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October 2007

News and Updates from the Wild Fish Conservancy

IN THIS ISSUE

 


Wild Fish Runs
is a bi-monthly publication for the Wild Fish Conservancy members and supporters to provide program updates and networking assistance. The Wild Fish Conservancy is a conservation-ecology organization dedicated to the recovery and conservation of Washington's wild-fish ecosystems. Since 1989, the Wild Fish Conservancy has sought to improve conditions for all the region's wild fish through science, education, and advocacy. The Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit 510(c)(3) organization.

PO Box 402
15629 Main St NE
Duvall, WA 98019
425-788-1167 Phone
425-788-9634 Fax
www.wildfishconservancy.org

 


Want to get more involved? The Wild Fish Conservancy appreciates your support and can use your volunteer help in a number of ways including the annual benefit auction, educational programs, office assistance, staffing booths at public events, and participating in membership campaigns and other special events. Please contact the office at 425-788-1167 if you would like to volunteer or have an event you would like mentioned in Wild Fish Runs or on the website or click here.

 

Wild Fish Conservancy Launches New Website

Spring3.jpg

Wild Fish Conservancy is proud to announce the launch of its new and much improved web site.

The new web site features an exciting new look with striking graphics, updated and expanded content, and a more user-friendly appearance and feel.

The launch of this new web site is another great stride forward for the Wild Fish Conservancy, its members, and supporters. Looking ahead, this new site promises to be an effective outreach and education tool as we strive to recover and conserve the region's wild-fish ecosystems through our science, education and advocacy initiatives.

We encourage you to visit the site, bookmark it, and check back frequently as we will be updating and expanding it regularly. Also, please spread the word about the new site to your friends and colleagues who may not know about Wild Fish Conservancy and the important work we're doing.

Wild Fish Conservancy would like to acknowledge the ongoing and thoughtful support of Mr. Bruce McNae. Without his generous contribution this new web site would not have been possible.

 

Shop the Wild Fish Conservancy Store and Help Save Wild Fish

The Wild Fish Conservancy store in Duvall is currently featuring the work of local underwater photographer Katrina Kruse.

oct07_redirishlordKatrina Kruse is an artist known for her photographic interpretation of marine life. She is enchanted by the tiny organisms found in the marine environment and her examination of their form and design inspires her to create distinctive images that transport us into a realm of incredible color, luminous texture, and sensual form.

Her diving is done primarily in the marine waters of the Pacific Northwest and thus she has become intimate with the habitat and the cycle of life found in Puget Sound. Most of her subjects are the size of a quarter and many of her photographs portray  worlds that would fit in the palm of your hand. It is these worlds that particularly hold her interest.

Stop by and check out the matted prints, note cards, book marks, magnets and switch plates featuring Katrina’s amazing  photographs of Puget Sound species.

The store is also stocked with an exciting array of exquisite art prints from Joseph Tomelleri and Tanya Hill, and t-shirts and books from Ray Troll. We also have plenty of items for kids and the young-at-heart including: fun and messy science kits; games, puzzles, and tools to explore the outdoors; and a full assortment of  beautiful Folkmanis animal hand puppets. Our book section includes a broad selection of field guides, reference books, nature oriented fiction and non-fiction, and children’s books.

The Wild Fish Conservancy store is open  Monday – Saturday from 10:00am till 5:00pm.  If you’d like to place an order but can’t make it out to Duvall, contact the office at 425-788-1167 and we’ll be happy to take your order and ship it to you.  We are located on SR 203 at 15629 Main St NE in Duvall, WA.



You Can Support Wild Fish Conservancy Everyday

oct07_pccPCC Natural Market Scrip Card: Wild Fish Conservancy is excited to announce that you can now support our work to preserve, protect and restore Washington’s wild fish ecosystems every time you shop at a PCC Natural Market.

Wild Fish Conservancy is now a participating partner in the PCC Scrip program.  This program allows you to purchase a $50.00 PCC Scrip card directly from the Wild Fish Conservancy and use it the same as cash at any PCC Natural Market.  The Wild Fish Conservancy will then receive 5% of the amount you spend as a donation.  Once you purchase the card from the Wild Fish Conservancy store you can recharge it as many times as you like at any PCC Market and the Wild Fish Conservancy will continue to receive 5% of every purchase.

