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Washington Trout: Preserve, Protect, Restore
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WILD FISH RUNS

 

December 2006

 

News and Updates from Washington Trout

 

IN THIS ISSUE

 

v     YOU CAN SUPPORT WT EVERYDAY

v     CALENDAR OF EVENTS

v     A (WILD?) STEELHEAD MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR WASHINGTON STATE?

v     SEATTLE PUBLIC UTILITIES - FISH IN THE CITY

v     WT FILES SUIT OVER PUGET SOUND SALMON HARVEST

v     POSTER CONTEST HELPS PROMOTE RECOVERY OF ICICLE CREEK

v     FALL EDUCATION PROGRAMS - LEARNING ABOUT WATERSHEDS

v     VOLUNTEER NOTES

v     STAFF UPDATES

 

 

Wild Fish Runs is a bi-monthly publication for WT members and supporters to provide program updates and networking assistance. WT is a conservation-ecology organization dedicated to the preservation and recovery of Washington’s wild fish and the habitat they depend on. Since 1989, WT has sought to improve conditions for all of Washington’s wild fish through research, advocacy, and habitat restoration. Washington Trout is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

 

PO Box 402

15629 Main St NE

Duvall, WA98019

425-788-1167 Phone

425-788-9634 Fax

www.washingtontrout.org

wildfish@washingtontrout.org

 

 

Want to get more involved with Washington Trout? WT appreciates your support and can use your volunteer help in a number of ways including the annual WT auction, educational programs, mailing and office assistance, staffing booths at public events, and participating in membership campaigns and other special events.  Please contact the office at wildfish@washingtontrout.org if you would like to volunteer or have an event you would like mentioned in Wild Fish Runsor on the website!

 

HOLIDAY WISHES FROM ALL OF US AT WASHINGTON TROUT

 

The year is almost over, a new year about to begin. Around here it is a season of chill and damp, of grey rain-swollen rivers running under dormant banks. But it’s also a season of feasts and holidays, when many of us celebrate important cultural, social, religious, and family traditions.

 

It has been a year of growth and accomplishment at Washington Trout, and we want to thank you, our members and supporters, for the commitment that made it possible. On behalf of the staff and board at Washington Trout, let me extend to you and yours our very best wishes during this season of celebration, hope, and joy.

 

The eggs of this year’s salmon runs are under the gravel for the most part, some Coho still finishing up in the high tributaries. Those eggs have a long way to go, a lot of hazards to face, before they emerge, grow, make it to the sea, and return to these same gravels. But for now, under the mantle of quiet winter, they hold the unlimited promise of this season, of abiding cycles that keep us all whole, physically, culturally, spiritually.

 

With your help and support, Washington Trout is going to continue working everyday to protect and conserve the abiding cycles of Washington’s wild fish ecosystems.  Together, let’s celebrate the hope that we can and will sustain Washington’s wild fish heritage for generations and seasons to come.

 

Again, please accept our best wishes for a happy holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous new year.

 

Very Truly Yours,

 

Kurt Beardslee,

Executive Director

 

 

YOU CAN SUPPORT WT EVERYDAY – HERE’S HOW:

 

PCC Natural Market Scripts Card: Washington Trout is excited to announce that you can now support our work to preserve, protect and restore Washington’s wild fish ecosystems every time you shop at a PCC Natural Market. 

WT is now a participating partner in the PCC Scripts program.  This program allows you to purchase a $50.00 PCC Scripts card directly from WT and use it the same as cash at any PCC Natural Market.  WT will then receive 5% of the amount you spend as a donation.  Once you purchase the card from the WT office you can recharge it as many times as you like at any PCC Market and WT will continue to receive 5% of every purchase. 

For more information or to purchase your PCC Scripts card please contact the WT office at 425-788-1167 or stop by the WT store on Main Street in Duvall.

This Holiday Season Give Those Near to You a Washington Trout Gift Membership

This holiday season while pondering the perfect gift for a family member or friend, consider giving a gift that proudly demonstrates your passion for our treasured natural heritage and one that will truly and profoundly enrich the lives of the special people on your list. This holiday season give those near to you a Washington Trout Gift Membership.

