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Winter, 2009 Spring 2010 President’s Run The Best Laid Plans… … The water was perfect, 3 feet of visibility, milky blue green; the day was perfect, intermittent cloud cover, no chance of rain and the freezing level down by the very apparent snowline on the surrounding hill sides. It was just the kind of conditions that give you that flutter of great expectations and confidence in the winter steelhead world that today will be the day. The National Park was lonely as the raft lifted to freedom with only the distant clatter of a kingfisher, the dipping of a water ouzel and the morning’s sun rays reflecting off the dew covered moss and penetrating through the Sitka spruce, which stood like guardians along the river bank. It was the perfect day to introduce someone who does not angle to the world of wild steelhead and build a connection of not how but why? Later as the current slipped us down to the next likely steelhead run a herd of Roosevelt Elk, sensing our presence in their world, stood in regal composure amongst the log strewn flood plain. “Lynda”…, I began to explain as Jim pulled on the oars to right the raft after the encounter, “the problem for steelhead is that it’s hard for the general public to appreciate or have a connection with them.” “Only anglers typically really appreciate what they are since they are hidden by the river, out of view of the natural world, we are the only ones who see and feel them.” “If only the public understood what makes them special through our eyes, maybe they would find a little more support.” Lynda Mapes, the Seattle Times environmental writer who joined us on the river that day, soaked up each moment and the many upon many conservation messages shared and experienced first hand with her on the river that day. Lynda got the message along with much in-

formation and contacts we shared with her over the last year regarding the plight of a Washington state symbol - the steelhead trout. Many of us hope Lynda’s piece in the Seattle Times the “Lure of Steelhead” connected with others, like herself, who do not angle for steelhead and now has an immense appreciation of why wild steelhead. It is obvious that many of us are frustrated not getting the right conservation story told and in front of the many decision makers who need to hear it. But I am assured that the stories wild steelhead need will come and personally look forward to future pieces providing visibility of the current plight of wild steelhead. Thanks to Lynda for putting wild steelhead on the front page of a major newspaper and stirring the interest to understand why? In this issue of The Adipose there are a number of items I hope you will pay attention to. Again we want to take this opportunity to share and communicate with you the WSC Focus for 2010. We distributed this item in an email earlier this year, but want to include it as printed in the Adipose. This was developed by the board of directors earlier this year to help guide our work and priorities for the organization. The focus is broken down into four quadrants: The Organization, which includes developing the organization to be more viable. The Engagement/ Fundraising quadrant focuses on efforts to bring support and funding for organization and our work for wild steelhead. The Communication/Education section centers on providing information regarding the organization and our mission. And finally the Fish quadrant provides the work focused directly towards the fish. Hopefully this provides clarity for our supporter of the work in the organization and how it ties together in our mission towards wild steelhead. We also hope you paid attention to the (Continued on page 2)

(Continued from page 1)

“Worried Yet?” and the “The 5 Things You Can Do” for wild steelhead campaign. We continue to encourage our supporters to distribute this information and help increase the visibility to wild steelhead issues and inspire action as a useful guide showing what you can do individually and collectively to support wild steelhead. I would like to thank Jim Schmitz, Jeff Bright and Dylan Tomine for their support and work on this compelling effort. We would also like to thank Marianne Mitchell and Dick Burge on a job well done as the WSC hosted the Steelhead Summit Alliance event on March 27th This SSA event brought together other concerned organizations, state and federal experts and a staff person from Congressman Norm Dicks office to hear and focus on the recent outbreaks of IHN disease of hatchery fish. We hope this work will stimulate action to protect wild steelhead from this depleting disease. In closing I hope that you will make every effort to attend the WSC 2010 Annual Awards Banquet and Fundraiser on May 15th. As many of you maybe realize the WSC depends on membership fees, periodic personal donations and its annual fundraiser for the financial resources of the organization to do the work for wild steelhead. With the current economic down turn, apathy and other obligations we are concerned about the attendance for this year’s event. It is hard in light of these facts to make the commitment to attend, but we hope our membership and friends of wild steelhead will attend and help make it success, I look forward to seeing many of you there.

