The Sockeye Monthly Post
Number Two: October, 2015
Lead Story from The National Fishy Enquirer
Whole Salmon Found Preserved In Stomach of Frozen Neanderthal
Retreating glacier reveals ... (continued on page A-9).
In The News
Happenings & Media Events
More News About Dam Removals
The final breaching of the upper Elwha dam (Glynes Canyon) received considerable media attention and fanfare in 2014. And deservedly so. It is a fascinating story, one where new chapters are just now being written as the restoration process continues. There are other dam removal stories out there worth being aware of. The most dramatic is that of the Marmot Dam on the Sandy River in Oregon, to date the largest dam removal in that state’s history. A 25 minute video “A Dam No More” produced in 2014 by the dam owner Pacific Gas and Electric documents the process. It is a fascinating tale, with some pioneering approaches which may be replicated elsewhere.
The 50 ft. high Marmot dam was primarily a diversion structure used to redirect water through a mountain to a reservoir and power plant in an adjacent valley. A fish ladder allowed salmon to get past the structure. The driving force for dam removal was sedimentation, the dam simply had reached the end of its useful life. The area behind it was completely filled with sediment and extended upstream for a mile.
Removing the dam was relatively straightforward. Dealing with all that sediment was the real problem. It was physically impossible to dredge and haul away that much material in the window of time to do the work (a four month dryer period during the summer). The film clearly tells of how engineers and scientists decided to use the river itself to remove this material. It is story well worth watching. Go to Youtube and watch “A Dam No More”.
Two dams on the Rogue River in Oregon, the Wimer and Fiedler have also been removed to improve salmon habitat (see Youtube, What’s The Deal With Dam Removal?, a 2.5 minute video). And, proponents of removal of the 4 major dams on the Snake River continue to press their case with a “Free The Snake” flotilla, October 3, 2015 at Wawawai County Park near Pullman, Washington (see freethesnake.com).
Should You Let Your Pet Eat Salmon?
Not according to Dr. Karen Becker, a “proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian”. Her online article in the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-karen-becker/salmon) is titled Salmon: The Fresh Raw Food You Should Never Feed Your Pet. According to Dr. Becker salmon and other wild Pacific NW fish may be infected with a an organism called neorickettsia helminthoeca which lives in a fluke common in fish. This critter can cause “salmon poisoning disease”, liver damage and possibly death. She advises people to avoid feeding or letting your dog consume wild fish.
NEWS SOURCES (These are the places we visit regularly to find some of the best news and information related to salmon).
Reviews & Commentary
Does B.C.’s “Kuterra” Point The Way Towards The Future of Fish Farms?
Kuterra is the brand name of “sustainably raised farmed salmon” It is the visionary project of Namgis First Nation people on the north end of Vancouver Island. Responding to the major issues surrounding Pacific Northwest fish farming based on net pens located in marine environments (water pollution, parasites and disease, impacts on wild fish from escapees), this totally land based system treats and recycles water, converts waste into fertilizer and raises fish on mostly grains and soy. It has only been marketing its product since 2014, but it does offer both a glimpse of the future of fish farming, and a hope for wild salmon. The challenges relate to cost (three times the start-up capital) and high energy use for operation. For more information go to kuterra.com, and the National Geographic news article Is Salmon Raised on Land The Future of Seafood? (news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150607-salmon).
Alaska Pebble Mine Project Update
The proposed Pebble Mine in the upper part of Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, which is also one of the world’s most productive sockeye salmon ecosystem and a major Alaskan fishery is, according to the Pebble Partnership, “on hold as it reviews its options for advancing the project further.” If developed as proposed, Pebble Mine would be one of the world’s largest copper gold mine developments.
The partnership is pursuing legal action through a lawsuit claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency, in its evaluation of the project and unfavorable conclusions related to mine development, had “improperly utilized input from anti-mining groups in its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment.” The EPA is essentially blocking mine development through its Clean Water Section 404(c) wetlands protection authority. The EPA wanted to dismiss the lawsuit, however, in the summer (2015) a judge ruled that the partnership has “plausible claims.” In September, the judge approved subpoenaing a former EPA staffer central to the Pebble case. The battle continues. Two good places to stay up-to-date on this important issue is the Pebble Partnership’s website www.pebblepartnership.com, and United Fishermen of Alaska site www.ufafish.org.
Salmon For Coal & Alaska’s Fish First Policy ... an Update on the Chuitna
Many Alaskans have been demanding that the new Walker administration adopt a “fish first” policy. The Chuitna is seen as a test. Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is expected to decide in October (2015) whether to grant a request of Alaskan citizens and fishermen to leave enough water for salmon to survive in the middle fork of the Chuitna River in Upper Cook Inlet (near Anchorage). If DNR does not grant the water reservation request, it is seen as a “green light” for the company PacRim to move ahead with its proposed coal mine development in the watershed. For more information and to stay abreast of the happenings, see www.ufafish.org and savethechuitna.org.
Lincoln California, October 3 (6th Annual Salmon Celebration, McBean Park). For information go to www.wildlifeheritage.org/salmon
Pullman, Washington, October 3, Free The Snake flotilla (Wawawai County Park).
For more information go to freethesnake.com
Alsea Oregon, Nov 14-16 (Fall Salmon Celebration). For information go to www.thethymegarden.com/events
Harrison Mills British Columbia, Nov. 23-24 (Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival). For information go to www.aboriginalbc.com/events/salmon-celebration
Second annual Billy Frank Jr. Day, March 9 (a day of action, sponsored by the Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Forever Fund). For information go to www.salmondefense.org/#!events
Documentary Film Review
THE SURPRISE SALMON
in Life On Fire: Wildlife on the Volcanoes Edge, A Look At Volcanoes and the Environment Around Them (PBS series of six one hour programs plus extras)
Visually, The Surprise Salmon is a great movie. It has stunning images of leaping, swimming, spawning and dying salmon revealed through creative and effective use of speed-up and slow down filming techniques. It is set amidst the rumbling, bubbling and explosive eruptions of Alaska Peninsula volcanoes, one of the earth’s most spectacular and dynamic landscapes. The film is entertaining, but for anyone who knows much about salmon and Alaska, the story can’t help but leave you wondering about its veracity. It seems loosely stitched, driven by the images rather than the other way around.
Cache: Creating Natural Economies
by Spencer B. Beebe
Cache is the best book I have come across linking environment and economics. One doesn’t feel like Beebe is selling an organization, approach, or philosophy. He is not out to convince you that he is right. Rather one comes away with a strong sense that Beebe continues to learn and that at any moment he might venture out in yet a new direction which shows more promise. He acknowledges things that didn’t work. He learns from experience, and continually tries new things. Refreshing, in our world of spin, marketing and aggressive self promotion.