The Osprey Journal May 2022

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THE OSPREY The International Journal of Salmon and Steelhead Conservation Issue No. 102

May 2022

Lower Snake River Dams in the Spotlight Special Snake River Issue



Contents Columns & News 3

From the Perch — Editor’s Message


Hits and Misses — Chair’s Corner


Fish Watch: Wild Fish News, Issues and Initiatives

Features 6

The Long Battle to Save Snake River Wild Salmon and Steelhead: A Brief Retrospective By Joseph Bogaard


Snake River Summer of Decision: Will 2022 be the year to finally seal the fate of the four lower Snake River dams? By Joseph Bogaard

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Special Section: Snake River Stats, Lower Snake River Dam Facts, Dam Economics and Dams on Deck Deck for 2022

Leaping Steelhead: Trading in the Fishing Rod for the Camera By John R. McMillan


Field Report: Below Average BC Salmon Productivity Expected for 2022


The Life and Times of Wild Fish Conservation Legends Frank and Jeanne Moore

THE OSPREY Chair Pete Soverel Editor Jim Yuskavitch Editorial Committee Pete Soverel • Dave Peterson • Greg Knox Bruce McNae • Brian Braidwood Rich Simms • Ryan Smith Kurt Beardslee • Guy Fleischer Scientific Advisors Rick Williams • Jack Stanford Jim Lichatowich • Bill McMillan Bill Bakke • Michael Price Design & Layout Jim Yuskavitch The Osprey is published by: Wild Salmon Rivers 16430 72nd Avenue, West Edmonds, WA 98026 Letters To The Editor The Osprey welcomes letters to the editor and article queries. The Osprey 69278 Lariat Sisters, OR 97759 (541) 549-8914 The Osprey is a joint publication of not-for-profit organizations concerned with the conservation and sustainable management of wild Pacific salmon and steelhead and their habitat throughout their native and introduced ranges. This unique partnership includes The Conservation Angler, Fly Fishers International, Steelhead Society of British Columbia, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Wild Salmon Center, Wild Fish Conservancy, World Salmon Forum, Wild Steelhead Coalition and Trout Unlimited. Financial support is provided by partner organizations, individuals, clubs and corporations. The Osprey is published three times a year in January, May and September. All materials are copyrighted and require permission prior to reprinting or other use.

By Dale Greenley


The North Umpqua Wild Steelhead: Born in Fury and Living in Fire By Dave Moskowitz


The North Umpqua River: Legacy of Wild Fish, Flyfishing and Citizen Conservation Activism By Dave Moskowitz

Cover Photo Courtesy NASA; Cover Inset Photo by Neil Ever Osborne 2

The Osprey © 2022 ISSN 2334-4075

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The Day I Migrated with Snake River Salmon Smolts by Jim Yuskavitch


y first encounter with the reality of declining Columbia and Snake river salmon came in the early 1990s. Scientists Willa Nehlsen, Jack Williams and Jim Lichatowich (one of The Osprey’s current scientific advisors) had just published their seminal paper “Pacific Salmon at the Crossroads: Stocks at Risk From California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington” in the March 1991 issue of Fisheries Magazine, warning of the looming extinction threat facing wild salmon and steelhead from the cummulative impacts of human activities. While there were a few advocates trying to highlight the plight of wild fish on the Columbia and Snake rivers, particularly resulting from the dams, at that time the media and most of the major conservation organizations gave the issue scant, if any, attention. I was associate editor of Trout Magazine, the publication of Trout Unlimited, and my boss and editor Tom Pero decided that we should take a closer look at the situation. This included reprinting “Pacific Salmon at the Crossroads” in Trout Magazine to help spread the word to a non-scientific audience and a trip to Boise to interview and photograph then Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus, a fierce advocate for wild Snake River salmon and steelhead. Tom also arranged for us to ride along on one of the US Army Corps of Engineers barges that transported salmon and steelhead smolts around the lower Snake River dams. Barging salmon and steelhead smolts was first tried on the Columbia River in 1955, where hatchery smolts from the Klickitat Fish Hatchery were barged and release below Bonneville Dam. Barging on the Snake River began in the mid1960s and by the 1970s, tens of thousands of salmon and steelhead were being barged around the dams and released below Bonneville Dam — the lowermost dam on the Columbia. The idea of barging the smolts was to reduce mortality that occurred when the small fish went over or though the

dams and were chopped up in the turbines used to produce electricity, speed their downstream progress and protect them from predation. By the 1980s, up to 90 percent of Snake River salmon and steelhead smolts were being barged by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Our trip began on the uppermost of the four lower Snake River dams, Lower Granite Dam, and we would ride the barge down to and through the lock of the next dam, Little Goose Dam. Well, it wasn’t exactly a Rogue River jet boat ride, but interesting enough in its own way. The transportation package was made up of a barge that contained the smolts, and behind, a tugboat herding the barge downstream, the pilot high above. A “barge rider,” a young woman on this run, attended to various tasks aboard the barge, and kept a close eye on the welfare of the fish in particular. It was a lazy day-long ride down the river. Tom and I talked to barge rider, asked her about her work, occasionally climbed the ladder up to the pilot’s perch and watched other barges and tugboats pass by, downstream carrying grain and other agricultural produce, or upstream to pick up another shipment to deliver This old memory came back to me when the now-defunct Simpson plan for removing the lower Snake River dams was publicly presented, and outlined in detail in the May 2021 issue of The Osprey by Mitch Cutter of the Idaho Conservation League, along with an update on a new effort to jumpstart dam removal by Save Our wild Salmon’s Joseph Bogaard in this issue. This will almost certainly involve more controversy and negotiations to finally make removing the four lower Snake River dams a reality. But one thing is certain — time is running out for the long-term survival of wild Snake River salmon and steelhead.

How The Osprey Helps Wild Fish The Osprey has been bringing the latest science, policy, opinion and news stories to its readers supporting wild Pacific salmon and steelhead conservation and management for 35 years. But we are much more than a publication that you subscribe to because of your owndedication to wild fish conservation. The funds we receive from our subscribers allows us to send The Osprey to wild fish conservation decisionmakers and influencers including scientists, fisheries managers, politicians and wild fish advocates.

May 2022 • Issue No. 102

Sending The Osprey to decision makers is key to our wild fish conservation advocacy. Your support makes that possible.

So when you subscribe/donate to The Osprey, you not only receive a subscription yourself, but you also help us put The Osprey into the hands of the people we need bring to our side to save our wild fish. Please go to the subscription/donation form on page 23 or on-line at and donate whatever you are able. Thank you. Jim Yuskavitch Editor, The Osprey



On Losing Fishing Friends and Fish By Pete Soverel


he obvious benefit of being 81-plus is I am part of a declining cohort of my year class still alive (about 40%) in spite of disease, strokes, and the best efforts of hundreds, maybe thousands, of Vietnamese trying to kill me during the Vietnam War. One of many downsides is that hardly a month goes by without notice of the passing of high school or college classmates, shipmates, colleagues, acquaintances and, most painful, close friends. Such was the case, with my very close friend and steelhead mentor, Wayne Gibbs.

