 1996 predictions of the run-timing of wild spring chinook. The forecaster was launched last spring to help provide another tool for salmon managers who meet weekly to make decisions regarding river operations. The results were posted weekly on the World Wide Web.

Dubbed RealTime, the forecaster uses PIT-tag research data gathered over the past few years linked to the downstream salmon migration model, CRiSP.1 developed at the University of Washington. Together, they predict the arrival distributions and the fraction transported at downriver projects on the lower Snake and McNary Dam. Flow forecasts from BPA last year did not predict the period of high flow and uncontrolled spill in the Snake River, but the forecasters said their predictions were reasonably accurate.

The prediction tool could be used to help river managers plan operations to target particular stocks, portions of the run, or particular transport percentages and setting spill programs to affect certain parts of a run. In 1997 the same information will be presented weekly, along with real time estimates of water temperature, nitrogen saturation, and point to point fish survival rates.

Josh Hayes of Columbia Basin Research said the percentage of the runs that are transported cannot be determined by information released from the Fish Passage Center. Using 1996 data released by the FPC, said Hayes, "you can't get a number that makes any sense." He noted that FPC counts of fish that reached Lower Granite Dam and the total number that were barged resulted in a calculation that put115 percent of the run being transported, an illogical answer. Hayes said the RealTime forecaster placed 68 percent of last spring's run in the barges [Bill Rudolph].

[8] FISHERMEN'S ALERT! NMFS WANTS COMMENTS ON SALMON HARVEST EIS :: Fishermen were grumbling and suspicious after the National Marine Fisheries Service quietly announced several public meetings on the West Coast to allow for input and discussion of the development of a coast-wide environmental impact statement on salmon fisheries. The schedule was announced only a few days before the meetings began.

Only a dozen or so people showed up to face the five-person panel at the Portland meeting on Feb.3. Another is planned for Boise at the Interagency Fire Center on Feb. 4. and one will take place in Seattle on Feb. 5 from 6 to 9 PM at NMFS Northwest Regional Office at 7600 Sand Point Way NE (Building 9, A&B Seminar Rooms).

On Jan. 27 NMFS issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement regarding salmon fisheries on the West Coast. Fisheries proposed to be included are ocean and Columbia River fisheries that "may result in the incidental take of Pacific salmonids currently listed or proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act."

The requirement for an EIS was created by a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that said harvest quotas involving ESA-listed fish were subject to requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Ninth overturned a ruling by Portland federal district court judge Malcolm Marsh in a suit brought by the Direct Service Industries, industrial users who purchase electrical power directly from the Bonneville Power Administration.

NMFS has said it will take the opportunity of these meetings to explain its intentions with respect to the development of the EIS and encourages questions. Interested parties are invited to provide oral and written comments on the range of actions, alternatives and impacts appropriate for consideration under the EIS.

Written comments must be received by Feb. 28, 1997 and submitted to:

Joseph R. Blum,
Office of Protected Resources
Endangered Species Division
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

California fishermen will have an opportunity to respond on Feb. 18 when NMFS will meet with them in Santa Rosa at the Doubletree Hotel from 7 to 10 PM. A meeting is planned for Alaska but has not yet been scheduled [Bill Rudolph].

[9] UW DEAN PLEADS CASE FOR NEW FISHERIES BUILDING :: One of the country's top fisheries schools is having a tough time getting much respect at home. Old buildings have been demolished, classrooms relocated, and ground cleared for new Oceanography and Fisheries buildings on the University of Washington campus, but, so far, no funds have been earmarked by the state legislature for a new home for those who study the denizens of the deep.

Funding for the new Oceanography building is on track because of the $17 million in federal research grants that come to the department. Thirty million in capital costs will come from UW bonds. Together, the two buildings are expected to cost $69 million. Hopefully, the state will fund the rest, but it will be a tough job to convince house budgeteers, and even harder to convince incoming governor Gary Locke to include it in his budget.

So, Arthur Nowell, acting Dean of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences went to Olympia to give politicians an earful. He spoke to the house capital budget committee on Aug. 1 and told members that his departments provide a broad scientific education about the marine environment, estuaries, coastal waters, "and the importance of the ocean to our blue planet."

He said that aquaculture and shellfish harvesting companies in the state are run almost entirely by UW fisheries graduates, and that over 70 percent of those with undergraduate degrees in Oceanography work in-state for state agencies, the federal government or environmental companies.

"We educate graduate students through research," said Nowell, "research on issues as varied as endangered salmon runs on the Snake and Columbia Rivers, the effects of contaminated run-off on water quality, research on slope stability and earthquakes to studies of beach stability and erosion.

"Basic research with practical importance-for example, the variability of ocean currents determines harvesting limits for halibut, and the return of the salmon, and the importance of predicting the variability of ocean currents which in large part control the long-term weather patterns...in other words, why we have long periods of wet weather such as we are enjoying this year versus the long, dry periods we and California experienced in the 1980's...the research reaches beyond the fishing industry to many things that affect the economic health and the quality of life in the Northwest."

Nowell said the new buildings will replace dilapidated and unsafe or unsuitable buildings where important marine samples have been lost because of inadequate and faulty wiring, including specimens that represented 25 years of Puget Sound water quality history, and 10 years' worth of samples from hydrothermal vents off the coast.

Over the five-year-period from 1990-1995, undergraduate enrollment in the two programs, which are ranked in the top three in their fields, has increased over 60 percent [Bill Rudolph].

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