For more information or to purchase your PCC Scrip card please contact the Wild Fish Conservancy office at 425-788-1167 or stop by the Wild Fish Conservancy store on Main Street in Duvall.

Workplace Giving: Federal and state employees may designate a portion of their paycheck to the Wild Fish Conservancy.  Workplace rules differ but here are a few ways you may designate dollars to the Wild Fish Conservancy:

Washington State Combined Fund Drive (CFD): If you are a Washington state employee, including City of Seattle employees, you can direct a donation to the Wild Fish Conservancy through the Washington State Combined Fund Drive.  Simply note our organization number (315054) on your payroll deduction form or head to the CFD website and set-up giving options for the 2007 fiscal year.  Your monthly donation provides much needed, sustainable and predictable funding for the Wild Fish Conservancy’s projects and programs.

King County Employee Giving Program: If you are an employee of King County you can direct a donation to the Wild Fish Conservancy through the  King County Employee Giving Program. King County employees can pledge an amount to be deducted from their paycheck and donated to as many as six nonprofit organizations of their choice. Deductions can be made: Bimonthly (deducted every paycheck); Monthly (deducted from the second paycheck each month); Annually (deducted once in January). Minimum donation per organization is $2.00. Maximum number of organization designations is six. To learn more about this program and to direct a donation to the Wild Fish Conservancy go to http://www.metrokc.gov/giving/

Work-Place Giving: Many employers allow you to direct money to the non-profit of your choice thorough their own donation programs.  Companies like Microsoft, REI, Boeing and many others choose to organize their own employee donation programs where paycheck dollars are directed to non-profit organizations.  Are you unsure of the policies of your employer?  Then contact the appropriate payroll staff and ask about workplace giving and let them know you would like to direct dollars to the Wild Fish Conservancy – if the option is not available then talk to your employer about starting one.  It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your employer’s dedication to environmental issues!

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Wild Fish Conservancy Visits the Broughton Archipelago

Micah Wait, Wild Fish Conservancy Conservation Biologist

Alexandra Morton is a research scientist living and working in British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago, a remote island chain between the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island and the BC mainland. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Rainforest Research Society. Among other projects, RRS is studying the relationship between commercial salmon farms and the decline of wild pink salmon in the region. This spring, Wild Fish Conservancy staff traveled to the Broughton Archipelago to observe Morton’s research on the impact of commercial
aquaculture on wild salmon runs.

Commercial salmon farming began in the coastal communities of British Columbiaoct07_broughton in the early 1980’s, growing from a handful of net pens to the current level of 85 facilities throughout the province. While aquaculture has created relatively significant economic activity in otherwise remote and sometimes depressed communities, critics have cited the potential ecological impacts of salmon farming, and the industry has created some controversy in British Columbia. Wild Fish Conservancy has been following the ongoing debate regarding the impact of salmon farms on the nearshore ecosystems where they are placed, and has been concerned about the potential for the expansion of commercial salmon farming in Puget Sound.

Morton’s data has convinced her that parasitic sea lice are the primary reason for the decline of pink salmon runs in the Broughton Archipeligo region. Sea lice are native to the Pacific coast of the US and Canada, and are frequently found on adult salmon as they return to local coasts and rivers in the summer and fall. However, sea lice are not normally present in great abundance when juvenile salmon migrate into the nearshore in the spring months. Non-native Atlantic salmon, stocked in commercial salmon farms located in coastal and inland marine waters, act as year round hosts for sea lice, providing an opportunity for sea lice to infect salmon smolts migrating through and adjacent to the salmon farm’s net pens.

Wild Fish Conservancy Executive Director Kurt Beardslee and Conservation Biologist Micah Wait visited Morton and her team of researchers to learn how they had been documenting sea lice infection rates on juvenile salmon. Wild Fish Conservancy is exploring opportunities to conduct similar research on currently unmonitored aquaculture sites in Washington and British Columbia. We spent three days visiting Morton’s research sites, collecting juvenile fish and documenting their sea lice loads.

During our visit we met Twyla Roscovich, a filmmaker who has been documenting Morton’s work. Roscovich’s video blog, www.callingfromthecoast.com illustrates Morton’s research in great detail. Wild Fish Conservancy’s observational visit with RRS research teams is documented in Episode 3, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BcRBwCh6BA.

The visit with Morton and her dedicated team was well worth the time and effort it took to travel to this remote locale, which can only be accessed via boat or sea plane. The Wild Fish Conservancy is currently pursuing funding to monitor sea lice occurrence and distribution around commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound, where there is currently no requirement for sea lice monitoring.