Help us meet our escapement goal. (400) As the rains fall and the rivers rise, one can only hope that steelhead are making their way home. Those who care deeply about steelhead know that this isn’t an easy undertaking. Today’s steelhead runs face many challenges and this is why the Wild Steelhead Coalition was formed in 2000. With the help of dedicated anglers and conservation minded individuals, the WSC has made a voice for steelhead and now people are starting to listen. The future for all wild steelhead is still up in the air and we need to ensure that the generations ahead can experience these magnificent creatures in their beautiful surroundings. The only organization solely dedicated to the future of wild steelhead needs your support. We encourage you all to either renew your membership for 2010 or actively seek a way to volunteer with the organization. Help the WSC reach its goal of 400 members in 2010. We have a long way to go and the fish need your support. Thank for supporting us in the past and we hope to have you back in 2010. Thank You, Jim Schmitz V.P. Membership Wild Steelhead Coalition

Rich Simms Wild Steelhead Coalition President

Send Us Your Photo for the WSC Banquet The WSC will be featuring a background slide presentation at out Annual Awards Banquet and Fundraiser. If you have a special photo of wild steelhead or scenery that you think the audience would enjoy please send high quality jpeg image to Jim Schmitz at We will present a prize at the end of the evening for the most compelling image the captures the spirit of wild steelhead.


WSC Fundraiser – Banquet & Auction May 15th Please plan on attending the annual Wild Steelhead Coalition Banquet and Auction on Saturday evening, May 15th at the beautiful Redmond Marriott Town Center Hotel. This is our fundraiser for the year and we need everyone’s help to continue working for the protection of wild steelhead. That evening too, we will present our Conservation Award to Sam Wright, a biologist who has worked throughout his career protecting wild fish. Our VP of Fundraising, Brian Bennett, has assembled an amazing array of raffle and auction items such as: steelhead photography, fly art, flies, fly boxes, guided trips, sculpture, Patagonia clothes and gear, Sage equipment, backpacks, sunglasses, line, jackets, hats, etc. There will also be some special prizes and give-aways for those attending. Tickets are $65.00 and must be purchased by May 7th. Dinner choices are beef, chicken, or vegetarian and are served with salad, dessert, bread, coffee, tea, etc. There will also be a no host bar. Buy tickets today at: Questions? Contact Jack Berryman at: or 425-821-1774. The fish need our help. Please attend.

Bob Young, Publisher Email:


Board of Directors President: Rich Simms 425-880-4254 1st VP Membership: Jim Schmitz 253-606-0495 VP Fundraising: Brian Bennett 253-946-6722 VP Conservation: Dick Burge 360-765-3815 VP Education: Ryan Petzold 425-238-4903 VP Science: Vacant VP Political Affairs : Vacant Secretary: Jon Velikanji 206-355-0131

Webmaster Wanted: The Wild Steelhead Coalition is looking for an individual who can manage the organization’s website. The responsibilities of this position will include regular maintanence to the site as needed and assistance with the development of a new look and feel of our on-line presence. An ability to work independently, creatively and efficiently, as well as an understanding of web site maintenance requirements and software are desired. For the most part, the webmaster will not be creating written material, but will be required to work with material and graphics that are provided, to create a pleasing and interesting on-line experience for our end users. Please contact Nathan at for details.

Treasurer: Nathen Keen 425-343-7590 VP-at-large: Bob Young 206-323-2189 Past President: Jack Berryman 425-821-1774

Trustees Bill Bakke Frank Amato John McGlenn Dylan Tomine Nate Mantua

Regional Reps Region 3: Steve Worley 509-962-2033

Adipose Editor Wanted:

Region 4: Rob Endsley 360-961-2116

The Wild Steelhead Coalition is looking for an editor for our quarterly newsletter, which outlines current issues facing steelhead as well as organization actions and activities. The responsibilities of this position include editing content, layout design, occassional article writing and printing and mailing of the publication. Coordination of content with applicable parties, an ability to work independently and to create and edit written material is required. Additionally, a goal of the organization is to move the Adipose to an on-line version and experience with on-line newsletters would be helpful. Please contact Nathan Keen at for details. 3

