Winter 2016
Columbia River Hatcheries Violating Endangered Species Act 
Wild Fish Conservancy recently issued a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service and the United States Department of Commerce for funding hatchery programs throughout the Columbia River Basin under the Mitchell Act without complying with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These programs adversely affect five distinct population segments (subspecies) of Chinook salmon and steelhead listed under the ESA, as well as threatened or endangered coho, chum, and sockeye salmon and bull trout, along with their critical habitat. Learn More.  
New Three-year Study to Guide Future Restoration within Puget Sound Nearshore 
In early January, WFC initiated an extensive three-year nearshore fish use study in Hood Canal, Admiralty Inlet, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Through a combination of beach seining and fyke netting, WFC biologists and volunteers began documenting outmigration patterns of juvenile salmonids at sample sites throughout the expansive study region. The project is focused on ESA-listed Hood Canal summer chum but will also document the presence and abundance of juvenile Chinook, coho, fall chum, pink salmon, steelhead, coastal cutthroat trout and various other nearshore fish species. The goal of the project is to provide a scientific basis for selecting and prioritizing future salmonid habitat restoration and protection projects within the nearshore of Hood Canal, Admiralty inlet and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Learn More.
Snoqualmie Valley Projects to Help Restore Natural Processes
Protecting intact stream habitats and restoring them where they have been compromised are important components of Wild Fish Conservancy's mission.  This summer Wild Fish Conservancy will be implementing two large-scale habitat restoration projects in the Snoqualmie Valley.  The projects are designed to restore, to the extent possible, the natural processes that create and maintain a diverse suite of habitats used by native fish.  They will increase the amount and quality of habitats available to fish and wildlife, improving the abundance and resiliency of the fish populations within the watersheds. Learn More.
It's Been Over Eight Years and Still No Plan
Wild Fish Conservancy, along with The Conservation Angler, International Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee, Washington Fly Fishing Club, and Wild Steelhead Coalition recently issued a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for violation of section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for failing to complete and implement a recovery plan for Puget Sound steelhead. NMFS has not completed a recovery plan for Puget Sound steelhead despite listing the species as threatened under the ESA in 2007 and assigning them a recovery priority number of 1-the highest priority.  The ESA requires NMFS to prepare and implement recovery plans for species listed under the statue in a timely manner. Final recovery plans should generally be completed within 2.5 years of listing. Learn More.
First Published Scientific Evidence of ISAV in BC 
A new study coauthored by Alexandra Morton in Virology Journal,  provides the first published scientific evidence that infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV) is present in British Columbia, Canada. The presence of the virus could greatly increase the risk of devastating outbreaks for salmon fisheries throughout the Pacific Northwest."This is first of all a salmon virus and a member of the influenza family, and it mutates easily and rapidly," said coauthor Alexandra Morton, an independent marine biologist. "There is no place in the world where this virus has existed quietly. It has always caused a problem. It was detected in Chile in 1999, and nothing was done to contain it. They allowed it to reproduce and mutate, and in 2007 a form appeared that swept the coast and caused $2 billion in damage."  Learn More.
Fish Trap Update: Pilings Installed Despite Blustery, Cold Conditions
A major step has been made toward the development of sustainable, stock-selective fishing techniques in the Pacific Northwest. In three blustery, cold days near Cathlamet, WA, pilings were driven into white-capped waters of the Columbia River to provide the foundation to Washington State's first fish trap in over eighty years. Once designed solely to satiate the appetite of an unsustainable commercial fishery, fish traps were notorious for the decimation of the Columbia's once robust salmon runs. Resurrected from the issuance of a statewide ban in 1936, the pilings driven for Wild Fish Conservancy's modern-day fish trap provide the structure to what may prove to be an essential step toward increasing survival of bycatch in commercial fisheries, reducing interbreeding of hatchery and wild salmonids, and improving escapement of threatened and endangered fishes to natal spawning grounds. Learn More.
On the Ground Surveys that Protect Washington's Wild Fish 
State and local governments in Washington are charged with protecting streams from adverse impacts associated with adjacent land-use activities.  Many are falling well short of protecting our resources for a surprisingly simple reason: they are relying on inaccurate maps.  In Washington, government agencies depend on a process called water typing to identify and classify streams, lakes, and wetlands. This basic inventory is the most fundamental step in conserving the health of streams, rivers, and ultimately, the larger waters which they feed, like Puget Sound.  Wild Fish Conservancy has documented widespread error throughout western Washington water typing maps.  Many streams are mis-classified, mis-mapped, or are not on the regulatory maps at all.  Hundreds of miles of productive aquatic habitats are misidentified and subsequently may be subjected to inappropriate land practices. In 2016 Wild Fish Conservancy will be continuing water type assessments in Kitsap, Thurston, King, Snohomish, and Mason Counties.  Learn More.