A Friend and Mentor I met Wayne shortly after I moved to Washington State to attend graduate school at the University of Washington in1969. Although I had been a fisherman for at least 25 years, I knew nothing about steelhead. Wayne took me under his wing showing me where and how to catch steelhead (with gear) on the Skagit, Sauk, Skykomish, Pilchuck, Tolt, North Fork Toutle, Kalama, Cowlitz … A year or so into our fishing partnership, Wayne came to my house to pick me up for an outing on the Tolt River. I had a 9-foot Orvis cane “shooting star” fly rod. “You’re gonna use that?”, “Yes. I go first.” I hooked three, landed two. Wayne got the goose egg. Shortly thereafter, Wayne changed the rules — we took turns going first! Over the next five plus decades, we were close friends, fishing and hunting partners, family outings and dinner parties. We should all have at least one friend as good as Wayne. Tight lines, Buddy. You were mine.

Losing the Wild Fish As noted above, I have been a steelhead fly fisher for more than fifty years and directly engaged in steelhead conservation for more than 35 of those years. Over that short time span, we have ruined steelhead from Baja to Cold Bay: Vancouver Island – gone;


coastal BC – gone; Thompson – gone; reliving my Olympic Peninsula experiSkeena – almost gone; trans boundary ence — a fish or two each day; a fish rivers – almost gone; California – gone; every other day, etc… This year, I Oregon – deep trouble; Washington – al- fished for 15 days without a bite. Most most gone. Up and down the West Coast other anglers I chatted with at the boat of North America, steelhead popula- ramp had similar experiences. Absent tions teeter on the brink of extinction. a radical turn around in management Hundreds of local populations have al- and harvest regimes for indigenous ready been extirpated with most re- fishers, the Skeena faces, in the near maining stocks listed under the term, the same fate as Thompson and Endangered Species Act. OP steelhead — functional extirpation. As a side note, for almost twenty Contrast this dismal picture with the years, I rented a cabin in Forks, Wash- robust and rapidly expanding wild ington from February through April for steelhead populations on the the specific purpose of fishing these Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian storied rivers. For the most part, I bank Far East. The 100% wild populations in fished as I learned how to access water four rivers where the Kamchatka Steelbefore the first drift boat anglers could head Project conducts field work alget there. Most outing resulted in en- most certainly exceed the total wild counters, sometimes several, even steelhead return to ALL Washington many, encounters. As other Washington steelhead rivers combined and way rivers closed due to ESA restrictions, more than the total return to the pressure on Olympic Peninsula rivers Skeena, Nass or Stikine. skyrocketed with dozens, even scores, What we are doing in North America of drift boats crowding all of these is not working. rivers. Every run pounded by the unending flotilla of boats with anglers drifting bobbers and pink worms right Pete Soverel is Chair of The Osprey over the water bank anglers fished with Management and Editorial Committee a cheery, but cluelessness, “ Hi, how’s it and founder and President of The Congoing…” My personal encounter rate servation Angler: plummeted from 2-3 per day to maybe one a day to one a week. Eventually, I felt guilty even hooking a steelhead on the fly. Finally, in 2010, I gave up — too many boats, too few fish, hostile encounters and switched my spring time attention to the lower Skeena. For the past 12 years (two out for Covid), I have replicated my Olympic Peninsula program — rent a house, fish morning and late afternoon. Sadly, I am A nice wild steelhead buck. Photo by John R. McMillan

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May 2022 • Issue No. 102


The Long Battle to Save Snake River Wild Salmon and Steelhead: A Brief Retrospective By Joseph Bogaard


he origins of today’s wild Pacific salmon and steelhead crisis in the Snake River can be traced back into the last century. While these wide-ranging fish face diverse challenges across the West Coast, decades of research on Columbia-Snake River basin stocks make clear: the federal dams and their reservoirs are far and away their single largest source of human-caused fish mortality. But this isn’t exactly breaking news. Way back in 1949, long before construction of the four dams on the lower Snake River in southeast Washington State began, the state’s Department of Fisheries explained its long-standing opposition to the dams: “if salmon are to be preserved, [power] development…must be confined to non-fish producing areas.” It went on to describe the lower Snake River dams as a “serious threat” that would jeopardize “more than one-half of the Columbia River [salmon] production in exchange for a subsidized barge route”. The river’s valuable salmon runs “would be threatened with destruction.” The Department further emphasized that damming the lower Snake “is not in the best interest of the overall economy of the state.” Within a decade, Congress had ignored these admonitions and authorized the construction of Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite dams on the lower Snake River. The last dam was completed in 1975, fish populations immediately plummeted, and they’ve been swimming on the brink of extinction ever since. In fact, adult returns in 2021 were some of the lowest ever recorded. Just four Snake River sockeye, for example, successfully swam back to their ancestral spawning grounds in the Stanley Basin in the Rockies of central Idaho. Other Snake River stocks fared better but remain at serious risk: wild Spring/Summer Chinook (7,062) and steelhead (10,373 so far). The quasi-extinction analysis released last spring by the Nez Perce Tribe underscored what the fish themselves are telling us: with-

Chinook salmon leaping Dagger Falls, Middle Fork Salmon River, Idaho, within the Snake River basin. Photo by Neil Ever Osborne out bold, urgent action they will soon disappear. Not long ago, the Columbia Basin was the most productive wild salmon and steelhead watershed on the planet — 1016 million adult fish returned annually — feeding people, forests, and more than 130 other terrestrial and aquatic species including today’s critically endangered Southern Resident orcas. Predams, millions of adult fish flooded into the Snake River Basin from the Pacific Ocean each year. While there was a lot of debate and hand-wringing after the four dams were completed, it was not until 1991 when the Shoshone Bannock Tribes in Idaho successfully petitioned the federal government to list Snake River sockeye under the federal Endangered Species Act. Other listings soon followed. Today, all four Snake River salmon and steelhead populations are officially at risk of extinction, along with nine others elsewhere in Columbia Basin. With the ESA listings came the responsibility of the federal government to produce plans to protect the fish from the lethal impacts of the dams and

their reservoirs. The last thirty years for Columbia Basin fish can be summarized thus: six inadequate, illegal federal plans; $18 billion spent; not a single fish population restored. The federal agencies have been focused more on saving dams and a costly status quo than living up to their legal — and moral — obligation to protect fish headed toward extinction. Despite pleas by tribes, conservationists and fishing people, regional policymakers avoided getting involved. They deferred to the agencies — Bonneville Power Administration, US Army Corps of Engineers and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — and to the courts. Since the 1990s, the plight of Snake River salmon, with its various connections to treaty tribes, fishers and farmers, energy and transportation infrastructure, and riverside communities, has cried out for political leadership. While the courts can stop the agencies’ illegal plans, they can’t be expected to deliver the kind of comprehensive solution salmon, orcas and people so desperately needed. We need political leadership to do that. Continued on next page


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Excellent legal work across several decades by conservation and fishing non-government organizations (NGOs) led by Earthjustice in collaboration with the Nez Perce Tribe and State of Oregon secured crucial near-term help for struggling fish in the form of “spill”. Spill sends water over the tops of dams in the spring and summer to deliver out-migrating juvenile fish to the ocean more quickly and safely. While spill increases fish survival, it hasn’t been enough to protect Snake River fish from extinction. Their migration past eight dams and eight reservoirs on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers getting to and from the ocean is simply too much. So, while the agencies continued to serve up illegal plans, the problems created by a deadly, costly status quo piled up. Salmon and steelhead populations continued their descent. In 2005, Southern Resident orcas were listed as endangered under ESA. Lack of their primary prey — Chinook salmon — is widely recognized today as the leading cause for their decline. Just 73 whales survive today. It turns out that Columbia-Snake river origin Chinook are critically important to the Southern Residents, especially in winter months when few other fish are available. In fact, in its 2008 orca recovery plan, NOAA explicitly recognizes the importance of Columbia Basin Chinook to the orcas. It describes the fish declines there as “[p]erhaps the single greatest change in food availability for resident killer whales since the late 1800s...” Not surprisingly, many orca scientists today are calling on policymakers to remove the lower Snake River dams as an essential element of a larger regional

