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Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Poor management

For you that thought I might have been kidding about including farm raised game in wild game numbers to raise the pot for drawing monies. What’s next including farm raise elk in the big game forecasts for each state?

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New Bush policy could spell doom for wild salmon

SEATTLE – In a dramatic shift in salmon recovery policies in the Northwest, the Bush administration intends to count the hundreds of millions of fish produced in hatcheries when deciding whether salmon deserve federal Endangered Species Act protection.

The Bush Administration is expected to release a new policy that may blur the once-distinct line separating hatchery and wild salmon and clear the way for dropping federal protection for Northwest fish.

In a policy to be announced in the coming months, the administration will adopt a strategy that considers the indoor tanks and concrete raceways of hatcheries extensions of natural rivers and mountain streams where salmon spawn.

This means that salmon, long the focus of billions of dollars worth of restoration projects and bitter environmental conflicts, could more quickly be declared healthy.

Biologists annually count the carcasses of spawned out wild salmon at Hanford Reach in Eastern Washington, which is one of the richest wild salmon spawning grounds in North America. There they determine if salmon still need federal protection.

"We fear this administration is walking away from its obligations to protect wild fish," said Jan Hasselman, National Wildlife Federation.

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Environmental groups say the new Bush policy will lead to the loss of federal protection for salmon runs balancing on the edge of extinction.

Critics say the new policy would result in greater salmon numbers and less federal protection for Northwest salmon and waterways.

Pro-salmon groups say watching the decline of wild salmon was the only way to find out how polluted waterways, like the Duwamish, are. They say you won't get that kind of indication from an endless supply of hatchery fish.

"Instead of protecting habitat, we're getting a statement that pumping fish out of hatcheries into polluted streams and unhealthy watersheds is good enough," said Hasselman.

The policy would relieve power generators, farmers and property owners of endangered species burdens - including limits on farm irrigation and the electricity production levels of dams - imposed by the federal government.

Industry-funded groups like the Pacific Legal Foundation have said all along it's time to include hatchery fish in salmon counts and reduce the restrictions placed on industry and residents.

"The fact is the watersheds and ecosystem is very healthy," said Russell Brooks, Pacific Legal Foundation. "The rules have needed changing for a long time and it's time we had common sense and balance in environmental regulation."

The current policies separating wild and hatchery salmon have produced long and bitter legal battles.

Conservationists said such a policy is akin to declaring a species safe if it can be reproduced in a zoo, while turning over its habitat to development.

President Bush's official plan won't be released for another two months and it's already expected to face serious legal challenges from both sides of the salmon debate.

bitmasher's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Poor management

The northwest salmon debate is dumb. You either choose dams or you choose salmon. There really is no in between, "happy medium". There is the possibility that with better dam technology they could co-exist, but if the communities are not willing to remove/replace the old dams, what is the use?

A lot of pro-dam people like to point out that being anti-dam is anti-business. This is not true, the fact is that the dams destroyed a vibrant cannery/fishery business that was built around the salmon run. These canneries are virtually gone. At the time, building dams was anti-business because it explictly destroyed business built around a free-flowing river. Plus, sport/rec fishing is huge these days, if the northwest rivers were allowed to run free, I feel they would become a sport salmon fishing mecca in north america. The $$$ generated by sport fishing would go a long ways to helping economies decimated by removing the dams.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Poor management

While I do agree with you, there is a deeper point to this article.
At what point do we simple say a species is no longer endangered because of agriculture?
I thought this was interesting because I posted something like it in another discussion.
Could say or elk be next? We already release farm raised birds so would it be a far reach to say that by raising trophy sized game in a high protean environment they could then be released into the wild to boost trophy take, thus making any given state a bigger draw for NR monies

Not to change the subject but if we want to save billions the dams need to go. that includes the hells canyon complexes which wiped out all salmon steelhead and sturgeon runs for most all of 3 states.
The salmon issue could be a good topic if the mods will allow it?

