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NW Fishletter
NWF.289/June 3, 2011
Water Supply Still Grows As Runoff Begins To Fill Reservoirs

By the middle of May, the hydro system was working as planned, beginning to fill reservoirs with runoff from the region's huge snowmelt, while mainstem Columbia flows were being managed about a half-foot below flood stage at Vancouver. By June 1, flows were a foot above flood stage, but still under control. ...more

GBT Kills Thousands Of Farmed Steelhead Below Coulee

Wind farmers aren't the only ones complaining about how the hydro system is being run these days--fish farmers far up the Columbia have a separate beef. ...more

Earthjustice Loses Challenge To Washington State's TDG Standards

A Thurston County Superior Court judge ruled last week that environmental and fishing groups had failed to convince her that the state's Department of Ecology was "arbitrary and capricious" by refusing to amend current total dissolved gas (TDG) limits at dams. ...more

Flows Slow Spring Chinook Run; Jack Count Huge

Harvest managers have now recalculated the Columbia's upriver spring chinook run three times since the fish finally showed up around May 1. Their preseason estimate of 198,000 (to river mouth) was bumped to 210,000 on May 12. On May 17, they increased it again, to a range between 217,000 and 237,000 fish. By May 23, they settled on 213,400 fish. ...more

NMFS Reauthorizes Lethal Take Of Sea Lions

NOAA Fisheries announced May 13 it was giving Washington and Oregon authority to once again lethally remove certain sea lions from the area around Bonneville Dam, where the marine mammals prey on ESA-listed spring chinook. But soon after, the Humane Society filed a lawsuit to once again try and block the drastic action to reduce predation near the dam. ...more

Local Predation Not Linked To Fraser Sockeye Debacle

It's a question that's been eating at West Coast biologists for years--just what eats young salmon once they leave Northwest rivers and begin a vulnerable journey to the Gulf of Alaska? ...more

Rockefeller Leaving Washington Senate For Power Council

Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island), the prime sponsor of the new law shutting down the Centralia coal-fired plant by 2025, has been appointed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council effective July 1, 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire's office announced May 25. ...more

NMFS OK's Puget Sound Chinook Management Plan

NOAA has approved the chinook management plan for Puget Sound developed by co-managers WDFW and Tribes, after the agency concluded it would not reduce the likelihood of survival and recover of ESA-listed chinook. The plan governs harvest of salmon and steelhead fisheries. ...more

Feds Propose "Experimental" Designation For Deschutes Hatchery Steelhead

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposal to classify a new run of steelhead in Oregon's Deschutes River as "experimental," to provide legal protection for anyone who harms one. Planting young hatchery fish would reintroduce juvenile steelhead into the upper Deschutes, where they have been gone for more than 40 years. ...more

Wind Farms Curtailed Again As BPA Copes With Runoff

BPA curtailed another 23,987 MWh of generation last week in accordance with its controversial environmental redispatch program as the spring runoff ripped through the Columbia Basin. ...more

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