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Open Net Pen Aquaculture in Puget Sound

Mark Hersh, Wild Fish Conservancy Water Quality Specialist

As commercial enterprises go, salmon farming in Washington is still relatively small in scale.  Currently, eight privately owned facilities hold Department of Ecology permits to commercially raise salmon in open net pens in the public waters of Puget Sound. In comparison, there are over 85 open net pen salmon farms in coastal British Columbia.  Conservation organizations there have documented several types of negative ecological impacts associated with open net pen salmon aquaculture.

Salmon have been raised commercially in Puget Sound since the 1970s.  A typical facility can commonly occupy an area 1000 feet by 200 feet, excluding support cables and anchors.  The net pens are stocked with juveniles (produced at upland hatcheries), fed hundreds of thousands of pounds per month of processed food, and raised to commercial size.  Early on, Puget Sound aquaculture enterprises attempted to raise coho salmon (a species native to the Sound), but ultimately, like the vast majority of the salmon-farming industry world-wide,  switched to raising exotic Atlantic salmon, achieving much higher efficiency.

Like other intensive, industrial-scale agricultural efforts, open net pen salmon aquaculture impacts natural resources in a number of ways.  Anywhere from two to five pounds of processed food is needed to raise one pound of marketable salmon.  Because this fish food is manufactured from wild ocean fish, open net pen aquaculture contributes to the over harvesting of global fisheries.  Researchers in British Columbia have determined that wild salmon smolts are more likely to be infested with parasitic sea lice after passing by aquaculture facilities, reducing their fitness and increasing mortality.  Fish feces, uneaten fish food, disinfectants, and other effluents can cause impacts to the bottom sediments and associated flora and fauna. Unfortunately, Washington law allows aquaculture net pens to be held to a less stringent marine sediment standard compared to other permitted facilities.  Introducing a large number of exotic fish present in Puget Sound increases the risk of escapes which could swamp our already precarious native wild-salmonid populations.  In  several events in the 1990’s, hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped from Puget Sound net pens.

Washington Department of Ecology recently proposed revised Clean Water Act permits for the eight Puget Sound net pen facilities. Wild Fish Conservancy reviewed the proposed permits, and given Governor Gregoire’s recent initiative to protect and restore Puget Sound, we were disappointed.  The environmental impacts and risks from open net pens were not adequately characterized by either previously-mandated studies or the proposed permits’ conditions. We submitted substantive comments regarding the proposed permits, recommending monitoring for additional parameters, such as parasitic sea lice, in order to better describe the risk and impacts. We also recommended a one-year permit term (rather than the standard five year term) with mandatory and public review of monitoring, in order to provide Ecology and the public with the opportunity to consider this additional information.

In short, the permits need to reflect the current state of the science, and where questions remain, additional work must be conducted.  Our goal is similar to our goal in other instances where government is granting permission to a private entity to use public resources, that is, permit decisions based on the best available scientific information.  When important information is not available, efforts to gather the relevant information must be made.  Ultimately, permits should contain all reasonable measures needed to protect our wild fish and their habitats. While open net pen salmon aquaculture in Puget Sound is still relatively nascent, industries of any size likely to impact the health of Puget Sound and its wild fish need to be properly regulated.

Read more about this issue in Wild Fish Conservancy's comments regarding proposed net pen permits...

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Puget Sound Steelhead Listed as Threatened Species

Kurt Beardslee, Wild Fish Conservancy Executive Director

On May 7, 2007 NOAA Fisheries Service listed Puget Sound steelhead as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The final listing came in response to a petition filed by Sam Wright, a former fisheries manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and a past consultant for Wild Fish Conservancy.

Naturally spawned steelhead in all Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and Strait of Juan de Fuca Rivers from the Nooksack to the Elwha will be protected under the listing. Included in the listing are Green River and Hamma Hamma River winter-run hatchery steelhead.