A gift membership or donation to Washington Trout will support critical wild fish research, education, advocacy, and habitat restoration. Your thoughtful support will provide us with much needed funds to carry out our mission to preserve, protect and restore Washington’s wild fish and the ecosystems they depend on.

For more information or to purchase a Gift Membership please contact the WT office at 425-788-1167 or stop by the WT store on Main Street in Duvall.

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Shop the WT Store This Holiday Season and Help Save Wild Fish

Find the perfect gift with the knowledge that all proceeds support WT’s work to preserve, protect and restore Washington’s Wild Fish! 

The WT store is fully stocked with an exciting array of gifts including exquisite art prints from Joseph Tomelleri and Tanya Hill; Ray Troll t-shirts and books; holiday cards, note cards and calendars; correspondence kits, beautiful leather bound journals and calligraphy sets. We also carry TOPO! map and GPS programs; fun gifts for your dog or cat; and WT logo hats and fleece blankets.  The store is packed with items for kids and the young-at-heart including: exciting and messy science kits; games, puzzles and tools to explore the outdoors; and a beautiful selection of animal hand puppets. Our book selection includes a broad selection of field guides, fish reference books and nature oriented fiction and children’s books. 

You can view a few of our store items online at www.washingtontrout.org/store.shtml and remember that our remaining stock of TOPO! Mapping programs are 40% off through the holiday season.  The Washington Trout store is open Monday – Saturday from 10:00am ‘til 5:00pm as well as Sunday Dec 24th for that last minute shopping.  If you need to place an order and can’t make it out to Duvall, contact the office at 425-788-1167 and we’ll be happy to take your order and ship it to you.  We are located on SR 203 at 15629 Main St NE in Duvall, WA.

Workplace Giving:  This is also the time of year federal and state employees may designate a portion of their paycheck to Washington Trout.  Workplace rules differ but here are a few ways you may designate dollars to WT;

Washington State Combined Fund Drive (CFD) – If you are a Washington state employee, including City of Seattle employees, you can direct a donation to Washington Trout through the Washington State Combined Fund Drive.  Simply note our organization number: 315054 on your payroll deduction form or head to the CFD website by December 31st to set-up giving options for the 2007 fiscal year.  Your monthly donation provides much needed, sustainable and predictable funding for WT’s emergency programs. 

United Way  It is that time of year again when employees have the option of directing their designating United Way dollars to the nonprofit organizations of their choice.  Many private employers and all Washington state Federal employees use the United Way to distribute donations.  If your employer participates with the United Way we hope you will remember to write in “Washington Trout” in the designated giving section on your donation form. Since Washington Trout is not a United Way member agency, we do not receive any funding from the Community Safety Net fund unless individuals designate their gifts to Washington Trout. If you have any questions, please contact the WT office at 425-788-1167.

Work-Place Giving– If your employer does not participate in the United Way workplace giving program they still may allow you to direct money to the non-profit of your choice.  Companies like Microsoft, REI and many others choose to organize their own employee donation programs where paycheck dollars are directed to non-profit organizations.  Are you unsure of the policies of your employer?  Then contact the appropriate payroll staff and ask about workplace giving and let them know you would like to direct dollars to WT – if the option is not available then talk to your employer about starting one.  It is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your employers dedication to environmental issues!

You Could Win This Beautiful Canoe!

 

 

 

Washington Trout is raffling this beautiful 15’, 36” wide canoe, hand built and donated by Bill and Trudy Kindler. This gorgeous boat is hand laid from strips of reclaimed western red cedar, and trimmed in Honduras mahogany, Alaskan yellow cedar, and Peruvian walnut, with natural, hand caned seats, and brass fittings. It comes with two ash paddles hand made by the Shaw and Tenney Company, regarded as the gold standard in canoe paddles.

 

The boat is valued at over $3,000. Tickets are $5 each or get 5 tickets for only $20 and the drawing will be held on April 2, 2007. All proceeds will support Washington Trout research and conservation initiatives.  Visit the WT website for more pictures and information.