Region 6: Bob Ball 360-374-2091 Region 5&6 South: Ron Nanney 360-484-3409


Sam Wright is WSC 2010 Conservation Award Winner Sam Wright chosen from a list of deserving individuals by the WSC Board of Directors as the recipient of the Wild Steelhead Coalition’s 2010 Conservation Award. The WSC “Conservation Award” is presented to an individual or group that, through their action and/or accomplishments, have made significant and noteworthy contributions to the protection and propagation of wild steelhead. Sam has been managing fish populations and fish habitat ever since his first job in Alaska in 1957. In his life long work, Sam’s major contributions to steelhead resource management include: • Initiated adipose fin marking for all hatchery steelhead • Developed Washington State’s Wild Trout Management Strategy • Primary author for Washington State’s Wild Salmonid Policy • Wrote ESA Petition that led to listing Puget Sound wild steelhead • Forced WDFW to stop using juvenile steelhead for “trout fishing” in the Puget Sound Basin We congratulate Sam for his breadth of work that has led to changes that has and will benefit wild steelhead. Please join us the evening of May 15th at the WSC Annual Awards Banquet and Fundraiser to recognize and celebrate Sam’s contributions to steelhead conservation. 4

Steelhead Summit Held on March 27th

wild and hatchery steelhead on the Hoh River had not yet been identified. The most alarming discovery is that IHNv has been found in wild Sol Duc River steelhead that were caught and taken to the Snider Creek Hatchery as brood stock. All returning adult fish to the Bogachiel Hatchery and their eggs were destroyed, as were the wild stocks at the Snider Creek Hatchery. Kerwin said that the earliest known outbreak of IHN on the Olympic Peninsula occurred in 1997. There were additional outbreaks in 2007, when WDFW released diseased smolts into the Humptulips and in 2008 and 2009 when the Quinault Tribe released diseased fish into the Quinault River. The virus strains identified on these three occasions were somewhat different than the primary one identified on the Quillayute System this year. Winton noted that as the virus enters the Olympic Peninsula watershed, it is “probing� to find what strains work best and where. There are so many hatcheries operating in the Pacific NW that none of the speakers could put a total on them. There are thirteen federal hatcheries, including three on the Olympic Peninsula. State and tribal hatcheries are much more numerous and one guestimate of the total number was between 100200, with very little coordination among hatchery managers. SSA members, including representatives of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, Wild Fish Conservancy, the WA Council of Trout Unlimited and the Steelhead Committee of the Federation of Fly Fishers are now in the process of developing a policy recommendation that we can collectively support as a pro-active response to fighting this disease, particularly on the Columbia and Olympic Peninsula Rivers.

The Steelhead Summit Alliance, an ad-hoc consortium of conservation organizations and likeminded individuals held an emergency meeting on March 27th at the Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) in Seattle in response to a severe outbreak of IHNv disease on the Olympic Peninsula. The purpose of the meeting was to listen to scientists and fisheries managers who are knowledgeable about the disease, and to begin to try to formulate a collective policy recommendation to present to WA State, federal and tribal representatives. The meeting was co-chaired by Richard Burge (Wild Steelhead Coalition) and Nick Gayeski (Wild Fish Conservancy) who lined up the speakers and moderated the proceedings. Jim Winton, PhD (WFRC/UW School of Fisheries) gave a presentation on the Ecology of Emerging Diseases Among Populations of Wild Fish; Rachael Life, PhD (WFRC) presented a summary of her post-doctoral research on IHN Virus in Pacific NW Wild and Hatchery Salmonids; Ray Brunson (US Fish & Wildlife Service) summarized some aspects of IHN Virus in federal hatcheries in the Columbia River System and on the Olympic Peninsula; and John Kerwin (WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife) outlined the recent history of IHN virus in WA State Hatcheries, particularly on the Olympic Peninsula. Among other things, we learned that the IHN virus has existed in epidemic proportions in Columbia River steelhead for the past several years, and a particularly virulent site is the Dworshak Hatchery managed by US Fish and Wildlife. The strain of the virus at this hatchery matches that recently discovered at the Bogachiel Hatchery on the Olympic Peninsula but, according to Brunson, does not necessary Marianne Mitchell come directly from there. At the time of the SumChair, Steelhead Summit Alliance mit, Kerwin noted that the strain of virus present in