In 1996, NOAA Fisheries Service determined that PS steelhead did not warrant listing under the ESA. However, new information presented in the petition and a revised 2005 Status Review of PS steelhead showed continued widespread declines in the abundance, distribution, and diversity of PS steelhead. NOAA cited degraded habitat, man-made fish-passage barriers, unfavorable ocean conditions, and harmful hatchery practices in PS steelhead declines.
Wild Fish Conservancy welcomed the listing. The loss and degradation of steelhead habitat and the adverse ecological and genetic impacts from steelhead hatchery programs have limited the viability of PS steelhead, and current protective measures by state and local agencies are not adequately mitigating those threats. Estimates of the total historical run size range from over 300,000 to nearly a million steelhead.  Today, total spawning escapement has shrunk to 13,000 fish, and in most years none of the populations meet their escapement goals, pushing PS steelhead to what NOAA called a “quasi-extinction threshold.” Without federal protection, PS steelhead would be more likely to face extinction.
Wild Fish Conservancy presented information to NOAA in 2005 supporting Sam Wright’s listing petition and demonstrating a sharp and strongly coherent decline in abundance, recruitment, and productivity in the five largest winter-run steelhead populations in Puget Sound. In June 2006, we submitted comments to NOAA Fisheries supporting the PS steelhead listing proposal.

However, Wild Fish Conservancy does not support the decision to include any hatchery-steelhead populations in the listing. We are also concerned about NOAA’s decision not to list resident rainbow trout populations with PS steelhead. Available evidence suggests that at least some populations of resident rainbows contribute to the productivity of some steelhead populations, and could be essential for the recovery of PS steelhead. Failure to adequately protect resident rainbow populations in Puget Sound could jeopardize steelhead recovery.
Taken with previous listings of Puget Sound chinook salmon, Hood Canal summer chum salmon, native bull trout, and Southern Resident killer whales, the PS steelhead listing is further acknowledgment that the ecology of Puget Sound and its tributary streams is in serious peril. Like wild salmon and resident killer whales, steelhead are an ecological and cultural icon of the region. But over recent decades,  despite dramatic steelhead declines, the responsible state agencies have consistently failed to take needed management actions to protect habitat and end the harmful hatchery practices that erode the fitness and productivity of wild steelhead.

NOAA’s Listing Decision describes in frank detail instances of past and present management characterized by faulty assumptions, misjudgment, and inappropriate action. While steelhead and chinook have different life histories and only similar habitat needs, they share the same Puget Sound rivers and streams; they and their overlapping habitats are managed by the same agencies. Puget Sound chinook were listed as a threatened species in 1999, but nearly a decade later, chinook recovery in Puget Sound is still far from certain. Now Puget Sound steelhead are listed as threatened too. Clearly, a new approach is needed. More foot dragging, empty promises, and half measures will not recover Puget Sound steelhead.

In February 2007, in anticipation of a likely listing decision, NOAA proposed a 4d Rule outlining protective regulations for PS steelhead. In March 2007 Wild Fish Conservancy submitted comments to NOAA regarding the proposed rule. We urged NOAA Fisheries to use all the discretion and authority granted it under the ESA to take the strong, decisive actions necessary to recover and conserve Puget Sound’s wild-steelhead ecosystems.

Read Wild Fish Conservancy's comments regarding Puget Sound steelhead listing proposal...

Read Wild Fish Conservancy's comments regarding proposed Puget Sound steelhead 4d rule...

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Marine Angler Outreach Program

Eliot Drucker, Wild Fish Conservancy Director of Science & Research (Physiology)

oct07_sasWith support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wild Fish Conservancy began a year-long public outreach program this spring intended to improve protection for at-risk salmonids in Washington’s marine environment.  The project was motivated by observed violations of no-harvest rules for bull trout and sea-run cutthroat trout in local saltwater habitats.  Illegal and unreported take by recreational anglers, even unintentional, may be significantly compromising conservation efforts, and may stem in part from confusion about the geographic range of fishery regulations or from misidentification of protected species as harvestable salmonids.

To raise public awareness of these species, and to promote angler compliance with state and federal fishing rules protecting the anadromous life-history forms of these fishes, Wild Fish Conservancy has partnered with marine access-area managers throughout western Washington to post educational signage illustrating bull trout and coastal cutthroat in their ocean-phase appearance and reminding anglers of the relevant restrictions on harvesting these species in marine water.  To date, signs have been installed at nearly 300 coastal sites in Washington, from Point Roberts at the US-Canada border to the mouth of the Columbia River, at ports, marinas, state, county and city parks, as well as many boat ramps managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The outreach program also includes an angler survey, which solicits information about recreational fishing experiences in Washington marine water and provides an opportunity to register opinions about current fishing regulations.  Information collected from the survey will help sustain both fish populations and fishing opportunities.  All Washington marine anglers are invited to participate in the survey, which is available online through June 2008 by clicking here or at www.wildfishconservancy.org.