 

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

Come out and support WT at the following events. Also, be sure to save the date for WT’s annual Wild Fish Soiree Auction and Benefit. This gourmet wine and food experience is the highlight of WT’s annual social calendar. The ’07 event will be held at the lovely Chateau Ste Michelle in Woodinville on Saturday, May 19th

 

v     Washington Sportsman Show, Booth 612, Puyallup 1/24 – 1/28

v     The Fly Fishing Show, Bellevue 2/9 – 2/11

v     Evergreen Sportsman Show, Booth 816, Monroe 2/21 – 2/25

v     Wild Fish Soiree Auction and Benefit, Woodinville 5/19

 

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A (WILD?) STEELHEADMANAGEMENTPLANFORWASHINGTONSTATE?

Nick Gayeski

Washington Trout Resource Analyst

 

For over a decade the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been announcing its intention to develop a revised statewide steelhead-management plan. As a first step in developing a statewide plan, WDFW is currently developing a new Steelhead Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Puget Sound.

 

The Department has invited advocates of sport fishing and conservation interests to participate on a Steelhead Plan Advisory Group, to provide review and input on the developing plan. Washington Trout was invited as an advocate of conservation interests and is being represented by WT Resource Analyst, Nick Gayeski. The conservation caucus also includes the Wild Steelhead Coalition, the Wild Salmon Center, Federation of Flyfishers Steelhead Committee, and the Washington Council of Trout Unlimited. The Advisory Group has been meeting monthly since July 2006.

 

Eventually, the department will develop RMPs for every steelhead management unit in Washington. Most of these management units include steelhead populations that have been listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. WDFW chose Puget Sound as the focus for the first RMP in response to NOAA Fisheries’ February 2006 proposal to list the Puget Sound steelhead as a threatened species.

 

Steelhead photo by Bill McMillan

 

So far, WDFW has communicated mixed messages regarding the purpose of the Puget Sound RMP. On the one hand, some WDFW staff, including Department Director Jeff Koenings, have indicated that the RMP is intended to convince NOAA Fisheries that ESA-listing of Puget Sound steelhead is not warranted. The conservation caucus on the Advisory Group is unanimous that a Puget Sound listing is warranted, and that the RMP should be developed to manage for the recovery of listed populations, not to impede the federal protection Puget Sound steelhead need. On the other hand, other WDFW staff have denied that the Plan is to serve such purpose but is intended to be a science-driven plan for managing wild steelhead. However, the conservation caucus remains skeptical of these denials.

 

The confusion regarding the ultimate goal of the RMP is a significant issue, and its resolution will determine whether WT and other members of the conservation caucus continue to participate with the Advisory Group. In the meantime, the conservation caucus has expressed its concern that several issues central to managing the recovery of wild steelhead populations are being inadequately addressed in WDFW’s proposed approach. Among the most prominent of these issues are: (1) WDFW’s estimate of historical steelhead abundance is too low; the RMP needs a valid baseline of historical wild steelhead abundance in order to properly judge the magnitude of the decline in abundance and diversity of wild populations and set robust recovery targets; (2) WDFW needs to adequately define and designate genuine wild-only steelhead management zones that encompass a broad spatial array of populations, life-history types, and stream sizes, including rivers as large as the Skagit; and (3) the need to drastically alter, reduce, or eliminate current steelhead hatchery programs, and to conduct scientifically credible tests of any proposed hatchery reform measures.

 

Washington Trout and the other members of the conservation caucus agree that these three issues, among others, constitute bottom lines for developing a scientifically credible plan for managing wild steelhead to recovery. At the moment we are in a wait-and-see mode regarding whether or not we should continue to participate on the Advisory Group.

 

Washington Trout supports the long overdue development of a coordinated approach to managing wild steelhead recovery in Washington, and we appreciate and respect WDFW’s willingness to involve public stakeholders in the development of the RMP. However, to make that involvement meaningful, the Department should be willing to re-examine its pre-conceived goals and objectives, and it should not ignore the credible, substantive input it receives from the stakeholders whose advice it solicited.