An angler explores the waters of a central Idaho stream, once teeming with wild Pacific salmon and steelhead. Photo by Neil Ever Osborne

May 2022 • Issue No. 102

The four lower Snake River dams have transformed the once-wild stream into a series of slow-moving, warmwater reservoirs hostile to salmon and steelhead. Photo by Jim Yuskavitch

In 1949, fisheries managers called the proposed dams “a serious threat” that would jeopardize more than half the salmon production on the Columbia River. strategy to increase Chinook populations and protect orcas from extinction. [Editor’s Note: See “A Monumental (Task) Force, Saving salmon to save Southern Resident orcas”, The Osprey, May 2020] And then, of course, there are the Native American tribes. When it comes to salmon recovery in the Snake River and across the Northwest, the tribes today are leading. Salmon, of course, swim at the center of many tribes’ culture, economy and health. Many tribes signed treaties with the United States more than 150 years ago guaranteeing healthy salmon runs in perpetuity. The tribes — Salmon People — rightly insist today that ‘justice’ be at the center of this important conversation. The expertise and influence of many tribes as co-managers is highly regarded, and this fact has certainly helped force the plight of Snake River salmon onto

Northwest and national agendas. The changing climate and hot rivers — reservoirs actually — in the summer months is also increasing pressure for policymakers to make some big changes. The fish are suffering with two devastating die-offs in the past few years and legal pressure is ratcheting up. Thanks for recent leadership by the states of Oregon and Washington, the US Army Corps of Engineers is now on the hook to address high water temperatures that violate the Clean Water Act — and hurt salmon and steelhead — every summer for months at a time. In another positive development, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) secured historic levels of funding for Northwest salmon recovery priorities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill signed into law last fall by President Biden. But the situation remains dire. It is this confluence of forces — declining salmon and orca populations, the decades-long failure of the federal agencies, billions spent on inadequate plans, warming waters, tribal influence, and many years of sustained organizing by NGOs, salmon-reliant businesses and citizen advocates — that is finally forcing resistant stakeholders and policymakers to acknowledge that urgent action is needed if wild Snake River salmon and steelhead are going to persist into the future.

Joseph Bogaard is Executive Director of Save Our wild Salmon. Learn more about their work at


Snake River Summer of Decision Will 2022 be the year to finally seal the fate of the four lower Snake River dams? By Joseph Bogaard


arly last year, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) kicked off a groundbreaking discussion in the Pacific Northwest when he shared his out-ofthe-box proposal to restore endangered salmon and steelhead populations and invest in communities and infrastructure. His $33B initiative combined lower Snake River dam removal with a set of investments in energy, transportation infrastructure, fishing and farming communities, and more. [Editor’s Note: See “Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson’s Plan to Remove the Four Lower Snake River Dams,” The Osprey, May 2021] While his specific proposal stalled, other regional leaders are carrying forward the discussion about a “comprehensive regional solution” to restore the lower Snake River (dam removal) and its endangered fish in combination with targeted community and infrastructure investments. Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, for example, announced their interest last spring to work with tribes, policymakers and people to develop a regional strategy to restore the lower Snake River and invest in communities. A lot of hard work in Indian Country bore fruit last May when the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) unanimously passed a resolution supporting dam removal. This was followed quickly by a similar resolution passed by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Not long afterward, our region’s senior U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee planted their own stake firmly in the ground when they issued a joint statement that recognized the Snake River salmon crisis, committed to address it and — for the first time — placed dam removal squarely at the center of the table. “Regional collaboration on a comprehensive, long-term solution to protect and bring back salmon populations in the Columbia River Basin and through-

out the Pacific Northwest is needed now more than ever…Any solution must honor Tribal Treaty Rights; ensure reliable transportation and use of the river; ensure ongoing access for our region’s fishermen and sportsmen, guarantee Washington farmers remain competitive and are able to get Washington state farm products to market; and deliver reliable, affordable, and clean energy for families and businesses across the region.”

We have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity in 2022 to restore the Snake River, its imperiled wild fish and the irreplacable benfits they bring. They called for “a regional process that is based on science…ensuring all voices in the region are heard. Importantly, it is critical that this process takes all options into consideration, including the potential breaching of the Lower Four Snake River Dams.” Fast forward to October 2021: Gov. Inslee and Sen. Murray announced they had hired a contractor to work with tribes, stakeholders and other experts to identify options for replacing the services currently provided by the dams. The draft report has been completed and available for public input process until July 11. These are key steps in the process outlined by Murray and Inslee toward developing an action plan for Snake River salmon and Northwest communities Earlier this year, Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee announced a new website — Visit it to learn more about the draft plan, key

milestones and timelines, and to take a survey about Snake River salmon and dams. Importantly, the Biden Administration is also leaning in. With the Nez Perce Tribe, State of Oregon, and NGO plaintiffs led by Earthjustice, the Biden Administration led by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), has temporarily paused decades of litigation to discuss the development of a long-term plan to protect and recover wild salmon and steelhead in the Snake/Columbia rivers. The deadline for these confidential talks is the same as the Murray/Inslee Process: July 31, 2022. CEQ recently published a lengthy and encouraging blogpost — Columbia River Basin Fisheries here — Working Together to Develop a Path Forward — reflecting on its recent conversations with Northwest Tribes. You can read the full post here: Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell (DWA) secured historic levels of funding in 2021 to support salmon recovery by removing culverts, restoring habitat, and more in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill signed into law last fall. Advocates are grateful for the senator’s leadership to secure this important funding - but we’ll also need Sen. Cantwell’s active leadership now to help develop and deliver the comprehensive plan that’s needed to protect Snake River fish from extinction. So there is good news: political leadership regionally and nationally is solidifying around the need for bold, urgent action to protect Snake River fish from extinction, to rebuild the many benefits they bring to people, wildlife, and ecosystems, and to uphold our nation’s promises to Native American tribes. But there is bad news as well: time is running short for Snake River fish — and the political window of opportunity that is open today is unlikely to remain so for long. The science today is clear: protecting these fish from extinction requires lower Snake River dam reContinued on next page


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moval — and 2022 must be the year we decide. Salmon, orca and river have built important momentum so far, but much hard work remains. July 2022 is fast approaching and wild fish advocates are mobilizing to make lower Snake River dam removal finally a reality by educating and mobilizing families, friends, and colleagues; contacting public officials; supporting the leadership of tribes, attending events and speaking up — to expand public support, contact public officials and solidify the political leadership that will be needed to secure a comprehensive plan that restores this river, replaces its dams services. As these two processes move forward, wild fish advocates are encouraging everyone who cares about the future of wild Snake River salmon and steelhead to make their voices heard. You can learn more at:

Snake River Stats

Rising in Yellowstone National Park, the Snake River flows through four states before emptying into the Columbia River. It’s the 13th largest river in the US and 10th largest watershed in North America. Map by Shannon1, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Joseph Bogaard is Executive Director of Save Our wild Salmon. Learn more about their work at

Resources Lower Snake River Dams Benefit Replacement Study Website


Percent of Columbia River Flow

Two Ocean Plateau, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, elevation 9,206ft (2,806 m)

31 Percent

Mouth Columbia River near Burbank, Washington, elevation 3,58ft (109m)

Teton Range, Bitterroot Range, Clearwater Mountains, Seven Devils Mountains,Wind River Range