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steelhead on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. A map was displayed showing the points of detection of differing strains of IHN found in West Coast steelhead. The Columbia Basin is where IHN and IHN strains affecting steelhead have been most prevalently found – each new strain representing a form that a steelhead population would have little resistance to if previously unexposed to it (whether hatchery or wild). The Columbia has more hatcheries than any river basin in the world and the greatest output of hatchery steelhead smolts. IHN of differing strains have been found at a number of these hatcheries the past 40 years and also in wild populations. The strains are increasingly multiplying. The Columbia Basin appears to be the center of variant IHN generation for West Coast steelhead. One of the most virulent of these IHN strains was first found at Skamania and Dworshak hatcheries in the Columbia Basin several years ago and has now spread to Olympic Peninsula steelhead as found in 2009 and 2010. Although science lags in this trail of evidence, a logical first step would be to determine if, and how, Columbia River origin steelhead are related to the transmittal of this specific strain of IHN to the Olympic Peninsula.

WSC Provides $5,000 for Continued Research on Developing an Accurate Historical Baseline of Columbia Basin Steelhead/ Salmon By Bill McMillan

Thanks to the monetary support of $5,000 provided by the Wild Steelhead Coalition in early 2010, continued research will occur in the development of an accurate historical baseline of what steelhead/salmon numbers and distribution were in the Columbia Basin prior to Euro-American contact. This will include eventual maps of what the habitat characteristics were that supported each species in that time of prolific abundance. In partnership with three scientists from NOAA Fisheries noted for their habitat and GIS mapping expertise, I was asked to lead the research of Columbia Basin steelhead/salmon history in 2008. Due to the economic freefall, since early 2009 my continued work on this project has been dependent on a combination of donations and volunteer effort. The findings from this project are meant to provide not only a baseline, but also a guide of what the wild recovery potential still represents in what remains a This is but one example of how the Columbia River vast geographic region. remains a driver of anadromous fish management, how science is used, and what recovery methods are Some say the Columbia is a place to let go of, too used. To date the Columbia does not provide much compromised by adverse interests to be recoverable optimism regarding a wild anadromous fish future for wild steelhead/salmon, and too threatened by the much different from that on the East Coast of the U.S. future of a warming climate. But what future is there as determined in the 19th and early 20th centuries for wild steelhead and chinook salmon around the when options were still possible. But options do reNorth Pacific Rim without the Columbia Basin to main for the Columbia as the driver for a larger West draw from? Historically the Columbia was the Coast example. world’s greatest producer of both species – the central core from which both great numbers and great diver- Although the Columbia basin is now fragmented by sity fueled the recolonization of these two species in irrigation and hydropower dams, the basin area availtheir expansion northward after the last Ice Age. And able to wild steelhead remains larger than any on the it is largely the examples set on the Columbia the past West Coast south of the Canadian border. Significant 140 years that have determined how West Coast fish- areas in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington are wildereries, fish management, and fish science have devel- ness areas where habitat is little different from that of oped and continue to develop. It might well be said: the 19th century. Significant land areas are otherwise as the Columbia goes, so the rest will go. under Federal, State, or tribal management. Still others impacted by mining, lumbering, and agricultural A recent example of Columbia Basin influence outactivities remain recoverable with sufficient governside its waters was made evident at the March 27th ment incentives. Those determined to be most proSteelhead Summit Alliance session intended to productive could be purchased over time. However, the vide a better understanding of what is known and not Columbia River steelhead/salmon recovery process known about the spread of IHN to hatchery and wild (Continued on page 7) 6

