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New Sand Habitat Attracting More Life near Elwha River

By • Apr 8th, 2014 • Category: News

With thousands of cubic yards of sediment forming new beaches at the mouth of the Elwha River, marine life that’s been missing for decades is showing up again.

Before the recent deconstruction of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, the beaches at the mouth of the river were mostly cobblestone, which is suitable for a limited type of shellfish, including red rock crab, horse clams and …



Lawsuit Threatens Steelhead Recovery

By • Apr 7th, 2014 • Category: Lead Story, News

Both hatchery and wild fish are needed for steelhead and salmon recovery in western Washington, says Billy Frank Jr., chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“There’s no way we can do it without both,” said Frank, responding to a lawsuit against the state of Washington by a group claiming that state hatchery steelhead releases are undermining recovery of ESA-listed wild steelhead, chinook and bull trout …



Suquamish Tribe’s Doe Kag Wats Healing a Decade Later

By • Apr 7th, 2014 • Category: News

On a blustery and wet evening in December 2003, nearly 5,000 gallons of oil came ashore on the natural beachfront known as Doe Kag Wats to the Suquamish people.

Now that a decade of healing has passed, the 400-acre area is recovering better than the tribe had hoped.

The initial spill response and cleanup took several months during the winter of 2004. A resource damage assessment …



Tribes raising releasing young steelhead to restore flagging stock

By • Apr 4th, 2014 • Category: Lead Story, News

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is releasing young steelhead from an acclimation pond in the upper White River to help restore a weak run of the federally protected fish.

“Acclimation ponds help ensure there are juvenile steelhead in the river each year to take advantage of the available habitat,” said Blake Smith, hatchery manager for the Puyallup Tribe. The fish will be released at a pond …



Tribal and state co-managers integrate fish distribution data

By • Apr 3rd, 2014 • Category: News

Tribal and state fisheries co-managers have consolidated fish distribution data into a new interactive map tool called the Statewide Washington Integrated Fish Distribution (SWIFD).

NWIFC’s Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Inventory and Assessment Program (SSHIAP) has spent the past two years merging its data with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW).

The tool maps the distribution of fish statewide, including all species of salmon as …



Puyallup Tribe Looking For Coho Family Tree

By • Mar 25th, 2014 • Category: Lead Story, News

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is building a library of genetic material from coho salmon to better understand the different populations throughout the Puyallup River watershed.

“The data behind how all these fish are related can give us a pretty clear picture of how many populations are actually here,” said Russ Ladley, resource protection manager for the tribe. “Are populations that have different run timings independent …



Tribes Recovering from Geoduck Ban

By • Mar 19th, 2014 • Category: Lead Story, News

Western Washington tribes are quickly recovering from a sudden ban in December 2013 on selling geoduck to China.

The Asian country claimed it received a shipment of geoduck from Ketchikan, Alaska, that had high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning, and a shipment from Poverty Bay in Puyallup, Wash., that had high levels of arsenic.

As a result, China announced it was banning all imports of bivalve …



Upper Skagit Tribe looks at steelhead survival

By • Mar 16th, 2014 • Category: News

The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe is tagging juvenile steelhead to estimate freshwater productivity and learn more about smolt-to-adult survival in the Skagit River.

Steelhead have a complex life history, making it hard for salmon managers to forecast returns. Juvenile steelhead can leave freshwater habitat between their first and fourth year of life, and return from the salt water after one to five years. In addition, steelhead …



Tribes expand efforts to monitor Nooksack elk

By • Mar 14th, 2014 • Category: Lead Story, News

Point Elliott Treaty tribes are expanding efforts to monitor the Nooksack elk herd in hopes of resolving ongoing damage and safety problems in Skagit and Whatcom counties.

The Upper Skagit, Sauk-Suiattle, Swinomish, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, and Tulalip tribes are trapping elk using collapsible traps baited with apples and monitored with wildlife cameras. Since 2012, tribal and state wildlife co-managers have collared at least 10 cow elk with …



Swinomish inventories wildlife in Kukutali Preserve

By • Mar 13th, 2014 • Category: Lead Story, News

The Swinomish Tribe is conducting a terrestrial wildlife inventory on the Kukutali Preserve, which it has jointly managed with the state of Washington since 2010.

The nearly 100-acre preserve includes Kiket Island, as well as the smaller Flagstaff Island and an adjacent portion of Fidalgo Island on the Swinomish reservation.

During the first year of a two-year survey, Swinomish wildlife biologist Peter McBride discovered one priority …