From: Mountain Coalition
Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2007 2:16 PM
Subject: Saving ? Salmon - Pat Neal PDN Column 12-05
Perplexed over fish
HANG ON TO your wallets.
A new chapter of the millionaires club is forming up out in the West End of
These are the new millionaires.
They spend other people's money in an attempt to save the salmon by
They call themselves the North Pacific Coast Lead Entity or NPCLE, an
unpronounceable acronym for an impossible task.
"Lead entities are local, watershed-based organizations that solicit,
develop, prioritize, and submit to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board
(SRFB) habitat protection and restoration projects for funding
consideration," according to the state Recreation and Conservation
I attended a public meeting of this group's Forks chapter last
Since 1999 the Lead Entity has spent more than $300 million in salmon recovery
efforts across the state of Washington, according to a letter to Gov. Chris
Gregoire from the Lead Entity.
These salmon recovery efforts have also paid for the construction of new bridges
across the Dungeness River and the acquisition of riverfront property from
so-called willing sellers.
Apparently the old bridges over the Dungeness were just too darned narrow for
the threatened and/or endangered bull trout, spring chinook, summer chum
salmon, humpback salmon and steelhead to swim under.
It is a mystery how the hundreds of thousands of fish that once swam up the
Dungeness ever made it under the old bridges.
Even more baffling is the fact that these ungrateful fish continued to go
extinct even after we built them the new bridges.
Fisheries are not an exact science, but as Dr. Phil would say, is fish
restoration working for us?
The Lead Entity has purchased real estate along the Dungeness River from these
These are people whose homes are in areas that have been declared bull trout
habitat, such as Rivers End Road in Sequim and Kincaid Island in the Dungeness
Many cannot get permits for their septic tanks or to maintain
dikes to protect their homes from floods.
They are suddenly willing sellers - willing to see their homes munched up by an
excavator and trucked off to the landfill, all for the good of the bull
Despite these heroic efforts, the fish in the Dungeness River remain so
threatened and endangered that the river is closed to fishing much of the
In fact, the Dungeness steelhead was just declared as
This will open up another floodgate of funding for the Lead
It's almost as if the more money we give the Lead Entity, the more fish go
Future plans for the Dungeness include taking out the dikes.
This will create even more willing sellers among the flood
Meanwhile, the mouth of the Dungeness has become a septic mess of silt and dead
If habitat is the answer to fish restoration, why are there endangered
species inside Olympic National Park, among the most pristine habitats in the
That's because the fish in the park are forced to migrate outside to a hostile
environment to return to their ocean home, said Tyler Jurasin, a biologist with
the Hoh tribe.
In addition, from my experience as a fishing guide, a major reason they never
make it is what I call nylon pollution, a generic term that applies to too much
No amount of habitat restoration can mitigate an overharvest.
We must change this harvest by using the traditional Native American way of
In the summer of 1861, James Swan canoed up the Quileute River.
He talked of weirs, fish fences made of cedar limbs stretched across the river
and used to harvest fish.
Weirs are now used in Alaska to count fish going upriver to
No one fishes until enough spawners have passed upriver.
I know this system is just too simple to work here, so hang on to your
Pat Neal is a fishing guide and writer. His column appears
on this page every Wednesday. His new book, The Fisherman's Prayer, is on
sale at Jim's Pharmacy in Port Angeles and Forks Outfitters in Forks. Cost:
$12.95 plus tax.
Contact Pat at 360-683-9867 and at PO. Box 1806, Sequim,
WA, 98382; or you can e-mail him at patnealwildlife@
Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find
them fast with Yahoo! Search.