 

Ellsworth Creek Preserve Assessment

Jamie Glasgow, Wild Fish Conservancy Director of Science & Research (Ecology)

Ellsworth Creek is a 5,000 acre watershed that flows into southwestoct07_ellsworth Washington’s sprawling 260-square mile Willapa Bay, one of the few large estuary ecosystems on the West Coast left relatively undisturbed. Willapa Bay and its surrounding watersheds sustain an amazing array of biodiversity, and while portions of the Ellsworth basin have been logged in the past, it still supports groves of old-growth Sitka spruce, Douglas-fir and other conifers thought to be more than 800 years old. Marbled murrelets nest high in the canopy, and black bear, cougar, and elk roam the forest floors. The watershed is entirely owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy, making it the only fully protected coastal watershed of its size between central Oregon and southern Canada.

The Nature Conservancy is using the Ellsworth Creek Preserve as a living laboratory for forest restoration research, and will be testing a variety of forestry and habitat restoration techniques to evaluate their impacts on the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem there.  As part of TNC’s extensive study design, Wild Fish Conservancy has been contracted to perform exhaustive snorkel and electrofishing surveys to document fish species composition, distribution, and abundance throughout the approximately 35km of fish-bearing streams within the watershed.

From mid-July through mid-August Wild Fish Conservancy investigators camped in the watershed to perform the systematic surveys, identifying and enumerating juvenile coho, coastal cutthroat trout, and several species of sculpin.

 

Little Quilcene Watershed Assessment and Restoration Priority Framework

Jamie Glasgow, Wild Fish Conservancy Director of Science & Research (Ecology)

The Citizen Watershed Assessment Program of the Pacific Ecological Institute empowers citizens to get involved in local watershed planning efforts and encourages workable solutions.  Based in Seattle, Washington, PEI works with grassroots citizen groups in small watersheds to increase public involvement, secure funding, and implement the prioritized recommendations of watershed plans.

Currently, PEI is working with local citizens in the Little Quilcene watershed, which flows into northwest Hood Canal at the town of Quilcene.  The 40-square mile watershed supports populations of chinook, chum, coho, steelhead, and coastal cutthroat. In spring 2007 PEI invited Wild Fish Conservancy to participate in an effort to evaluate current salmonid habitat conditions in the Little Quilcene and assess threats to the watershed and the wild-fish populations it sustains.

oct07_littlequilceneThe Little Quilcene River originates above 4,400 feet on the north slopes of Mt. Townsend in the Olympic Mountains. Its streamflow is derived from both rainfall and snowmelt. The high gradient, confined headwaters are within the Olympic National Forest. A natural barrier waterfall at river mile 6.8 prevents migratory fish access from Hood Canal to the upper watershed.  The lower seven miles runs through glacial sediments, siltstone and sandstone. This lower valley, including the floodplain, has been extensively developed for domestic development, agricultural use, and timber harvest.

Wild Fish Conservancy will perform instream and riparian habitat assessments, a fish species composition and distribution assessment, a fish passage inventory, salmon spawning and redd surveys, and a watertype assessment. After primary investigations are complete, Wild Fish Conservancy will prepare a restoration priority framework, including a prioritized list of site-specific habitat restoration and protection actions intended to sustain the diversity of conditions occurring naturally in the Little Quilcene watershed.

Wild Fish Conservancy is excited to contribute to Pacific Ecological Institute’s systematic, science-based approach to identifying and prioritizing wild-fish habitat restoration and protection opportunities; we look forward to working closely with the Institute on this and other projects.

 

Education Opportunities Abound in Leavenworth

Casey Ralston, Wild Fish Conservancy Education Coordinator

In April, Wild Fish Conservancy kicked off educational opportunities in the Leavenworth area with an evening program at the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Wild Fish Conservancy Science and Research Director Dr. Eliot Drucker presented an update on our Icicle Creek research activities to community residents who attended the event.  This was one of our first opportunities to talk to the local public about what we are doing in the Icicle watershed to conserve its wild-fish populations and why it is important.