 

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SEATTLE PUBLIC UTILITIES – FISH IN THE CITY

Jamie Glasgow

Director of Science & Research (Ecology)

 

Washington Trout is currently working with Seattle Public Utilities to synthesize and summarize seven years of physical and biological data regarding fish and fish habitat in five urban watersheds within the Seattle city limits. In 1999, SPU began a series of systematic fish and fish habitat assessments in Thornton, Pipers, Longfellow, Taylor and Fauntleroy Creeks. SPU recognized the value of using physical and biological data to direct surface and storm water management strategies within the Seattle’s streams, and contracted Washington Trout to conduct annual surveys to collect and analyze fish and fish habitat data in the study streams.

 

SPU has used Washington Trout data to identify and implement a variety of in stream habitat improvement projects, address water quality and fish passage problems, and launch a significant effort to better understand the Coho pre-spawning mortality phenomenon that affects several of Seattle’s streams.

 

The report being developed by WT and SPU will summarize the information gathered since 1999, and provide opportunities to improve how Seattle can manage its watersheds while meeting drainage and fish habitat needs.  In doing so, the report will also provide a baseline against which fish population trends and the impacts of SPU management decisions and stream rehabilitation projects can be measured over time.

 

With the information provided by Washington Trout’s data collection and analysis, SPU is now working with NOAA Fisheries, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other consultants that specialize in watershed processes. The systematic collection of fish and fish habitat data to inform City infrastructure management and habitat improvement decisions sets an important precedent for cities throughout the Northwest. We hope this precedent will be observed and mimicked by other cities in the region that are trying to balance growth, quality of life, and fish-recovery decisions.

 

Washington Trout is proud to have been involved with SPU in the substantial on-the-ground data collection and analysis efforts since 1999, and we look forward to many more years of providing the City with accurate information about the fish and habitats within Seattle’s watersheds.

 

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WT FILES SUIT OVER PUGET SOUND SALMON HARVEST

Ramon Vanden Brulle

Communications Director

 

To stop current fishing management from illegally jeopardizing the recovery of Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Washington Trout joined the Salmon Spawning & Recovery Alliance, the Native Fish Society, and the Clark-Skamania Flyfishers in filing a complaint in Federal District Court on October 10 against the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

The Puget Sound Comprehensive Chinook Management Plan: Harvest Management Component, a Resource Management Plan, or RMP, was developed by Washington state and the Puget Sound tribes, and is intended to guide salmon harvest activities that impact PS Chinook until 2010. PS Chinook have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1999. NOAA Fisheries violated the ESA when it improperly granted ESA-approval of the RMP in 2004.

 

We think NOAA erred in approving the RMP in at least several ways.  The RMP does not meet the criteria NOAA Fisheries set in 2000 for approving salmon-harvest plans. PS Chinook are caught in fisheries in Canada, Alaska, the Washington coast, and in Puget Sound, and when the catch is combined from all fisheries, the total harvest is too high for the listed salmon to recover. NOAA Fisheries failed to consider or impose changes in fishing practices, locations, seasons, gear, or methods as reasonable and prudent alternatives.

 

In 2002 NOAA Fisheries’ own Puget Sound Technical Recovery Team (TRT) issued criteria for determining the viability of individual populations of PS Chinook. However, the abundance targets developed for the harvest plan are often less than one-tenth of the TRT goals.

 

Even using the inappropriate abundance-targets, NOAA acknowledges that currently approved harvest rates are too high to allow recovery for important populations of PS Chinook in the Cedar, Nooksack, Skagit, Skykomish, and some HoodCanalRivers. NOAA acknowledged that many of the current harvest rates were based on “policy considerations” rather than biological factors. The current harvest plan allows “incidental” impacts up to 76% on listed Chinook populations when hatchery or other unlisted salmon are targeted, and would even allow some listed populations to be directly targeted for harvest.

 

Besides all that, new information obligates NOAA Fisheries to re-open its evaluation. Data released in August 2006 demonstrates that impacts from Canadian fisheries on PS Chinook are much higher than previously believed.  The ESA requires the federal agency to re-initiate its evaluation processes when new information shows that impacts on a listed animal are greater than expected.

 

Washington Trout and its co-plaintiffs respect and acknowledge Tribal rights to fish for salmon, and we support existing treaty obligations and NOAA regulations that offer strong protection for Tribal fishing rights. But impacts from Canadian and non-tribal US fisheries can be reduced while still honoring treaties with Native Americans. NOAA does have the ability and responsibility to regulate non-tribal fisheries to avoid jeopardizing Chinook recovery.

