The State of the Wild Steelhead Coalition: Year 5

“So let the steelhead be your example. When things get tough, when the situation seems hopeless, remember the qualities we most admire about wild steelhead: Perseverance, courage, and lonely survival against great odds. Without such an inspiration, you cannot succeed; with it, you cannot fail.” –Steve Raymond’s Address to the WSC, November ‘05

This past year marks the celebration of five years since formally organizing the Wild Steelhead Coalition. Since our short existence, I have no doubt that the WSC has made a positive difference to help increase return of wild steelhead as well as increased visibility to their plight in the Pacific Northwest. Even though our organization is not as large and as well funded as others, we been able to make effective changes because of focus, perseverance and the nimbleness of our organization. The challenge and focus will be to grow the organization further and establish deeper roots outside of Washington and still preserve the qualities that have made us effective. I believe our organization is a crossroads where it is time to take a jump further; I sincerely hope our membership will make the jump with us. Since it is year five I would like to take this opportunity to look back and recognize the dedicated individuals of the founding committee in which I worked with laying the ground work to develop our successful organization for wild steelhead: Dave Bailey, Duggan Harman, Les Johnson, Kevin Kent, Carl Ostberg, Ryan Petzold, Todd Ripley and Jim Starkes.

Organization This is my third year as President of the WSC and once again I continue to be impressed with our Board’s ability to work together and their willingness to tirelessly work on many issues and challenges facing wild steelhead. This year we are saying thank you Jeff Johnson for his three years of service as our 1st VP or Membership. Jeff still plans to manage our website, but plans to take a leave of absence from the Board and return a latter time. Jim Schmitz will move to from Secretary to be our new VP of Membership. The Board is in process to infuse new members to the Board and replace some upcoming vacancies. We need members to volunteer and serve has board members, to ensure the board remains energetic to continue our mission for wild steelhead abundance. I would also like to thank the rest of the board for their work over the last year. Trustee Rob Masonis has been very active by attending the Board meeting to help work with us developing the 06-07 action plan and injecting support to help us build the organization in direction that will enable us to be more effective. The Board has taken a good part of the summer to develop our Action Plan and took some time in its development to reflect on where we have been as an organization and to discuss our strategy for the future. 06-07 Action Plan was email out to membership earlier is posted on the website and is available in this issue of the Adipose. Our Region 1 Representative Michael Mathis, with his ingterritory of Eastern Washington and Idaho has helped further the goals of WSC. Mike has single handily (even though he’s uses a double hander), has increased our membership and has promoted the WSC in many places- thanks Mike! A As reminder WSC has moved it’s meeting locations to the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington Campus. Our next Membership meeting is scheduled for November 1st, in which we will serve pizza and have a cash bar available for beer, wine and soda. Please join us for a great program about the Olympic National Park steelhead and bull trout.

Steelhead Summit Alliance (SSA) The WSC continues to be involved and participate in the Steelhead Summits with organizations and clubs from around the Northwest and British Columbia. The next Summit is scheduled for early December in Portland, Oregon. I would like to thank David Moryc of American Rivers, Kaitlin Lovell of Trout Unlimited and Bill Bakke of the Native Fish Society for helping the WSC take ownership of the SSA and their help expanding a successful voice steelhead. David Moryc has included an article in this issue of the Adipose that provides a report on the SSA. Also a special thanks to Dave Bailey who continues to be our Summit Coordinator, Dick Burge, Nate Mantua for there continued involvement.

WSC Steelhead Paper The WSC published our second research white paper titled “The Status of Wild Steelhead and Their Management in Western Washington: Strategies for Conservation and Recreation” The paper provides a status of wild steelhead on the West Coast with a focus on the ESU’s of Washington. An examination of harvest practices and impacts, considerations for new policies, recommendations by the WSC and a proposed conservation based wild steelhead management plan. Information from this paper was reviewed and shared with WDFW and were implemented into their steelhead paper. The WSC Wild Steelhead has also mailed copies to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission and to state and federal legislators. Follow up meetings are in works to talk face to face with decision makers. The WSC Steelhead Management Plan information was include This paper was a large undertaking and consumed much time for various members of the board, but in the end it has and will continue to have tremendous impact for improved conservation for wild steelhead. Again I would like to thank Dick Burge, Nate Mantua, Jack Berryman and Larry Doyle for their strong resolve in bringing this important document to completion.