Wild and Scenic Designations

1,078 mi (1,735km)

268.4 mi (431.9 km) Wild 177.5 mi (285.7 km) Scenic 33.8 mi (54.4 km) Recreational

Basin Size 108,000 sq mi (280,000 k2)

Basin Location Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington

Elevation Drop/Source to Mouth 8,500 ft (2,600 m)

Average Flow at Ice Harbor Dam 54,830 cfs (1553 m3/s) May 2022 • Issue No. 102

Mountain Ranges Within Basin

Number of Major Tributaries 23

Number of Dams Source to Mouth 20

Native Anadromous Fish Chinook, coho, sockeye, steelhead, white sturgeon, Pacific lamprey DataSource


Lower Snake River Dam Facts Construction of Ice Harbor Lock and Dam (left) began in 1956, and became fully operational in 1961. It’s the lowermost dam on the Snake River. At 2,822 feet long and 100 feet high, it creates 9,200-acre, 32-mile long Lake Sacajawea. Facilities include the dam, powerhouse, navigation lock, two fish ladders, removable spillway weir and a juvenile bypass facility. Photo by Kevin Wingert, BPA, CC by 2.0

The next dam on the river is Lower Monumental Lock and Dam (right). Authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1945, construction began in 1961, operational by 1969, and total completion in 1981. It’s 100 feet high, 3,791 feet long and creates 28.1-mile, 6,590-acre Lake Herbert G. West. The project includes the dam, powerhouse, navigation lock, two fish ladders and a juvenile fish facility. Photo by Kevin Wingert, BPA, CC by 2.0 Third dam from the Snake River mouth is Little Goose Lock and Dam (left). Construction began in 1963, with the filling of 37.2-mile, 10,025-acre Lake Bryan in 1970. It first began producing power in 1978. The dam is 2,655 feet long and 100 feet high. Facilities include the dam, powerhouse, navigation lock, one fish ladder and a juvenile fish passage facility. Photo by US ACE

The fourth of the lower Snake River dams is Lower Granite Lock and Dam (right). Construction began in 1965, and was completed in 1984. It’s 100 feet high and 3,200 feet long, creating a 40-miule long reservoir. Facilities include the dam, powerhouse, navigation lock, one fish ladder and a juvenile fish collection facility. Photo by US ACE 10

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Columbia and Snake River ESA Listed Fish The following 13 stocks of Columbia/Snake River basin Pacific salmon and steelhead are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. 1. Lower Columbia chum salmon, Threatened, 1999 2. Lower Columbia Chinook salmon, Threatened, 2005 3. Lower Columbia coho salmon, Threatened, 2005 4. Lower Columbia steelhead, Threatened, 1998 5. Middle Columbia steelhead, Threatened, 1999 6. Upper Columbia spring-run Chinook salmon, Endangered, 1999 7 Snake River fall-run Chinook salmon, Threatened, 1992 8. Snake River spring/summer-run Chinook salmon, Threatened, 1992 9. Snake River sockeye, Endangered, 1991 10. Snake River Basin steelhead, Threatened, 1997 11. Upper Columbia steelhead, Endangered, 1997 12. Upper Willamette River Chinook, Threatened, 1999 13.Upper Willamette River steelhead, Threatened, 1999

The Columbia River hydro system, including the four lower Snake River dams, is made up of a dozen dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. There are also other non-federal dams within the two river basins. Map by Columbia River System Operations EIS

Snake River SARs Well Below Parr A key metric for tracking the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead runs is the Smolt-to-Adult return ratio, or SAR. That measures the number of adult fish that successfully return to spawn for very 100 smolts that head out sea. For Snake River basin salmon and steelhead, the SAR needs to be at least 2 percent (2 adults returning for every 100 smolts) to maintain a stable population, and 4 to 6 percent to rebuild declining runs. However, despite the many, and expensive, measures taken over the years to modify the lower four Snake River dams’ facilities and operations the SAR for the past 25 years has averaged less than 2 percent. That’s not enough to maintain a current, healthy population, let alone rebuild the basin’s struggling ESA-listed wild salmon and steelhead runs.

How the Snake River Dams Hurt Wild Salmon and Steelhead ‘Reservoirs created by the dams inundate 140 miles of spawning and rearing habitat and reduces food resources. ‘ Both downstream migrating juveniles and adults swimming upstream to spawn are killed while passing through the dam facilities. ‘ Large reservoirs behind the dams result in higher water temperatures that can be lethal to salmon and steelhead, and provide habitat for warmwater fish, both native and invasive, such as northern pike minnow and walleye that prey on juvenile fish. ‘ Slow-moving reservoirs cause downstream migrating smolts to take ten times longer now to reach the ocean that both requires them to use more energy, increases their exposure to predation and complicates important lifecycle timing of the smoltification process. ‘ Cumulatively, these factors are dealing a death blow to Snake River basin wild Pacific salmon and steelhead. May 2022 • Issue No. 102


Dam Economics The Bonneville Power Administration has spent $16.4 billion on its fish and wildlife program since 1980. That includes $450 million in 2017 to pay for barging juvenile salmon and steelhead around the four lower Snake River dams, spilling additional water over the dams to speed the smolts’ downriver migration and improvements to divert the fish from the dams’ turbines. Pacific Northwest residents are willing to pay $34 to $46 per household each year to recover or reduce the risk of extinction for Snake River salmon and steelhead. Including Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana, this equals about $11 billion in value to helping Snake River salmon and steelhead. Hydropower from four lower Snake River Dams is no longer a bargain. Cost to operate the dams over the next three decades per year: $245

million plus $15 million for annual overhead costs plus $76 million in costs for ESA conservation programs for Snake River ESA listed salmon and steelhead.

Average megawatt capacity per year, 9 million, for a unit cost of $27 per megawatt hour Cost for solar power per megawatt hour: $22 Cost for wind power per megawatt hour: $21 Annual cost for maintaining and operating the locks on the four lower Snake River Dams: $21 million

Wind farm along the lower Snake River, Washington. Photo by Jim Yuskavitch

For each dollar the federal government spends on the locks, grain shippers save 30 cents.

Without the locks, alternative grain shipping methods would cost shippers an additional $6.2 million annually above their current costs. This is less than a one percent increase of the region’s average annual market value of $862 million for barley and wheat crops. Estimated cost for breaching the four lower Snake River Dams is about $1.6 billion This data is from a three-part report on the economics of the four lower Snake River dams by Daniel Malarkey of the Sightline Institute. The report is available at:


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Dams on Deck for 2022 As a component of its “Free Rivers: the state pected to be completed this year to address fish passage of dam removal in the U.S.”, American Rivers has issues. assembled a list of dams that are ripe for removal in 2022 and beyond. In addition to the four lower Snake JC Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and Iron Gate River dams, a number of other dams have been high- dams, Klamath River lighted within West Coast Pacific salmon and steelhead These dams are on track to be removed, with work excountry. These include: pected to begin next year. The dams have blocked salmon and steelhead from accessing hundreds of miles California of upstream spawning and rearing habitat. JC Boyle Dam is located in Oregon.The small amount of hyMatilija Dam, Matilija Creek dropower they produce will be replaced with renewable energy sources such as wind power. The 168-foot high Matilija Dam was constructed in 1947. Located on Matilija Creek, a tributary of the VenOregon tura River, the dam totally blocks 50 percent of spawning habitat for federally endangered southern steelhead Kellogg Dam, Kellogg Creek migrating up the Ventura River. This dam was built in 1858 to power a flour mill. The mill closed in the 1890s, rendering the Kellogg Dam Built in 1926, the 100-foot high Rindge Dam blocks ac- purposeless for over a century. Removing the dam will cess to 18 miles of high quality southern California open 16 miles of anadromous fish spawning habitat in steelhead spawning habitat. The California Department the Kellogg-Mt Scott watershed. of Parks and Recreation and the US Army Corps of Engineers hasve completed a dam removal feasibility study The entire list of 25 dams nationwide is available at: and will begin the dam removal design process this year. Rindge Dam, Malibu Creek

Scott Dam, Eel River The Scott Dam is one of two dams that comprise the Potter Valley Project located on the Eel River, the thirdlargest watershed in California. The project produces minimal amounts of hydroelectricity and entirely blocks fish passage to the river’s headwaters. Searsville Dam, San Francisquito Creek Built in 1892, the Searsville Dam is primarily used for supplying irrigation water to the Stanford University campus. A draft Environmental Impact Report is exMay 2022 • Issue No. 102

Central Idaho has lots of high quality spawning and rearing habitat for wild salmon and steelhead. Photo by Neil Ever Osborne.


