Bold action needed for salmon recovery | Being Frank

Frustrated with the lack of progress in salmon recovery – especially Puget Sound chinook – treaty tribes in Western Washington have proposed seven bold actions to jump-start those efforts. Puget Sound chinook were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1999 but continue to hover at about 10 percent of their historical population.

We are calling on the Leadership Council of the Puget Sound Partnership – the state agency created in 2007 to serve as the regional salmon recovery organization for Puget Sound – to adopt these actions when it meets this month. The Partnership’s Salmon Recovery Council already has approved the actions. Tribal, state and federal governments, industry and environmental groups are all represented through the leadership and salmon recovery councils.

The actions include:

​• Protect all remaining salmon habitat through land-use policy changes that can provide a net gain in ecosystem function and habitat productivity. As part of this effort, create a region-wide accountability system that is comprehensive, accessible and transparent.

• Establish and enforce water quantity and quality standards that protect, conserve and restore water resources for salmon.

• Improve management of predation and other mortality factors preventing salmon recovery.

• Emphasize funding and implementation of science and monitoring actions to support Puget Sound salmon recovery.

• Develop a strategy that uses funding from sources other than state, tribal and federal governments to provide 50 to 100 times more than current funding for salmon protection and restoration.

• Develop and implement a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy for salmon recovery.

• Develop integrated plans for oil spill planning, prevention and response.

We ran out of easy answers for salmon recovery in Puget Sound a long time ago.

We have reduced harvest dramatically. Treaty tribes in Western Washington have cut their harvest by more than 80 percent over the past few decades. Non-Indian sport and commercial fisheries have undergone similar reductions.

We have built hatcheries to help restore naturally spawning salmon stocks and provide fish for harvest. Today, more than half of the salmon we all harvest come from hatcheries.

What we haven’t done is stop the loss and damage of salmon habitat that is driving the decline of salmon populations.

If we are to succeed, we must make some bold, meaningful changes. What we are doing now isn’t working.

We are not called to do the least we can to recover salmon. We are called to do all we can. Failing to take bold action on salmon recovery is what got us exactly where we are today.

Lorraine Loomis is chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (nwifc.org).

More in Opinion

Teacher and T-Rex | Shiers

As the school year ends, the summer action movie season begins.… Continue reading

Signs of progress in ending sexual violence | GUEST OP

The conversation surrounding sexual violence has grown louder in recent months as… Continue reading

Seattle’s misstep highlights need for new approach | Brunell

Last week, Seattle’s City Council did an “about face,” revoking the onerous… Continue reading

State Dems may abandon caucus chaos in time for 2020

Washington also is considering becoming more significant by moving its primary to early March.

Washington’s expensive culvert court case | Brunell

While much of the media buzz over declining salmon runs focuses on… Continue reading

Lt. Dan needs lots of helping hands | Brunell

Gary Sinise making year-around commitments to help veterans and their families

Growth, knowledge, learning at your library | KCLS

Spring is the time of year when many of us focus on… Continue reading

Where my daughter goes to school isn’t political – it’s personal | GUEST OP

By Kesha Senters/For the Kent Reporter I’ll admit it. I am a… Continue reading

Photo by Michael O’Leary/Everett Herald
                                Photo by Michael O’Leary/Everett Herald
Eyman says he will spend $500K of his own money on initiative

The conservative activist’s self-financing claim points to a lack of deep-pocketed donors.

New approaches needed to fight super wildfires | Brunell

With Western States wildfires growing in size and destroying more homes, farms… Continue reading

Eyman putting his latest fight on his tab

Activist using own money in signature-gathering drive to place a $30 car tab measure in front of voters

Cooperation spawns hope

Call to reach common ground and a shared pain