Saturday, December 27, 2008

Did You Build Your Ark?

The melt is on. Now that we're finally able to drive around on pavement again get ready for some nasty flooding on the "S" rivers. So go fish a lake, that doesn't have ice on it. Or, better yet, go snowboarding.-BW

More rain, snowmelt; look for rising streams, water pooling in streets
An inch of rain a day is expected for the next few days in the Seattle area, and a flood watch remains in effect for most of Western Washington through Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times staff reporter

Leaving her car behind, a woman carries her groceries up 53rd Avenue Northeast in Lake Forest Park on Friday afternoon. Heavy, wet snow and slush made maneuvering a vehicle on the street nearly impossible.

An inch of rain a day is expected for the next few days in the Seattle area, and a flood watch remains in effect for most of Western Washington through Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
A strong, warm and wet Pacific storm will produce lowland showers into next week, meteorologist Johnny Burg said.
"An inch of rain a day isn't too outlandish," he said. "Getting a quarter-inch every six hours is kind of the typical, wet winter system we get."
The potential remains for small streams to flood and for water to pool on streets as the last of our snow is melted by the rain and warming temperatures -- a bigger concern for urban areas. Today's high is expected to reach 44 degrees, a welcome change from recently frigid temperatures and the more than 12 inches of snowfall reported at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport between Dec. 13 and Christmas Eve.
In anticipation of the predicted rain and resulting snowmelt, Seattle Public Utilities has put in motion its Urban Flood Response Plan, with extra crews on duty and observers in place at sections of the city where flooding is likely. To report an emergency drainage problem in Seattle, call 206-386-1800.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Victory for The Public

This article was recently published in Angling Trade, an industry magazine many of you probably don't see but it's important to share the good news. What this artilce doesn't tell you is that the force trying to restrict access to Mitchell Slough was Huey Lewis (of the News) who owns a large ranch next to the Slough.-BW

Montana Supreme Court Rules Mitchell Slough Open

The Montana Supreme Court recently ruled that Mitchell Slough is open to recreation under the state's stream access law. This decision will have statewide ramifications in the ongoing stream access debate. In a 54 page decision, the court said that the 16 miles of this waterway (between Hamilton and Stevensville, Montana) follows the historical course of a waterway mapped 130 years ago, and therefore is subject to the same public accessand permitting standards as other natural waterways. This ruling overtunred two earlier rulings by state district courts that found the slough was no a "natural, perennial-flowing stream."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Direction?

This happened a couple weeks ago now but it it could mark a significant change in the way WDFW goes about it's business. Lets hope so at least. This is the official WDFW news release.-BW

December 01, 2008 Contact: Jeff Koenings, (360) 902-2225 or Margaret Ainscough, (360) 902-2408
WDFW director resigns to pursue new challenges
OLYMPIA— After a decade of leadership in fostering scientific and collaborative management of state natural resources, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Jeff Koenings, Ph.D., has announced his resignation, effective Dec. 11.
“In collaboration with many other resource managers and Washington citizens, I’ve accomplished much of what I said I would do when I became director 10 years ago,” Koenings said. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in creating a comprehensive, gravel-to-gravel system of stewardship for wild salmon, re-building relationships based on mutual trust with tribal resource co-managers, bringing a scientific focus to state fish and wildlife management and improving the department’s business practices.”
Most recently, Koenings chaired negotiations on a new, 10-year chinook-harvest agreement under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, requiring British Columbia and Alaska to reduce harvest of Washington chinook by a million fish over the next 10 years. When implemented in 2009, the agreement will return many more wild salmon to state spawning grounds to take advantage of numerous estuary and freshwater habitat-restoration projects throughout the state.
Under Koenings’ leadership, WDFW established many new sustainable fisheries that allow harvest of hatchery-produced fish while sparing wild salmon listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. He also led the department’s participation in a broad effort to reform state hatchery operations to support wild-fish recovery.
Over the past decade, WDFW has acquired more than 109,000 acres of land for the protection of fish and wildlife habitats, ensuring their place in the public lands portfolio for future generations of Washingtonians.
Koenings said he plans to use his knowledge, experience and collaborative approach in ways that benefit national and international fisheries programs that are crucial for sustaining Washington’s fishing industry and its many economic benefits to the state.
“Change is everywhere, and I anticipate opportunities to use these skills in a number of forums,” said Koenings. “Washington lies at the center of the Pacific Coast and, as such, our interests range from southern California to the Bering Sea. In this global economy, the Pacific Rim countries are cooperating to conserve our marine resources as never before, and Washington state is a huge player in those discussions.”
Koenings’ 10-year career as WDFW director was the longest in the department’s history.
"Jeff has admirably served the department and successfully navigated it through some challenging times in the last ten years," stated Gov. Chris Gregoire. "His service is appreciated."
As director, Koenings brought stability to the 1,500-plus employee agency, fostered partnerships with stakeholders, promoted a good-neighbor policy in managing state wildlife lands and secured millions of dollars in federal funding for state fish and wildlife management.
Koenings was appointed WDFW director in January 1999, after working as an Alaska fisheries manager and a special assistant to the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He holds a doctorate in natural resources, a master’s degree in water resources and a bachelor’s degree in fisheries, all from the University of Michigan.
“The past 10 years have been extraordinary in terms of the diversity of challenges presented to WDFW and its leadership,” Koenings said. “But through it all, conservation of the resource through science-based decision-making has been our standard. I’ve been fortunate to lead an incredible group of talented professionals and they will always have my respect and admiration.”