 

We are asking the court to order NOAA to withdraw its approval of the RMP and develop more appropriate salmon-harvest regulation.

 

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POSTER CONTEST HELPS PROMOTE RECOVERY OF ICICLE CREEK

Casey Ralston

Education Coordinator

 

Ryan Cooper

Washington Trout staff and volunteers hosted the “Happy Salmon Homecoming Poster Contest” at the Wenatchee River Salmon Festival at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery from September 28thOctober 1st, 2006. The Washington Trout booth, transformed into an outdoor art studio, buzzed with activity as children of all ages painted posters depicting how happy wild salmon will be when they can finally return to their natal home of Icicle Creek. The contest was a tremendous success and a great time was had by all who participated.

 

This year’s winner was 5-year-old Ryan Cooper from Cashmere, WA.  Ryan’s painting was selected from almost 500 entries from children under 12 and he was awarded a $100 gift certificate for McDee’s Art Center in Wenatchee.

 

Washington Trout will use Ryan’s winning artwork to develop a poster that celebrates and promotes ongoing and new developments to restore full and unencumbered passage for wild Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout in Icicle Creek. Diversion dams and other in stream structures associated with the Leavenworth hatchery have blocked wild fish from returning to historical habitats for over 60 years. Ryan’s poster will be on display at WT’s booth during the 2007 festival, and his depiction of a happy salmon returning to pristine habitat will inspire others to help preserve Icicle Creek’s wild fish.

 

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FALL EDUCATION PROGRAMS - LEARNING ABOUT WATERSHEDS

Casey Ralston

Education Coordinator

 

Washington Trout’s Environmental Discovery Program kicked off its fifth year of providing exciting education programs for elementary school students. This fall, approximately 150 third, fourth, and fifth grade students from Duvall and Carnation all learned hands-on lessons about protecting and conserving healthy ecosystems.

 

Unknown artist/author from Stillwater Elementary’s 4th grade class

The success and popularity of the water-quality curriculum continued to increase this season. Teachers are excited about the class, how it fosters critical thinking and allows students to study issues in science, math, and social studies simultaneously.  The water-quality unit includes a basic review of the water cycle and watershed functions, and a discussion of point and non-point source pollution. Students identify different human activities that impact aquatic ecosystems, and in the field they collect water samples and conduct chemical tests to determine if the SnoqualmieRiver is a healthy home for salmon and other aquatic organisms. The students work together to collect, share, and analyze data, and to consider creatively what “healthy” really means.  The kids are asking great questions and we’ve had some interesting discussions about wetlands, flooding, and dead zones. We want the kids to make connections between what they are learning in school and real-life environmental issues in the Puget Sound region.

 

A lot of dedicated people help make this program a reality. Many thanks to our field instructors Brooke Alford, Barb Bruell, Aileen Ponio, Kate Reedy, Katy Shipe, and Cindy Uthus.  We’d also like to thank the teachers who make time to bring their classes out to Oxbow Farm this fall, Judy Harris (Eagle Rock Multiage School), Krista Clowers, Pat Morrison, and Jerry Price (Stillwater Elementary), and Suzanne Boroughs (Duvall Christian School)- thanks again for your commitment to environmental education and we look forward to seeing you again next year.

 

For more information about the Environmental Discovery Program, visit the WT website  or contact WT’s Education Coordinator Casey Ralston by email or at 425-788-1167.

 

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VOLUNTEER NOTES

Aileen Ponio

 

In the winter of 2005 I took Issues in Environmental Science 201 at Bellevue Community College, a class that changed my life.  When I transferred to the University of Washington that spring, I declared my major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Science, Technology, and the Environment, and I began looking for opportunities to get field experience.  In spring 2006 I began working at the Washington Trout Store where I got a chance to help WT fundraising and participate in outreach to the local community.  Another bonus to the job is the opportunity to volunteer on projects, and I have gotten to go out on a few.

