Something Pretty Rare In The Columbia River – A Real Success Story About Sockeye Salmon In The Seattle Times

A gangbuster sockeye salmon run is returning to the Columbia River because of a novel idea – “just add water”.  Dah!  Fortunatley, if given the right conditions, wild salmon are highly resilient.

Access the entire article at: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024228208_spectacularsockeyexml.html  (thanks to Ken Harper with FWS for passing this along!)

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Tailings Dam Failure At British Columbia Mine Threatens Sockeye Salmon Run

A tailings dam breached at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in British Columbia yesterday and has dumped toxic sludge into the Quesnel drainage, a tributary of the Fraser River.  The sockeye salmon will soon show up and there could be trouble ahead for them as they negotiate the impacted section on their way to the spawning grounds.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/metro/sockeye+salmon+return+doubt+after+Quesnel+spill/10092584/story.html

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NOAA Study – Ocean Acidification Dissolving Tiny Snail Shells

Pteropods, tiny salt water snails, seem to be affected by the increasing levels of ocean acidity. These little creatures are consumed by salmon species, especially pink salmon; so there is the potential for indirect effects on salmon populations down the road as ocean acidification only worsens.

You can read the complete article at:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20140430_oceanacidification.html

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Donlin Gold Environmental Impact Statement Army Corps Newsletter # 3

The Army Corp of Engineers recently released a newsletter updating the progress of the EIS process highlighting the various alternatives considered.

The Draft EIS is expected to be out about a year from now while the final is scheduled for some time in 2016.

The first two pages are shown here but the complete newsletter can be found on the Donlin Gold EIS web site at: http://donlingoldeis.com/Default.aspx

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Federal Subsistence Board Discusses But Takes No Firm Action On Middle & Upper Kuskokwim River Subsistence Concerns

At least six tribes or native organizations submitted special action requests to the Federal Subsistence Board with the hopes that the Board would ensure that a reasonable opportunity was given for people in the middle and upper Kuskokwim to harvest adequate silver salmon since many families still have not met their subsistence needs to get them through the long winter.  ADF&G had held three commercial fishing periods as the chum salmon were winding down and the silver salmon just beginning to build.  Some residents were still going after the chums while many are expecting to harvest many more silvers than they normally do to fill the void left from the unprecedented restrictions on king salmon.

Here is a Dept. of Interior press release and an AK Dispatch article discussing the Services actions on the Special Action requests:

http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/news/general/federal-subsistence-board-discusses-six-special-actions-regarding-kuskokwim-river.cfm

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A Letter From Napaimute’s Director of Operations Regarding A Fishing Season Of Disrespect

The following letter was recently sent to ADF&G fisheries managers by Mark Leary expressing his frustrations over his dissatisfaction of the way the fisheries have been – and still are – managed this season.  This sentiment is shared by other subsistence users – including some other Working Group members and especially middle and upriver fishers who tend to have a more difficult time harvesting adequate salmon compared to lower river fishers.

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Been reflecting a lot over the past two months of subsistence fishing on the Kuskokwim and the growing frustration/dissatisfaction with State management of the fishery – especially with regard to the Middle and Upper River.

To recap:

We requested that fish wheels be allowed 24/7 early in the season as was allowed in Federally managed waters. THIS WAS IGNORED

We requested that an Elder Fishery for a small amount of King Salmon be allowed in State waters similar to the Social/Cultural Permit allowed in Federal waters. THIS WAS IGNORED

We requested that escapement data for missing years at two of the weirs be included in the charts that are provided in our meeting packets. THIS WAS IGNORED

We requested that there be no commercial fishing on the end of the Chum and beginning of the Silver runs. THIS WAS IGNORED – NOT ONCE, BUT 3 TIMES
If my memory is working right I believe these requests were all, if not most, supported through formal votes of the KRSMWG. Not only was there no follow through on our requests but there was little or no communication back from ADF&G directly to the KRSMWG explaining why these requests could not be implemented. I find this very troubling. Our group is made up of reasonable People with a great ability for understanding and compromise. But the lack of communication from the Department regarding our requests becomes naturally viewed as disrespect.

We’re not worth the time of day and ADF&G is going to do whatever it wants.

But the truth is – we aren’t primitive children who don’t know what’s good for us. We are local People with a long term perspective of subsistence, commercial, and even sport fishing on Our River and a deeply vested interest in maintaining the sustainability of Kuskokwim Salmon stocks for our descendants.

The disrespect whether it be real or perceived, to the KRSMWG is unacceptable and if we are going to go forward as an effective local advisory group, it must be resolved.

Or the current management system must be replaced.

Newsweek Article – Ocean Acidification & Alaska Potential Concerns

Wow – this is very disconcerting…to say the least.  That’s all we need given the low Chinook numbers and what appears to be a decline in overall Kuskokwim productivity.

http://www.newsweek.com/ocean-acidification-alaskan-fisheries-alaska-crab-crabs-climate-change-alaska-261756

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AK Dispatch Article – Kuskokwim fish wars heat up again as silvers enter the river

See the entire article at http://www.adn.com/article/20140723/kuskokwim-fish-wars-heat-again-silvers-enter-river

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More than 50 people attended the meeting in Lower Kalskag to express their frustration over their inability to harvest enough salmon to meet their subsistence needs.

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Yukon Delta National Wildlife staff listen to the concerns raised by people in the middle Kuskokwim River.