(Continued from page 6)

over the past 30 years has included large investments with little relevance to wild fish recovery. In some cases, as with large hatchery programs and barging/ trucking of juvenile fish downstream, the investments have likely been more problem than solution for wild fish. Critically missing, the Columbia basin recovery process lacks an accurate portrayal of what specific habitat areas were historically like, what habitat characteristics were most productive for each species, and how many salmon/steelhead each area could produce when the ecosystem was intact. If Columbia basin steelhead/salmon are to progress toward recovery, we can no longer waste investments in scenarios that are unlikely to produce results. To put “Humpty Dumpty” back together again requires knowing what he looked like – in this case piecing back once functioning ecosystem parts. For the Columbia basin this has not occurred – nor most other places in the Lower 48 of the West Coast. The Columbia Project, despite limited funding available, has steadily progressed since 2008. Because of WSC’s donation of $5,000 this project has continued to progress in 2010 and is now approaching its first phase of completion: • A more accurate estimate of historical steelhead/salmon numbers, extent, and distribution than used in the past • Habitat measures related to historical steelhead/salmon productivity and which provide continued measures for recovery planning and assessment • A first paper intended for science journal publication by early 2011 providing the initial results • GIS maps to guide recovery considerations by mid 2011 (website visuals)

Patagonia’s Partnership with The Wild Steelhead Coalition By Brian Bennett

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. –Patagonia's Mission Statement Environmental grassroots support has been one of the foundations of the Patagonia brand since it was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1972. In 1973 Patagonia funded its first environmental group, Friends of the Ventura River and since that time has given out $34 million in grants and in-kind donations to more than 1,000 organizations since the program began. In addition to the corporate grants program, Patagonia’s World Trout Initiative identifies individuals and groups that protect native fish, tells their story and supports their efforts by placing money into the hands of the actual groups protecting the fish. Since its inception World Trout has given out $391,100 to 18 various grassroots groups including The Wild Steelhead Coalition. Because wild steelhead are at the mercy of over fishing, destruction of their habitat and global warming, Patagonia has taken an active roll and keen interest in supporting The Wild Steelhead Coalition. In 2008 the WSC received a $5,000 World Trout Grant and Patagonia has also made numerous product donations to various WSC fund raising events over the last three years. In addition to financial support you will find links back to the WSC off the Patagonia web site as well as the conservation writing of WSC trustee Dylan Tomine. Patagonia’s support will continue to grow now that Brian Bennett, Patagonia’s Fly Fishing Sales Manager, has been elected the WSC Board of Directors as VP of Fund Raising. Patagonia is proud to lend its support to the WSC and looks forward to supporting its future efforts to help protect the fish we all cherish and offer our help “increasing the return of wild steelhead to rivers and waters of the Pacific Northwest”.

I much appreciate WSC’s faith in the value of this work. A template for translating historical steelhead/ salmon productivity into a recovery future based on habitat-to-productivity measures remains on track in this shared faith.


To take actions on these and other important issues affecting wild steelhead, please send comments and concerns to the following officials:



The “Lure of Steelhead” article by Lynda Mapes in the Seattle Times. On March 15 Lynda Mapes of the Seattle Times wrote an article titled “Lure of Steelhead”. For those of you that have not read the article, it was a well-written piece about a day on the Queets River in pursuit of wild steelhead. Two officers of the WSC, president Rich Simms and our vice-president of membership, Jim Schmitz were accompanied by Times staff writer Lynda Mapes on a days float on the river. Our participation in this event was intended to not only reveal what a wonderful experience chasing steelhead can be, but primarily to expose and focus on the dire conditions that are presently being imposed on our State fish, the wild steelhead. We choose to do this with the Times environmental reporter and not a sports writer to preclude the article from being just another fishing tale. After reading the article, a supportive but concerned WSC member sent a letter to President Rich Simms. He was “dismayed by the ‘gratuitous fish porn’ tone and the lack of conservation focus” of the article. The well versed member was concerned and very anxious about issues facing wild steelhead. He stated “I would have expected you would have driven home the many conservation problems facing the Queets valley” and pressing the most important message ‘conservation’. He additionally pointed out several specific issues including low escapement numbers, netting, logging and poaching. In response, Past President Jack Berryman noted, “everything you wished for was discussed at length.” In fact at a get-together on the night before the trip the writer, Rich, Jim and our Vice-president of Conservation Dick Burge met for dinner and the discussion was almost exclusively about conservation problems and issues of wild steelhead. After the article appeared, in a letter to the Times writer, Dick made several points which are of importance to the WSC but were not included in the article. It was hoped that some facts about the depletion of wild fish stocks, increased angling pressure due to closures and reduced angling opportunities, recent ESA listings, aggressive harvest strategies and poor hatchery practices. This exposure in the article would stir more public awareness for the plight of wild steelhead. Dick was quit 10