Conservation The WSC Board of Directors has also focused on many conservation issues this year that will benefit wild steelhead. The following are some highlights:

• The WSC Donated $6000 to support an acoustic tagging study for wild steelhead in the Skagit River. This steelhead tagging study is one of several studies planned for Puget Sound and Georgia Basin salmonids and is being done in collaborative effort between WDFW, Seattle City Light, Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Fisheries, UW, Tribes and Pacific Ocean Salmon Tracking project. For more information on the project got to the following website address: http://www.postcoml.org/.

• Produced, sent a letters and followed up with Restaurants Unlimited, Schwartz Brothers Restaurants, Red Apple Markets requesting that they discontinue the sale of wild steelhead on all of their respective restaurants and markets immediately and in the future. Information with the letter was provided to educate their leadership on the plight of wild steelhead and they should not be served. A letter was also sent to GI Joes Sporting Good Stores requesting that they discontinue allowing wild steelhead to be included in their store sponsor Winter Steelhead Derby. A follow up letter is in works to remind them not to include wild steelhead in this year’s derby.

• Signed on to litigation with Earth Justice and other conservation groups regarding the Upper Columbia River ESU Endangered Species Act Listing.

• The board also voted and sent a $500 donation to the Friends of Wild Salmon http://www.friendsofwildsalmon.ca/ in Terrace, British Columbia in their fight of atlantic salmon farming expansion at the Skeena River mouth. And a $500 donation and membership was sent to the Hoh River Trust http://www.hohrivertrust.org/index.html in support of securing land along the Hoh River for habitat protection and preserve the Hoh River valley in public trust.

• Submitted Conservation Editorials and letters to NW Fly Fishing, Salmon, Trout and Steelheader and Salmon and Steelhead Journal magazines regarding the status and plight of wild steelhead.

• We continue to battle the Stohrdahl mine expansion proposal along the East Fork of the Lewis River in SW Washington which, allowed to happen, will further degrade habitat along this famous steelhead river. We also continue to monitor the Columbia River commercial by-catch of ESA listed wild steelhead in the Columbia River spring chinook commercial fishery to ensure that the percentage of by catch is not allowed to be raised.

• The WSC also submitted comprehensive input to WDFW Major Rules Cycle, which contained some important issues regarding steelhead. And provide the same comprehensive input to the Olympic National Parks rules proposals and requesting the ONP to stay the course on the wild steelhead harvest moratorium.

• Provided two $500 scholarship awards; One to Michael Dauber, a doctoral student at the University of Washington. Michael is continuing the project started by Jennifer McLean on steelhead genetics in Forks Creek, a tributary of the Willapa River.

General • The WSC forth second fundraising banquet was a huge success with a inspiring reading, written just for the WSC, by reknown angling author Steve Raymond. Jeff Bright designed and provided a beautiful slide show celebrating steelhead. Bill Bakke received the second WSC Conservation Award, recognizing his life’s work and perseverance as a wild steelhead advocate and Bill McMillan provided a reading on Bill’s behalf. Once again many thanks to the individuals, shops and companies who donated to our successful event! The money generated by this fundraiser has been a big help with the WSC’s continuing working on our mission. We look forward and hope you will join us at our fourth fundraising banquet on February 10 at the Mountaineers Club in Seattle, WA.

• We also participated in two outdoor shows to help bring attention to the plight of wild steelhead. The WSC had a booth at the Monroe Sportsman Show, had a table at the Olympic Sportsman Show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and a table at the Clearwater Spey Clave in Idaho. Thanks to all who participated!

We would like to recognize many who have donated time and funds this year to the Wild Steelhead Coalition. And finally, we would like to thank our membership and other conservationists who have supported the WSC over the course of the year. Your time and contributions are making a difference for wild steelhead. Happy 5th Anniversary and on to year 6!

Sincerely,

Rich Simms Wild Steelhead Coalition 2005-2006 Board President

 

    Wild Steelhead Coalition      218 Main St. Box #264  Kirkland, WA 98033

Email: info@wildsteelheadcoalition.com

 

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