Leaping Steelhead: Trading in the Fishing Rod for the Camera Article and Photographs John R. McMillan


teelhead are a unique specimen among salmonids. Not only do they display more life histories than any other species, but they are also unmatched in their swimming and leaping abilities. A steelhead can leap 12 feet high in a single shot. That ability is only perhaps equaled by the Atlantic salmon, though I’ve seen some remarkable steelhead make it higher than 12 feet. So I give the chrome medal to the Mykiss. I’m biased of course, because I’ve grown up with steelhead like a fan grows up worshipping their football team. Admiring their strength, swiftness, and athleticism. Plus, Atlantic salmon always looked as though they missed leg day. Like David Hasselhoff in Baywatch, all upper body and chicken legs. Steelhead never missed leg day, or any body part. Their caudal isn’t that of a skinny man. Their tail isn’t narrow and forked like the wings of a falcon. Nor are their shoulders as prominent. Instead, they have the most evolutionarily efficient shape ever made for swimming and leaping. They are like a submarine. A fusiform bullet that sheds the physics of water. Long pectoral fins for stabilizing pitch and yaw. And a mountain climbers legs attached to fan of a tail. A hybrid of every physical asset evolved by all other salmonids. Their remarkable leaping ability saved my spring, both mentally and spiritually. I live on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and our winter steelhead season closed early each of the past three years due to poor run sizes and COVID-19. It was a bitter, though necessary, pill to swallow. I’m a steelheader at heart. Other species are interesting, but none get me out of bed at 4 am to hike 5 miles in the dark and return several hours after the sun has set. Yet as with anything in life, I’ve learned to take the bad with the good. And so, while it was painful not to fish, it also provided me an opportunity to step back and refocus on observ-


ing and documenting the cool things that steelhead do. I would have normally pivoted to snorkeling as I did the previous two seasons, but this year the spring flows were high and underwater photography was not possible.

Steelhead have the most evolutionarily efficient shape ever made for swimming and leaping. They are like a submarine. A fusiform bullet that sheds the physics of water Instead, I sought out a few of the local waterfalls that steelhead must ascend to reach their ultimate spawning destination. For 2 to 3 days a week over the

course of two months I sat along the riverbank, listening to the rushing water roar through bedrock chutes. Watching wild steelhead nose up into the roiling spit at the base of each waterfall, before shooting from the river like an F-16 jet fighter. My goal, much like my angling, was to capture images that others had not. Easier said than done. You see, steelhead don’t leap with any reliable timing or consistency. One must rely on chance and a bit of luck. The first two weeks were full of failure. Either the fish was blurred, too dark, or only partly filled the frame. Their timing seemed stochastic and unpredictable. Sometimes the leaps were spaced out, other times several fish jumped at once. Eventually, by paying attention to the water temperature and timing the leaps, I found a pattern. These photos are the result of that learning experience. There is no grip and grin. No rod and reel. Just a fish and nature. Beyond the photographs, two months of Continued on next page

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observations also revealed other interesting insights. For example, about 65% of the fish leaping during the first two to three weeks were male. This makes sense, because females tend to mate with males that arrive on the spawning grounds before they do. Why? Males need to arrive earlier to fight and establish a behavioral hierarchy. That takes some time. By the last two weeks, 80% of the leaping fish were female. The only males trying at that point where smaller and darker relative to the males that made the ascent a month prior. In this case, smaller size refers to fish in the 4-7 pound range, which are typically uncommon in our Peninsula rivers. Continued on next page

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This year, smaller fish were more common than anytime I can recall in my previous 25 years living up here. The smaller size makes it more difficult for them to ascend large, powerful waterfalls. And their deteriorated condition, including fungus and worn fins, likely reduced their physical capacity to make such leaps. Last, I wondered why those males, probably destined for failure, continued their attempts? My hypothesis is two-fold. First, it was late in the season and fewer females were spawning below the falls than above, so making it upstream would improve their odds at finding a mate. Second, and perhaps equally as important, is what the fish smell, rather than see. I saw one dark male fail to pass the falls over two consecutive weeks. I don’t think he ever made it. I would have given up, personally. He did not. Likely because the river below the falls was flooded with the scent of mature females and their pheromones, which can carry for many miles downstream. Males can pick up on that scent and follow it directly to a hen. How could one stop leaping when he is being perpetually prodded by the smells of potential reproduction? Ultimately, I love angling for steelhead as much as anything in the world. And that is why I work so hard to study and conserve them. I want to be waist deep in a river during January, swinging a fly in a rainstorm.


But if I can’t do that, the next best thing is being in the river swimming with the fish or posting up by the falls, observing their behavior and capturing their athleticism. Coming home with photographs may not seem as compelling as catching a fish, but it is to me. Because at the end of the day, I love all aspects of steelhead, and getting these types of images is just as rewarding as hooking and landing a fish on my twohanded Burkheimer. Of course, I do hope they rebound from the recent declines and the fisheries remain open. That would be the best path forward.

If that doesn’t happen, though, I’ll be back on the river, enjoying whatever the steelhead provide through photography and snorkeling.

John R. McMillan is Science Director for The Conservation Angler. To learn more about their work visit: See more of John’s photography at: @rainforest_steel

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Field Report: Below Average BC Salmon Productivity Expected for 2022


roductivity levels for British Columbia origin Pacific salmon are predicted to be below average this year according to a study produced by researchers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The report Pacific Salmon in 2022: Recent Environmental Trends Suggest Below Average Salmon Productivity (Adult Recruits produced per adult parent Spawner) examined biological and environmental data for five species of salmon — Chinook, coho, sockeye, pink and chum — between 2017 and 2021. This encompasses the period from spawing, incubation, migration to the ocean and ocean life history stage for salmon returning to BC streams in 2022. The study defined productivity as “the number of adult recruits produced per adult parental spawner.” The assessment identified five freshwater and ocean environmental conditions, all connected to climate change, that are having a detrimental impact on Pacific salmon, and steelhead.

While there is not a great deal of annual water temperature data for most BC and Yukon streams, data from the Fraser River shows that summer water temperatures regularly exceeded safety levels for salmon from 2017 to 2019. In the summer, peak water temperatures in the Fraser have increase by more than 1.8° C (3.24°F). The report notes that “It is now common each year to have days where river temperatures exceed 18°C (64.4°F) at some point in

Impacts from climate change continue to play a significant role in declining Pacific salmon and steelhead

‘ Earlier mountain snowmelt that feeds freshwater habitats.

the spring and summer. Temperatures above 18°C can result in decreased adult salmon swimming performance, and above 20°C (68°F) can increase adult mortality, adult disease, egg viability, and cause legacy effects that have negative impacts on juvenile condition.”