In June, we conducted our first education program at Barn Beach Reserve inoct07_barnbeach Leavenworth. Approximately 40 eighth grade students from Wenatchee’s Pioneer Middle School GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program spent the day learning about the ecology, biology, and cultural history of the Wenatchee River and Leavenworth Area. GEAR UP provides unique learning opportunities for at-risk students to help keep them in school and prepare them for college.

All students visited four different hands-on stations (fish observation, butterfly ecology, native bird identification, and nature journaling).  In the fish session, we talked to the students about riparian ecosystems, the salmon lifecycle, and our research in Icicle Creek.  We also set up a couple of underwater cameras and television monitors so students could look into the river and see what they could find living beneath the surface.  Each session was different, but the students observed many juvenile coho and Chinook, a couple of rainbows, and one large-scale sucker. The kids enjoyed looking at fish but the undisputed highlight of the day was one group’s discovery of a caddisfly larvae.  Who knew that little critter would catch everyone’s attention? The day program at Barn Beach Reserve was a great way for these urban kids to connect with their natural environment and to explore a variety of environmental science careers.

More education opportunities are coming up.  We’ll be back at the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival September 20-23, and we are currently busy developing a new fourth grade field curriculum that we’ll be piloting at Barn Beach Reserve in October.

For more information about our education programs, please contact Casey Ralston at casey@wildfishconservancy.org.

 

Students Love the Bee Cam!

Casey Ralston, Wild Fish Conservancy Education Coordinator

oct07_EDPWild Fish Conservancy completed another successful season of education programs at Oxbow Farm.  The Environmental Discovery Program is always a hit with teachers and students, especially in the spring when kids are finishing up school testing and the weather is warming up.  This spring we had the opportunity to recruit some new teachers and work with several new schools, picking up seven new classes from three schools in Monroe, Washington. From April to June, we provided ecological education to approximately 230 third, fourth, and fifth graders, delivering hands-on lessons about native plants and animals, habitats, water quality, and healthy ecosystems.

This spring we continued to pilot our Window to Discovery project with classes participating in the Environmental Discovery Program. Several teachers were eager for their students to take part in this inquiry-based project that uses remote video technology to unobtrusively observe wildlife in their natural habitats.

We asked students to make observations and ask questions about things they were seeing during their fieldtrip so that we could set up a few mini experiments to gather some photos/video that might help us learn something interesting.  We used a live video-feed to get up close and personal with bees entering an exiting a bee hive, and we used time lapse photography to watch several decomposers devouring a dead field mouse, and to discover a fish guarding its nest in the farm pond.

In the end, we all learned a few things.  Bees are fun to watch when you don’t have to worry about them stinging you, sometimes experiments don’t go as planned, and slugs are even grosser than we thought! If you need more proof, check out the video. The Window to Discovery program continues to display potential.  Students get excited about the technology and in the process learn about wildlife and how we use science to answer questions.

We’d like to thank our Spring 2007 teachers Judy Irving and Ann Thornton (Fryelands Elementary); Missy Maxson, Leah Dunn, and Kirsten Kurtenbach (Monroe Elementary); and Cheryl Alt, Lauren Manegold, and Tara Riddle (Salem Woods Elementary)- thanks for your commitment to environmental education. We look forward to seeing you again next year. And of course, many thanks to our wonderful new and returning field instructors- Lee Hendrickson, Sarah Close, Barb Bruell, and Lynn Brevig.

For more information about the Environmental Discovery Program, visit our EDP webpage or contact Education Coordinator Casey Ralston at casey@wildfishconservancy.org.

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Opera Recital at Benaroya Hall Benefits Puget Sound Recovery

Tyler Cluverius, Wild Fish Conservancy Outreach & Development Coordinator

On August 5, Chestnut Hill Farm, Julia Benzinger, Holly Boaz, David Lara, andoct07_opera Stephen Rumph presented a benefit recital of aquatic inspired opera favorites at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. The event raised almost $4000 to support Wild Fish Conservancy’s efforts to preserve, protect and restore Puget Sound.

Accompanied by Seattle Opera principal pianist David McDade, Benzinger, Boaz, Lara and Rumph presented a ninety-minute program entitled Restoring Puget Sound With Song, including solos, duets, and ensembles by Bizet, Puccini, Verdi, Britten, and other composers. Many of the evening’s selections addressed themes related to water and wildlife.

The evening concluded with a delightful after-party hosted by Russell Lowell at Russell’s On Wall Street. The gathering offered a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the performers and other Wild Fish Conservancy supporters in a cozy and informal atmosphere.