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Poor management

It was interesting to find this topic in the rocky mtn. forum.

What's happening up here in Washington is. The State is going broke from poor management of funds. What a surprise.

The logging industry is down. Boing headquarters has moved out of state. The vehicle licensing fees are less than they were 2 years ago. This is to mention just a few of the situations up here.

There are bills and proposals established on a monthly basis to put more moneys in the till. They are promoting these policies, showing intent for the funds. When they pass legislation, somehow Hmmm, the money ends up in, what they call, a general fund. To be used as needed. Hmmm.

They are trying anything they can, to get money into the state. The interest doesn't seem to be what is best. It's seems more like the interest is who's got the most money now, at whatever the cost. It's a sad thing to watch happen.

It's like the duck that looks so peacful and calm on the surface and is paddling like hell under the surface.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Poor management

The situation in Washington reminds me of when I lived in Florida, back in the '80s. They were debating starting a state lottery. It was going to be called the Florida Education Lottery. All the money would go into the Florida Education Trust Fund. All the people in support of the lottery talked about how it was going to make millions of more dollars available for the educational needs of Florida's children.

The thing is, way down in the itty-bitty, fine print of the bill it said that the state legislature was free to spend the money in the Florida Education Trust Fund in any way they pleased--not necessarily on education. I voted against it for that reason. Not that I'm against a lottery, but it was just so disgustingly dishonest the way they were going about it!

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Poor management

With all the back peddeling going on. I hope any damage created to the salmon and the salmon runs doesn't completely wipe out the natural fish or get to a point of no return. When situations like this start developing. Every conniving carpetbagger that can skim the quick bucks show up. Leaving the chances for recovery or correction by the wayside.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post. It seems as though there are decisions being made out of desperation for the immediate needs with an, Oh Well, attitude. I can just hear some of these decision makers in their closed door meetings saying. "We got ours, lets let the next guy worry about getting it back on track."

As the hole gets deeper !!!

Washington state lottery money for EDUCATION, also, ended up in the general fund. Hmmmm.

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Location: Missouri
Joined: 02/14/2004
Posts: 62
Poor management

Missouri's Lotto for education ended up the same way. Now they're wanting to expand the lottery to get more money for "education" Very little of the money is going there now!

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
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Poor management

Maybe I'm lost here, but how does the designation (endangered, not-endangered, tasty, etc) of salmon but a brake on WA's economy. It is my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong), the billions of dollars in restoration money has by and large been put up by the fed (which forces species listings) not the state.

Anyway, back to Captchee's point. Yes, I agree that including artifical head counts w/ "natural" head counts is dangerous in considering a species restored. It might fit the letter of restoration, but it does not fit the spirit of restoration.

However one could argue that most all games species are in fact artifical. Turkey, geese, elk, black bear, whitetail (in some heavy ag regions) were all at one point (late 1800's) near the brink of collapse. In other words, if people had not said "Whooa, we value having these game animals around" many of the game animals we value today would not be around. So in a way, even what we call "wild" today is not what would have been wild in the early 1800's. There are varying degrees of artifical, depending on where you want to draw the line. From a purists point of view, the only truly wild places are those that man cannot alter or effect, and those places are far and few between these days. And if they do exist it is usually only by collective agreement that all shall not intervene (aka the national park system).

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 09/20/2003
Posts: 138
Poor management

Correct bit but those stock were not from farm raised they were from wild stock that were replanted so they have never been domesticated.
The states do pay a large chunk of the monies for rehabilitation.
With the salmon issue its paid by the loss of income, by higher rates in power that is charge when the reservoirs are opened up to flush young down river, not to mention costs in agriculture rehabilitation and fisheries the list when you get down to it goes on and on.
Hatchery raised salmon and steelhead are not the same as their wild cousins in all aspects and that’s the issue at hand .
Then we add in the complex issue of the cost to agriculture and shipping if the dams are removed into the factor and you get a BIG mess

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