‘ Record droughts in 2017 and 2018.

Declining Snowpack, Early Melting

‘ Unprecedented heat waves in the Pacific Northwest in late 2013 to 2016, and in 2019 and 2020.

Snowpack melt — including volume and timing — has an immense impact in salmon spawning streams. During the years 2018 and 2019, mountain snowpacks in most of BC were below average by mid-May. These conditions led to less water bring delivered to streams over the course of spring and summer. However spring snowmelt was relatively normal from 2017 to 2019, but earlier than normal in 2020 in mid- and low elevation areas.

These include: ‘ Higher than average temperatures in BC rivers between 2017 and 2020.

‘ Disruption of the ocean food web due to warming seawater.

Air and Water Temperatures Air temperatures have a significant effect on river water temperatures, and the study notes that the salmon return to BC waters to spawn this year have lived during three of the hotest years ever recorded. Air temperatures have trended higher than average in the past few decades with the effect in the Yukon more prominent than in BC.

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cially dry — hitting records. 2017 was the driest year on record with almost no rain in southern BC from June through October. A heatwave in early spring 2018 prematurely melted snowpacks, although conditions returned to average in 2019 and 2020.

Ocean Temperature As with temperatures, ocean surface temperatures have also been warming over recent decades. After a marine heat wave that resulted in “The Blob”, 2017 and 2018 sea temperatures were around average. However, heat waves returned from late 2018 thorough 2020. In addition, upwelling, which brings nutrients to the ocean surface was weak during the winters of 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. Ocean Food Web Warming ocean conditions are resulting in the northward expansion of southern copepod species. Copepods are an important ocean food source for a variety of creatures but the southern species are less fatty and therefore do not have as much food value as the native sub-Arctic copepod species. Although southern copepod species are declining in some areas off BC and increasing in others, overall their biomass remain above average in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. As the climate change continues, lower snowpacks, increased precipitation as rain instead of snow, melting glaciers, and warming air and water temperatures are expected to become more normal, bringing continued detrimental effects on salmon and steelhead. A summary of the report is available at: ummary.pdf

Impacts of Drought British Columbia has experienced record summer drought in recent years, with 2017 and 2018 being espe-


The Life and Times of Wild Fish Conservation Legends Frank and Jeanne Moore By Dale Greenley


ith the passing of Frank Moore earlier this year just a week short of 99, wild steelhead anglers and advocates sadly witness the end of a long, dramatic, and richly rewarding era in the history of Oregon conservation and sport fishing. Frank and Jeanne, life partners in all they did, were influential on a historic scale in the maturing of the care and management of Oregon’s famed North Umpqua watershed—and by example the management of countless other landscapes. Frank and Jeanne were married January 1, 1943, and were well-known for their hospitality at their Roseburg Cafe in Roseburg, Oregon long before they took over the Steamboat Inn on the banks of the North Umpqua River, where they welcomed a couple generations of anglers and friends (the Inn itself is a vitally important part of the river’s history, but that’s a story for another time). The multitudes of people who knew them unanimously considered them “Good People” and the dearest of friends. Within minutes of meeting them, you realized you had just met a very special couple, rich in the wisdom and joy that came from a life together along one of the world’s most beautiful rivers. With his sparkling blue eyes, easy grin, vice-grip handshake and an innate magnetic charisma, Frank and his knowledge of the steelhead and salmon management issues at hand, proved to be a very persuasive man when dealing with government officials. When facts and good sense didn’t prevail, he got things done through sheer force of personality.

The Angler-Conservationist A few examples of Frank’s influence will give the general idea of what we owe this remarkable angler. In 1968, with the backing of the newly formed Steamboaters, a group of concerned North Umpqua steelhead anglers, and thanks to the skills of cinematographers Hal Riney and Dick Synder, Frank inspired and oversaw the making


of the tremendously influential film “Pass Creek.” The film graphically documented the damage a clear-cut does to a watershed, and Frank flew all over the country in his private plane showing it to interested groups. The film ultimately proved to be a tipping point for enabling the passage of the until-then doomed Oregon Forest Practices Act of 1971, which took effect in 1972, which increased protections for fish, wildlife and their habitat from destructive logging operations.

pable of jumping out. Using hatchery return fish for brood stock reinforces that cow-like inactivity and the fish that return to the river fight like a gob of moss. Frank’s determined actions and arguments resulted in the use of only wild fish for brood stock in Oregon hatcheries. Appointed to the Oregon State Fish and Game Commission, in 1972, Frank exercised his river smarts and accumulated experience in influencing that body’s work to the advantage of anglers and all others who love rivers.

Multiple improvements in watershed and fisheries management resulted from Frank and Jeanne’s efforts and their work did not go unacknowledged.

Honored Lifetimes Over the ensuing years, multiple improvements in watershed and fisheries management resulted from Frank and Jeanne’s efforts, and the magnitude of their work did not go unacknowledged. Locally, in 2006 in recognition for their many years of community service they were honored by the small southern Oregon town of Glide as Oregon’s First Citizens of the Year. Because of Frank’s lifetime of work with fisheries, he was especially honored with many state and national awards, including The National Wildlife Federation Sears Roebuck Conservationist of the Year; the Izaac Walton League Beaver Award; the Anders

In the early 1970s, Frank was also the first to call attention to the problems of inbreeding that is inherent in hatcheryraised steelhead and salmon. In nature, an average of only two of the progeny of a pair of spawning fish survive to reContinued on next page turn to the spawning beds. Having survived the fierce trials and perils of hatching and early growth, migration to the ocean, years of ocean life, and the upstream migration home, those two are paragons of natural selection, the strongest, fastest, wariest, and luckiest of all the fish in their brood. Sadly, those two are also the first two killed in a hatchery. A hatchery favors the dull, inactive cow-like Jeanne and Frank Moore posing with their favorite jeep fish that passively on their North Umpqau River property. Photograph by swim in the pond, inca- Jay Nicholas

