Sunday, March 6, 2011

News from the O.P; Thoughts on the Elwah

These guys are better with adipose fins.  Photo by Csquad.

I've been out in Forks for the past couple of weeks, and this showed up in the email from a good friend:

"The Elwah dam removal is going according to plan, the fishing moratorium is in place for both tribal and non tribal fisheries.  In less than 24 months thousands of awesome native summer run steelhead who have been land locked for 70 years will be able to travel to the ocean, and with some luck, return to the river to propagate a new run of fish.  This is the largest most expensive project of its kind and has real potential for some success.
The elwah tribe meanwhile will continue to release tens of thousands of hatchery steelhead smolt into the system with no means of recovery.  The northwest indian tribal council has decided that dam removal should not set a precedent for hatchery closure.
Yes, you heard correctly.  The Elwah tribal hatchery will continue to dump non-native hatchery fish into the elwah even though no one will be able to fish for them, and even though the the point of the project is to open up miles of pristine habitat to native salmon and steelhead."

Keep your eyes peeled when anything pops up about helping the Elwah watershed, and make your voice heard.  This is an incredibly unique opportunity to restore a watershed to a nearly unaltered state.  Dumping hatchery fish into the Elwah, especially while there is a fishing moratorium, will only weaken the genetic strain of native fish that would find their way into the river to repopulate it.

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