Leaders mark 75th anniversary of wildlife restoration law

September 4, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 4, 2012

State leaders recently celebrated a federal law passed 75 years ago to help Washington and other states manage wildlife, purchase habitat and educate hunters.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, provided Washington with millions of dollars to support wildlife conservation and hunter education initiatives.

Sept. 2 marked 75 years since Roosevelt signed the legislation into law.

The law is better known as the Pittman-Robertson Act after the prime sponsors, U.S. Sen. Key Pittman, D-Nev., and U.S. Rep. A. Willis Robertson, D-Va.

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Spawn is on as first salmon reach Issaquah hatchery

August 28, 2012

Salmon spawning season at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started early Aug. 25 as a hatchery docent-in-training spotted the first fish, a small chinook in Issaquah Creek.

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Spawning salmon reaches Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

August 27, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. Aug. 27, 2012

Salmon spawning season at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery started early Aug. 25 as a hatchery docent-in-training spotted the first fish, a small chinook in Issaquah Creek.

The recent drop in temperature aided the salmon on a long journey from the Pacific Ocean to Issaquah Creek. Cool conditions often prompt the fish to depart Lake Sammamish and head upstream.

The initial fish, a female, or hen, appeared just below the weir across the creek at the hatchery. The arrival occurred as Friends of the Issaquah Salmon conducted training for docents and other volunteers.

Late August is a typical arrival time for spawning salmon. The hatchery recorded the initial fish last year, a pair of chinook, early Aug. 23.

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FISH hosts hatchery anniversary photo contest

August 21, 2012

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is hosting a photo contest to celebrate the hatchery’s 75th anniversary.

Organizers encourage amateur and professional photographers to document the hatchery, salmon in the stream, and the flora and fauna that inhabit the grounds.

Photos must be taken on hatchery property in places open to the public, between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31. Winners will be announced Nov. 10 at the hatchery.

Learn more about the contest and submit entries at www.issaquahfish.org. Click on the “FISH Celebrates 75th Anniversary” link at the top of the home page.

The hatchery, a Works Progress Administration project, opened in 1937. The property is owned by the city and operated by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State creates salmon recovery scorecard

July 24, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has made finding up-to-date information about salmon runs and salmon recovery efforts easier, by unveiling a salmon scorecard.

The online tool —Salmon Conservation Reporting Engine, or SCoRE — consolidates information about Washington salmon populations, hatchery production, conservation guidelines and other aspects of salmon management into a single website, http://wdfw.wa.gov/score.

SCoRE outlines major recovery initiatives under way around the state to restore salmon habitat, restructure hatchery operations and redesign fisheries to conserve wild salmon runs.

“Our goal was to make this information as easy to access as possible,” Sara LaBorde, a special assistant to the agency director, said in a statement. “With SCoRE, people can switch from an overview of statewide habitat-restoration efforts to spawning data for a specific salmon run with a few mouse clicks.”

The website breaks down increases and decreases in salmon and steelhead populations, activities at specific hatcheries, information about wild salmon and steelhead runs, and opportunities for the public to participate in salmon recovery efforts.

“Our state made a major commitment to salmon recovery, and people have a right to know how that’s going,” LaBorde said.

Where have all the kokanee salmon gone?

July 17, 2012

Dallas Cross

For 5 million years, an ancient class of salmon has been swimming in lakes and streams once connected to the Pacific Ocean. They are kokanee, a small species of freshwater salmon.

Kokanee live in Lake Sammamish and spawn in its creeks. Their scientific name is Oncorhynchus nerka. It is a combination of hooked-nose in Latin together with a complex, Latin-Polish name for red salmon. They share the nerka name with their ancestral, but genetically distinct, sockeye salmon. The name, kokanee, comes from the Okanagan-Salish language and means red fish.

Lake Sammamish kokanee embrace their red fish name when they return in November through January to their birth creeks to spawn. In the lake, they are mostly silver with small scales, not spotted like trout, and have a distinctively forked tail. At spawning time, the bodies of males turn a bright red with green heads and a hooked nose. The females’ bodies turn red with a faint green stripe.

Spawning pairs seek gravel beds in the same streams where they were hatched. In these streams, they move gravel around making redds in which the female lays eggs to be fertilized by the ever-attendant male. The eggs incubate in the gravel redds for three to four months during which an alevin with an egg sac forms. Alevin then absorb the sac and mature into kokanee fry. The fry wait for a stream temperature of about 52 degrees and a dark night to leave their gravel beds and make a run downstream to the lake.

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City Council decision advances dam project

July 10, 2012

Plans to replace a problem-plagued dam upstream from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery surged ahead July 2, as City Council members steered dollars to complete designs for a proposed replacement.

Crews intend to add boulder weirs to Issaquah Creek and demolish the dam, perhaps as early as next spring.

The legislation approved by the council increased city dollars for the project by $268,700 from the $155,000 municipal leaders initially set aside in the 2012 municipal budget for the replacement. Now, after the council decision, the total amount in the budget is $423,700.

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FISH hosts Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon lecture

May 15, 2012

Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is hosting U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists and a state Department of Fish and Wildlife manager to discuss the Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon recovery program May 23.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Watershed Science Center at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, 125 W. Sunset Way. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The event includes U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists Jeff Chan and Roger Tabor, plus state Department of Fish & Wildlife Region 4 Hatchery Manager Doug Hatfield.

Participants can learn about the Lake Sammamish kokanee and the status of the population from the federal biologists. Hatfield plans to cover the details of the innovative effort going on at the hatchery to preserve the species.

FISH, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the preservation of the historic hatchery through educational programs in school classrooms and at the hatchery.

Anglers turn out at Pine Lake for lowland lakes opening day

May 8, 2012

Anglers headed to Pine Lake as the lowland lakes fishing season opened April 28 and, on average, caught about three fish apiece.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said 75 anglers checked in at the Sammamish Plateau lake on opening day. The agency said, on average, each angler caught 5.1 fish and harvested 3.07 fish.

(The total for average number of fish caught includes the number of fish released.)

Based on creel checks conducted at 112 lakes across the state, the agency estimated anglers caught 3.99 trout on average.

Statewide, good weather and large trout helped boost the catch.

“The weather was good and so was the fishing,” said Chris Donley, Inland Fish manager for the agency. “We saw a lot of limits taken at lakes around the state.”

The department released 3 million hatchery-reared trout averaging 11 inches to 13 inches — 1 to 3 inches longer than last year — into lakes before opening day.

“Lots of folks noticed those larger fish,” said Mark Downen, a department fish biologist for Mason and Kitsap counties. “With bigger fish and cool but sunny weather, it was all in all a good opener.”

State seeks applicants for international salmon panel

May 1, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife seeks nominees to a panel responsible for advising state representatives about salmon.

The agency needs citizens for the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, the international body dedicated to protecting fish and wildlife on the high seas. Commission members include the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and South Korea.

Members of the state advisory council must be Washington residents, and knowledgeable about salmon, steelhead and other species. Of the Washington representatives, at least one must represent commercial fishing interests and another must be affiliated with environmental concerns.

Heather Bartlett, hatcheries division manager, said the department is seeking qualified candidates to fill five positions on the advisory panel. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appoints the members.

Candidates should submit a resume, along with a statement of their fishery management philosophy and potential contributions to Ami Hollingsworth, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capital Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. Applicants can also email materials to ami.hollingsworth@dfw.wa.gov or fax them to 360-902-2183. Nominations must be received by May 15.

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