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10,000 acres of old growth forest and a variety of native vegetation. More about this can be found with at 72_UW-NewsletterSpring-2017.pdf ( In February 2019, in what many would regard as the finest tribute to both the genius and heart of Jeanne and Frank Moore, and in recognition of two lives dedicated to countless contributions to the Umpqua River watershed and its community, the Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Sanctuary was created. Under management of the U.S. Forest Service, new protections were given to 100,000 acres of prime steelhead rearing habitat in the North Umpqua watershed. The sanctuary was initially proposed as the Frank Moore Wild SteelFrank Moore steelhead fishing on his beloved head Sanctuary, but Frank would North Umpqua River, Oregon. Photograph by have none of it until they added Jeanne’s name. Frank rightly inDale Greenley sisted that he would have accomplished Continued from previous page very little without Jeanne. There were many more honors—mileAward for Wild Trout Management; the International Fly Fishing Conservation- stones of a life of exemplary sportsist of the Year; the Wild Steelhead Coali- manship and citizenship—but all tion Conservationist of the Year; and tangible traces of them were destroyed the Native Fish Society’s Lifetime in the tragic Archie Creek wildfire in Achievement Award. One special cul- 2019 that reduced their beloved log mination of all this well-deserved home to a low pile of ashes topped by recognition came in 2010, when Frank melted metal roofing. That wonderful was inducted into the prestigious Fresh house was, simply by its accumulation Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hay- of the memorabilia and documentation of their life’s joys and achievements, ward, Wisconsin. In March 2017, Frank was recognized the foremost museum of North for his 70 years of active participation Umpqua fishing and conservation hiswith the local American Legion chapter, tory. Its burning was an incalculable then that same evening the local envi- loss both personal and historic. In a desronmental organization, Umpqua Wa- perate last-minute evacuation, Frank tersheds, gave Frank and Jeanne and Jeanne escaped with only the recognition for their many years of ef- clothes they were wearing. Beyond his countless environmental fective conservation work and a sepaachievements, and his fame as one of rate award to Jeanne for her efforts on the great modern masters of fly fishing the establishment of the Limpy Rock Natural Resource Area in the Umpqua for steelhead, the Moores lived other full lives at the same time. In high National Forest. Of all their accomplishments and school he won the Oregon State bariawards, Frank was proudest of the part tone soloist competition, and throughJeanne played in the formation of the out their lives Frank and Jeanne sang in Limpy Rock Resource Natural Area in the church choir, in the annual Messiah the upper North Umpqua drainage. He production and in various community observed while she studied botany and choral events, contributing their beaulearned to key out and identify rare and tiful voices to the mix. In the late 1940s unusual plants and all the while spent he established and coached Roseburg several years on the ground surveying High School’s first wrestling team. In plant species in the Limpy Rock area. the 1950s his Moore’s Café fast-pitch The U.S. Forest Service recognized her softball team won division titles and efforts by establishing the Limpy Rock Frank was not only the star catcher but Resource Natural Area, protecting over typically had the division’s highest batting average.

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In 2007, Frank was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal for his participation of the liberation of France in World War Two. On the push to Berlin, Frank noticed an Atlantic Salmon hanging from a riverside building and dreamed of going back to fish there. In 2013, that dream was realized when a film production company took him and Jeanne back to retrace his wartime steps and fish along the way. The resulting film, Mending the Line, is a touching movie about Frank and Jeanne, and is readily available on-line ( heline).

A True Sportsman I realize that I’ve hardly talked about Frank Moore the fisherman. Those who were lucky enough to fish with him witnessed a river savvy and a level of technical skill and wading abilities that many newcomers to the river didn’t even know were possible. But what may have most distinguished Frank as an angler was his eager willingness to share the river and its secrets with so many of us. That, I think, is the finest mark of a true sportsman. Frank and Jeanne Moore, a largerthan-life couple beloved as treasured friends by so many of us, displayed in their home a driftwood plaque painted, signed, and given to them by Walt Johnson, the pioneering Washington steelhead fly fisherman. It said, “When my time comes, I pray the Good Lord finds me big enough to keep.” Rest assured, both Frank, and Jeanne, when her time comes, are keepers.

Dale Greenley is past President of the Steamboaters and a long-time friend of the Moore’s. Learn more about the Steamboaters and their work at:

Frank Moore January 30, 1923 - January 23, 2022. Photograph by Steve Rajeff


The North Umpqua Wild Steelhead: Born in Fury and Living in Fire By Dave Moskowitz


orn between two memorable Cascade Peaks — the former Mount Mazama (known now as Crater Lake) and iconic Mount Thielsen, the North Umpqua pours through sudden clefts in the basalt and gathers hundreds of other waters on its journey to the Pacific. In turn, wild runs of six anadromous salmonids bring the ocean’s energy 140 miles back to the Coast Range and Cascades. In the aftermath of the Archie Creek Fire in 2020 (the tenth major wildfire in the watershed since 2002), North Umpqua residents learned of the loss of multiple landmarks including Frank and Jeannie Moore’s home, as well as most of the Rock Creek Hatchery. Initial (and ongoing) concerns focused on the salvage and hazard-tree logging that began in sensitive areas even as the smoldering stumps were reduced to ash. By January 2021, the North Umpqua Coalition formed — consisting of Native Fish Society, Oregon Council of Flyfishers International, Pacific Rivers, The Conservation Angler, The North Umpqua Foundation, The Steamboaters, Trout Unlimited and Umpqua Watersheds. The North Umpqua Coalition collectively determined that Oregon should manage the North Umpqua River as a wild steelhead watershed — which would result in securing the North Umpqua as the only river in Oregon managed for both wild winter and summer steelhead. The North Umpqua Coalition focused its advocacy on educating the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission about the wild summer steelhead and their iconic status as a gamefish pursued by anglers from around the world, as well as their incredible diversity and unique life history attributes. Then the 2021 return of wild summer steelhead entering the North Umpqua dropped to its lowest level in recorded history (fewer than 500 wild fish) and all angling was closed in early August. This alarming development and the


Coalition’s call to action led the Oregon steelhead system — a major, ground Department of Fish and Wildlife shifting step. (ODFW) to conduct a detailed limiting Several parties filed a lawsuit chalfactors analysis which was released lenging the Commission action, and three weeks before a critical April 22 they won a partial victory securing the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting. release of the hatchery smolts — ( though all evidence shows it was a poor orth_umpqua_summer_steelhead.asp) decision as the fish had passed their miODFW’s assessment stated that hatch- gratory window and are likely residualery planting since 1952 had no effect on izing in high numbers. The the wild summer fish despite long term Commission’s critical management dedata showing the number of hatchery cision has been paused until a hearing summer steelhead far-exceeded man- on the merits takes place later this year. agement limits. Exceeding management limits is proof of harm to wild steelhead diversity. To not include hatchery practices as a limiting factor on the North Umpqua was like omitting "heat" or “hydro” from a limiting factors analysis on the Columbia River. The Coalition used ODFW’s own data (which they Steamboat Creek, North Umpqua River basin. Photo by Jim decided not to cite Yuskavitch in their official report) to show that there is a correlation The Commission’s decision to eliminate between hatchery releases and wild the summer steelhead hatchery prosteelhead productivity declines. gram on the North Umpqua should ODFW’s decision to leave hatchery im- withstand the legal challenge and will pacts off their limiting factors list was aid in the recovery of this declining a tactical error — an inconsistency that wild population. behaved like an overt omission and it The Coalition has already pivoted to undermined the ODFW staff conclusion the hard work of defending in court (especially considering their own rec- what is a great decision for wild steelommended action included a large re- head. There will be little time to celeduction of hatchery smolt releases). If brate as the truth of the matter is that there was truly no problem with hatch- wild steelhead — particularly summer ery impacts on wild summer steelhead, steelhead — are in trouble Pacific then to what end was the staff recom- coast-wide. mendation to reduce smolt releases? The Oregon Commission voted 4-3 to not release the 78,000 summer steel- Dave Moskowitz is Executive Director head smolts being reared and to PER- of The Conservation Angler. Learn more MANENTLY discontinue the summer about their work at: steelhead hatchery program — making www.the the North Umpqua a completely wild

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The North Umpqua River: Legacy of Wild Fish, Flyfishing and Citizen Conservation Activism By Dave Moskowitz