concerned that the article left the impression that the WSC “came out looking like an angling club instead of a conservation organization dedicated to recovering wild steelhead.” According to President Rich Simms the WSC began working on an idea for an article on wild steelhead conservation more than a year ago. The plan was that it would be good to work with the same environmental writer for the Seattle Times who did such a great job writing an article the WSC participated in to make the case for more Wild and Scenic Rivers in our state. The method the reporter used was to make the point through the eyes and interests of various user groups. (see pacificnw/2008206149_pacificprivers28.html). Rich states “We decided that the best way to introduce someone to why wild steelhead are special was to let them see these magnificent fish in their own environment accompanied by people who care and advocate for them.” “It was our plan to do the same type of story for wild steelhead as was done for wild rivers by the same journalist. Accordingly, we provided significant amounts of conservation information. Unfortunately, the initial story did not communicate our message. Once the reporter left the river, the WSC had no further input to the article and had no control over what was published. However, good information was shared and hopefully the stories to follow will help our work for wild steelhead and bring more attention to their plight.” The information regarding “the major river systems on the northern Olympic Peninsula that have strong returns of steelhead” came from someone other than the WSC. The article references NOAA and the WDFW as sources. However the story does not end here, but is a beginning to build a connection with people who do not angle on why wild steelhead and the places they call home are special . It is hoped that through the continuation of our relationship with Ms. Mapes, a portal will be maintained to provide future opportunities to get our message out and further our mission of increasing the return of wild steelhead to the waters and rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

Shown below is Wild Steelhead Coalition financial status:

Statement of Income and Expenses

Donations Fund Raising Events Membership Dues Interest Income Total Income Fund Raising Scholarship Research Consulting Administration Membership Adipose Advertising Conservation Education Summit Bank Charges Website Total Expenditures





thru 4/5/2010

Jan-Dec 2009

15,000 15,000 10,000 200

2,144 65 4,010 41

13,942 9,045 8,470 195




5,000 7,000 5,000 4,000 4,000 1,000 1,200 3,000 3,500 1,000 50 2,250

500 5,000 182 695 200 432

7,362 7,000 3,806 2,915 2,552 1,678 1,049 1,018 489 39 62





Net Income over Expense



Fund Balance Statement

Business Checking Business Savings PayPal Total Cash Total Assets

4/5/2010 4,299 41,318 41

12/31/2009 21,106 25,186 115








Total Liabilities


Fund Balance


Change (16,807) 16,133 (74)


The organization passed the budget shown above at the January Board of Directors meeting. 2009 results are shown in the far right column for comparison. The Board reviews these financials at their monthly meetings and will revise expenditures in accordance with actual income received. The middle column reflects current year to date financial activity. The Wild Steelhead Coalition maintains a strong cash position at the current time, a large portion of which is considered a contingency fund for any dramatic decline in income or to support any legal action that may need to occur on behalf of wild steelhead. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nathan Keen, Treasurer, at


Wild Steelhead Coalition 218 Main St. Box 264 Kirkland, WA 98033

The Wild Steelhead Coalition (WSC) is an organization dedicated to increasing the return of wild steelhead to the waters and rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

Adipose Spring 2010  

Adipose is the newsletter of the Wild Steelhead Coalition

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