Thanks to Julia Benzinger, Holly Boaz, David Lara, Stephen Rumph, and David McDade who all donated their time and talent for the benefit performance. Also, thanks to Bruce McNae of Chestnut Hill Farm for his generous support; Russell Lowell for the amazing chocolate cake and champagne; and Don Martin for serving as the evening’s Emcee.

And a big round of applause to everyone who attended the performance. Your generous support is greatly appreciated.

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Stillaguamish Festival of the River

Tyler Cluverius, Wild Fish Conservancy Outreach & Outreach Coordinator

 

The Stillaguamish Festival of the River is a two day environmental and culturaloct07_stillyfest event that attracts thousands of attendees from across the region. Held each August in Arlington, the festival features live music, food, arts and crafts, and environmental education booths with an emphasis on the Stillaguamish Watershed and the surrounding area.

For the third year in a row, Wild Fish Conservancy education and outreach staff were on hand to answer questions on issues such as water quality, habitat protection and restoration, and how to identify the different species of salmonids. Once again this year, the Wild Fish Conservancy tent offered youngsters the opportunity to make the popular salmon hats and a contest to match juvenile salmon with their adult forms.

The Wild Fish Conservancy booth was well attended all weekend long and was very popular with the numerous families in attendance. The next festival on our calendar is the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery September 20-23. We hope to see you there!

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Staff Updates


Wild Fish Conservancy Bids Farewell to Office Manager Ann Whitney
In August 2007 Ann Whitney resigned as Wild Fish Conservancy's Office Manager to accept a position at CE Credits Online. For nine years Ann was a vital member of the Wild Fish Conservancy team. As Office Manager, she managed the day-to-day activities of the organization with aplomb and professionalism. If you ever contacted our offices, you probably spoke to Ann.

Over the years, Ann made significant behind the scenes contributions to many Wild Fish Conservancy projects, programs, and events. She coordinated office communications and infrastructure, administered contracts and grant applications, and maintained the website, donations, and constituent databases. She provided data quality assurance and research assistance as needed. Each year she worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the Wild Fish Soiree and Benefit Auction. In short, Ann kept the wheels from coming off the cart.

While Ann will most certainly be missed, we wish her well as she begins this new and exciting chapter of her career. We have no doubt that Ann will make a valuable contribution at CE Credits Online, and wherever she goes.

GIS Specialist Dana Trethewy Leaves Wild Fish Conservancy
In spring of 2007 Dana Trethewy resigned her position as the Wild Fish Conservancy Geographic Information Systems Specialist to join Marshall & Associates as their GIS Business Analyst.

Dana started at Wild Fish Conservancy in early 2006; in just a short time, she made significant contributions to strengthening our GIS program and IT infrastructure. Dana was also instrumental in the early stages developing a new web site for Wild Fish Conservancy. We wish her well in her new position at Marshall & Associates.

Jan Bosman, Retail Store Assistant
An avid naturalist and photographer, Jan Bosman joined the Wild Fish Conservancy team in the spring of 2007 as the Retail Store Assistant.  Jan comes to Wild Fish Conservancy with a wealth of experience in retail management and customer service, and can be found working in the Wild Fish Conservancy store in Duvall most Saturdays.

Jan, originally from Virginia, was a high school honor student and recipient of the Presidential Award for Educational Excellence. Following brief stints as a Barista, Search Engine Consultant, and Individual Support Counselor, his passion for the outdoors led him to Duvall, Washington where he recently completed the Wilderness Awareness School’s rigorous Residential Program.

Thomas Buehrens, Biologist

Thomas Buehrens, Biologist, was hired in the summer of 2007 and will focus much of his attention on the design and implementation of Wild Fish Conservancy research and restoration projects. He earned his Bachelors degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Bowdoin College.  Before coming to work full time at Wild Fish Conservancy he completed two internships here as a Doherty Coastal Studies Fellow. His research experience includes studies of nearshore habitat use by juvenile salmon in Puget Sound, diet and trophic linkages of ducks in Merrymeeting Bay in Maine, and stand dynamics and nutrient cycling in mangroves in Belize.  Thomas currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

John Crandall, Biologist
John Crandall joined the Wild Fish Conservancy team as a Biologist in spring, 2007. John has worked on fisheries conservation across the Northwest for the past 15 years and brings a wide variety of talents and skills. He is especially interested in monitoring fish and habitat response to restoration activities, as well as river-riparian interactions. Not limited to fish and streams, John’s work experience includes extensive field work studying coyotes in Yellowstone National Park and high elevation populations of white-crowned sparrows in Yosemite.