Books ‘ Zane Grey (1930s), “America’s Greatest Writer never wrote about it.” ‘ Claude Kreider (1948) Steelhead, “He fished with Nevada's Governor here.” ‘ Jack Hemmingway, (1986) Misadventures of a Flyfisherman, and A Life Worth Living (2002), “His companions forfeited their gear for lack of licenses.” ‘ Michael Checchio (1994) Article in Flyfisher Magazine FFI, Mist on the River (2004) ‘ Trey Combs, (1991). Steelhead Fly Fishing. ‘ Michael Baughman, (1995) A River Seen Right, “A perfect reflection of the river.” ‘ Don Roberts, (2017) Pioneers and Legends. An article in Match the Hatch Magazine about Lee Spencer ‘ Dan Callaghan, (2018) North Umpqua. A book of photos and writing about the North Umpqua. “The quintessential....from a lawyer-poet.” ‘ Flyfisher’s Club of Portland (2008) The Creel: North Umpqua Edition. Essays & photos edited by Bob Wethern ‘ Pat McRae (2008) North Umpqua Chronicles: The Secret Diary of a Year on the River (Epilogue by Bill Bakke), “Everyday observations from an angler who fished every day.” ‘ Lee Spencer, A Temporary Refuge (2017) About 17 years as the guardian of the Big Bend Pool on Steamboat Creek where up to half of the NU wild summer steelhead seek refuge prior to their final spawning run. "A memoir of 17 Wild Steelhead. Photo by John McMillan years..." ‘ John Shewey, (1995) Steelhead River Journal – North Umpqua Edition ‘ Lee LaFontaine, (2009) Images of the North Umpqua River. A large format photo book

Movies ‘ Pass Creek (1968) A movie on the impact of logging on Steamboat Creek by Dick Snyder and Hal Riney ‘ Mending the Line (2013) A film by John Waller about Frank Moore and the North Umpqua River ‘ Oregon Field Guide (2013) Profile of Frank Moore and (2020) profile of Lee Spencer and Big Bend Pool ‘ Refuge (2017) A film about Lee Spencer and the Big Bend Pool on Steamboat Creek by Katie Faulkenburg ‘ Sanctuary (2018) A film by Shane Anderson about snorkeling on Canton and Steamboat Creeks

Advocacy ‘ The Steamboaters founded in 1966 to protect the North Umpqua River and Steamboat Creek from logging. ‘ The North Umpqua Foundation formed in 1983 to challenge (and defeat) a hydro-electric proposal and started Fish Watch on the Big Bend Pool of Steamboat Creek in 1992 to protect wild summer steelhead resting there. ‘Steamboat Inn Owner Jim VanLoan and Photographer Dan Callaghan serve on the Fish & Wildlife Commission ‘ In the 1990s, anglers and guides advocate to end the winter steelhead hatchery program and end wild harvest of winter steelhead. Wild Summer steelhead harvest ended in 1988. ‘ Soda Springs Dam Relicensing (2012) requires fish passage to area blocked since 1952, at the cost of $60 mill. ‘ Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area Act passed into law (2017). ‘ The North Umpqua Coalition forms in 2021 and successfully ends the hatchery summer run program in 2022.

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FISH WATCH — WILD FISH NEWS, ISSUES AND INITIATIVES Investigation Finds Significant Interception of BC-Origin Salmon by Alaska Fisheries A recently released technical report has documented the fact that the commercial Alaskan salmon fishery along the Alaska panhandle is intercepting a significant, and increasing, share of British Columbia-bound salmon. The report, commissioned by SkeenaWild Conservation Trust — one of The Osprey’s supporting partner organizations — and Watershed Watch Salmon Society, provides a detailed analysis of each BC origin salmon species that are caught in Southeast Alaska interception fisheries. The bulk of the interception of Canada bound salmon is centered in Alaska’s District 104, located on the outer coast of the Alaska panhandle. The rivers in this part of Alaska do not produce very large salmon runs, so the bulk of the salmon caught in this fishery are headed for streams in Canada as well as Washington and Oregon. These Alaskan commercial fisheries are now responsible for the largest harvest of depleted Canadian salmon stocks. Salmon numbers in British Columbia have seen record lows in recent years, and resulted in the closure of 60 percent of BC commercial salmon fisheries in June 2021. However, while Canadian commercial fisheries were substantially cut back last summer, the Alaska commercial salmon fleet just

The Alaska commercial fishery caught nearly 800,000 sockeye salmon in 2021, mostly of Canada origin. Photo by Milton Love, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara over the border logged 3,000 boat days, and harvested nearly 800,000, mostly Canada-origin sockeye salmon, in the Southeast Alaskan commercial fisheries Districts 101-104, and 106. Approximately 51,000 Chinook salmon were harvested in the Alaskan troll fisheries, most of which were returning to BC and Washington. About 540,000 coho were harvested, although the percent of BC-bound fish is unknown. In addition an unknown number of Chinook and steelhead were released from seine nets s by-catch and likely died. More than 1.2 million chum salmon were also caught. While the majority of

these fish were produced in Alaskan hatcheries, an unknown number were returning to BC streams on the north and central coasts where chum numbers are at low abundance levels. The numbers of coho and pink salmon, and steelhead harvested is unknown because the Alaska Department of Fish and Game provides little or no harvest information on these species. The sooonest opportunity to address this issue will be in 2028, the next renewal date for the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Additional information, including the report, may be found at: and, under the “Stories” tab.

Study Confirms Effectiveness of Fish Traps for Reducing By-Catch Mortality of At-Risk Salmon In Columbia River Researchers at the Wild Fish Conservancy have completed analyzing data showing that passively operated fish traps are 100 percent succesful in by-catch survival of wild spring- and summer-run Chinook salmon in the Columbia River. The Wild Fish Conservancy has been experimenting with pound net fish traps on the lower Columbia River to determine if they are an effective way to selectively harvest hatchery salmon while releasing non-target species such as at-risk wild salmon and steelhead. [Editor’s Note: See “Commercial Fish Traps for By-Catch Mortality Reduction in Salmon Fisheries” by Adrian Tuohy, The Osprey, January 2020] Researchers from the Conservancy collected data in 2019 by tagging and genetically testing more than 100 Chinook salmon that were captured and released at its reasearch fish traps on the lower Columbia River. The numbers of tagged fish that reached Bonneville Dam — a 104 mile (167 Kilometers), 7-day migration period — were then counted. The final data, including genetic analysis, was completed in April of this year. Of the 110 spring-run and summer-run fish tagged, the data showed that the survival rate was 100 percent, demonstrating the real viability of using passive fish traps for commercial harvest while sparing non-targeted wild fish. More information is available at: under the “News” tab.

Oregon Adopts Legislation for Increased Protection of Salmon and Steelhead Habitat on Private Industrial Forest Lands In May, the Oregon Legislature passed, and Governor Kate Brown signed, the Private Forest Accord that significantly increases protection for salmon, steelhead and their habitat on private industrial forestlands. The result of negotiations between 13 timber industry representatives and 13 conservation representatives, the Accord updates logging practices that will better protect fish habitat. Also provided by the Accord is $20 million to fund new conservation, science and landowner programs. Continued on next page


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Some of the Accord’s major fish and habitat protections include: ‘ Increases stream buffer widths by 10 to 100 percent, along with new protections for headwater streams. ‘ Sets new standards for forest road design, inventory, maintenance and culvert design, while also providing funding to replace culverts that hamper fish passage. ‘ New requirements to retain trees on unstable slopes to minimize landslide risk and protect streams from sedimentation. ‘ Provides support for beavers that recognizes their role in benefiting wildlife, including salmon and steelhead. ‘ Creates a new stakeholder committee whose members will work with an independent research and science team that will advise the Oregon Board of Forestry on future rule changes. Another bill passed at the same time establishes the Elliott State Forest as a State Research Forest, ending its previous requirement be logged to provide school funding. The 82,000-acre temperate rainforest is located near Coos Bay and is a major producer of Oregon coastal coho salmon. For more information go to: /private-forest-accord-signed-into-law/

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