 

 

Aileen Ponio

I got to carry water, inspect juvenile fish, and record data for a study monitoring the effectiveness of a new pump facility on Cherry Creek in the Snoqualmie Valley. The pump is operated by an agricultural district to drain areas of the Cherry Creek floodplain for pasturage  Washington Trout was trying to determine whether or not the installation of “fish friendly” screw impeller pumps and a modified gate system was providing better and safer fish passage for juvenile and adult salmon and trout.  We knew that the original pump imposed high mortality rates on fish passing through the facility, but no studies had tested the effects of the new pump.  It was interesting to take part in the actual research to test a new technology, and to analyze the costs and benefits for the landowners and fish populations affected by the old and new pumps.

 

Cherry Creek showed me how field research is conducted, but when I went to Whidbey Island I received my real introduction to life out in the field.  I filled in for a few days on the Whidbey near shore fish survey, pulling nets, determining water salinity, identifying fish (more like learning how to identify fish), and really learning how to work with a crew.  The research will influence future conservation and restoration efforts for Whidbey Island’s western near shore; it was fascinating and incredibly satisfying to be a part of it.

 

The Engineered Log Jam Study was the first project I participated in for a consistent period of time.  The study reintroduced the idea and importance of log jams for habitat formation and stabilizing banks of rivers.  I gained a deeper appreciation of the jams as we had to climb in and out of them trying to find the tags that track the wood and monitor the changes of the river.  It was a first-rate experience to wade down the river and glance down into the deep pools formed underneath the log jams, and to see giant Chinook salmon stacked up waiting to spawn.

 

Being out in the field has been a new adventure each time.  I have jumped out of the boat a little to soon, gotten stuck in knee deep mud, lost the bottom of my boot, peeled off some bark on a log only to find a group of bees underneath, and dropped my pencil down a log jam, but all of this made the experiences real.  It was not just about conducting research; it was also knowing that this research will help us protect and conserve wildlife and habitat for the future.

 

I want to express nothing but admiration for the WT biologists, ecologists, scientists and the field crew who work incredibly hard on these projects for years at a time.  My utmost gratitude goes to the crews for taking me along and being such excellent teachers.  I’m currently honing my skills at mud sliding and getting into a boat without help.  I would go back out in a heartbeat. 

 

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STAFF UPDATES

 

Goodbye to Outreach and Development Coordinator Kristen Durance

 

In October, Kristen left her position at WT to accept a research position at an environmental consulting firm. Throughout Kristen’s tenure as Outreach and Development Coordinator she worked tirelessly with the research and advocacy staff to inform WT members and the general public about WT’s mission, projects, and activities.

 

Kristen organized WT’s successful participation at events throughout the region, including the Stillaguamish Festival of the River, Wenatchee River Salmon Festival and the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. She played a key role in the success of WT’s annual Wild Fish Soiree.

 

Washington Trout wishes Kristen every success as she moves on to an exciting new phase of her career. We have no doubt she will continue to make a valuable contribution wherever she goes.

 

Welcome Aboard Tyler Cluverius, Outreach & Development Coordinator

 

Tyler was hired in October 2006 as WT’s Outreach & Development Coordinator. Tyler comes to us from Washington, DC where he was an executive at an internationally recognized trade association, managing complex education, outreach and development projects. He plans to focus on increasing WT’s visibility to the general public, broadening the membership and expanding WT’s capacity through fundraising. Tyler understands the critical link between outreach and education, and he looks forward to working closely with the WT education team throughout the year.

 

Tyler and his wife moved to Seattle in 2004, relocating from suburban Washington DC. He says that for a newcomer, the Puget Sound Region is awesomely beautiful, and he’s anxious to use his professional outreach, development, and marketing skills to help protect and recover Washington’s wild fish.

 

 “This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference,” says Tyler. “I know that sounds cliché but as an avid outdoorsman and fly fisherman, I’ve always wanted to work for a conservation organization.”

 

Tyler grew up boating and fishing on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, seeing firsthand the sad consequences of the abuse and exploitation of that watershed.  Since moving to Washington, he has quickly learned about the plight of this region’s wild fish and their ecosystems.

 

“I identify with the urgency and sense of purpose that the team here at WT brings to their work,” he says. 

Tyler holds a BA in History from Saint Mary's College of Maryland and an MA in Irish Studies from The Catholic University of America.

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