John’s most recent experience includes eight years of working for The Nature Conservancy. With TNC, John worked as fisheries ecologist in the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon and on-site preserve manger at the McCloud River Preserve near Mount Shasta, and more recently engaged as fisheries ecologist working out of the north-central Washington office. With TNC, John examined the response to wetlands restoration by larvae of endangered shortnose and Lost River suckers at the Williamson River Delta, as well as small stream habitat use by bull and redband trout. He also managed day-to-day operations at the McCloud River Preserve, a 2,400 acre Preserve that hosts incredible biodiversity and a river renowned for its wonderful trout fishing.

John moved with his family to the Methow Valley in 2005 and will be focusing on the development of Wild Fish Conservancy programs in the Upper Columbia River Basin. Currently, John is working part-time on the Icicle Creek project. In his non-work life, John enjoys the outdoors, tying flies, making salsa, and chasing after his two-year old son.

Nickolas Haldeman, GIS/IT Specialist
Nick Haldeman, Geographic Information Systems Specialist, was hired in summer 2007 and is responsible for all GIS analyzes and cartography related to Wild Fish Conservancy research, restoration, and advocacy initiatives. He also provides technology support for field efforts and for our office network of workstations, laptops, and server.

Nick has a comprehensive understanding of the ecology of Northwest aquatic ecosystems, receiving his Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science with a minor in GIS from Western Washington University in 2007. In 2005 and 2006, he was a scientific technician for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He gained his IT experience doing network, hardware, and software troubleshooting at the US Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Portland, Oregon.

Ted Labbe, Ecologist
Ted Labbe started working as a Wild Fish Conservancy Ecologist in summer of 2007. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, fishing, running rivers, and backpacking across the Northwest with his family.  He earned a BA in History and Environmental Studies, from at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and then worked for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on various salmon population and habitat assessment projects.  In 1997, Ted received a Masters of Science degree in Fish and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University.

For nine years Ted worked for Point No Point Treaty Council and Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe focusing on landscape-scale estuary, stream, and riparian assessments, watershed planning, and land use and environmental review. With Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Ted worked closely with Wild Fish Conservancy staff on several projects including water typing and the Dosewallips river and estuary restoration.

Terri Shell, Bookkepper/Office Manager
Terri has been managing the Wild Fish Conservancy accounts since 1998. While continuing to maintain those responsibilities, she is assuming the position of Office Manager. Terry will administer day-to-day organizational activities, office communications, infrastructure, and databases.

Terri received an undergraduate degree from Washington State University specializing in Accounting. She has been an internal auditor at the JC Penney Corporation, doing compliance audits at various store locations in the Northwest, and worked for ten years in the Accounting and Materials department at Kenworth Trucks.  She is a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Public Accountant. Terri lives with her family in Duvall, Washington.

Audrey Thompson, Biologist
Hired in 2007 as a Biologist, Audrey Thompson will contribute to Wild Fish Conservancy's field research, conservation, monitoring, and advocacy projects. She completed her BA in Biology and Ecology at Colgate University and received her Masters from the Salmonid Rivers Observatory Network at the University of Montana. She conducted her Masters research on the Utkholok River in Kamchatka, Russia, addressing the transfer of marine derived nutrients to freshwater systems from Pacific salmon carcasses.

Audrey has worked as a volunteer and an assistant scientist to Dr. Jack Stanford of the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station on salmon and steelhead research projects in Kamchatka. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Chau Tran, Biologist
In pursuit of her Masters Degree in Water Resources at the University of Idaho at Moscow, Chau Tran is working with funding from the Icicle Fund and Wild Fish Conservancy to investigate the effects of newly restored fish passage at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery in Icicle Creek.

Chau's background includes working as a stream biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where she studied marine-derived nutrients throughout Chinook-dominated tributaries of the Salmon River, Idaho.  Before moving to the Northwest, she received her Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution with a Minor in Classical Civilization at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Chau is improving her fly-fishing skills with the WFC field crew and enjoys cooking, live music, snowboarding, and hiking with her spoiled dog, Hannah.


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