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Wild Fish Runs

January/February 2005

News and Updates from Washington Trout

 

In This Issue:

 

Habitat Restoration, Research, and Program Development

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Update on the Skykomish River Braided Reach Survey

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Dike Removal Complete at the Dosewallips Estuary

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Construction Phase for Schoolhouse Creek Project Complete

 

Education & Outreach

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Fall 2004 Environmental Discovery Program

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Employees from local coffee shop donate Christmas Eve tips to WT

 

WT Updates

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Staff Updates

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Support Washington Trout – Renew your membership today!

 

Events & Volunteer Opportunities

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Save the Date – 14th Annual Wild Fish Soiree and Benefit Auction is on May 14th

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Request for Volunteers!

 

Other News

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Washington Trout Wish List – Lake Canoes needed for West Whidbey Study

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Shop the WT Store and Support Salmon Recovery

 

 

 

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, WA 98019

425-788-1167 Phone

425-788-9634 Fax

www.washingtontrout.org

wildfish@washingtontrout.org

 
 

HABITAT RESTORATION, RESEARCH AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT:

Update on the Skykomish River Braided Reach Survey  (by Eliot Drucker)

In Fall and Winter 2004, Washington Trout continued its collaboration with the Snohomish County Surface Water Management Division and R2 Resource Consultants in a major restoration assessment study of the Skykomish River’s Braided Reach, extending from the towns of Gold Bar to Sultan. The broad-ranging project, which includes topographic mapping, hydraulic modeling, and biological surveying, is designed to provide new information about the Braided Reach that will assist the prioritization of future habitat restoration opportunities. Beginning in July 2004, Washington Trout’s role in the project has been to characterize fish use within the study reach, which includes over ten miles of mainstem channel habitat and nearly seven miles of interconnected side channels.  An overview of WT’s summer survey work can be found in the September 2004 issue of Wild Fish Runs.

WT staff snorkel a side channel pool within the Skykomish River Braided Reach (December 2004).

From September to November 2004, WT crews performed surveys throughout the mainstem channel and side channel networks to determine the extent, timing, and distribution of salmon spawning activity.  Surveys were performed by boat and on foot.  Spawning chinook observed in September were replaced by chum salmon and their redds later in the Fall.  In total, hundreds of salmon redds were located and their positions were recorded using GPS.  These data will be used to develop a Skykomish Braided Reach spawning distribution map for Fall/Winter 2004.

In November and December, WT crews completed 2004 juvenile fish snorkel surveys in both mainstem and off-channel habitats.  The objective of this work was to record fish abundance and distribution within different habitat units (pools, riffles, glides), which during Fall/Winter were subsampled in proportion to their frequency of occurrence throughout the entire study reach to allow comparison with Summer surveys.  The most striking pattern emerging from this work was a pronounced seasonal variation in juvenile salmonid abundance in the river’s mainstem.  Whereas juveniles dominated fish counts in the summer, virtually no juveniles were observed during daytime surveys later in

WT Executive Director Kurt Beardslee collects a juvenile salmon within the Skykomish River Braided Reach (December 2004).

the year.  To further explore these distributional patterns, WT crews performed day-night snorkel surveys in the side channel network near the town of Startup.  This work revealed that juvenile salmonids taking cover during daylight hours emerge to feed during the night.

The results of Washington Trout’s adult and juvenile fish surveys will be summarized in a February 2005 report whose objectives are to quantify current fish-use conditions within the study reach, and to identify restoration actions with high likelihood of maximizing the creation and maintenance of preferred fish habitats.  The fish-use dataset from 2004 will also be incorporated into an interactive Web-based geographic information system in which users may query individual habitat units to obtain detailed information about fish species composition, age and abundance. (Examples of WT’s interactive on-line maps are available for viewing here.)

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Dosewallips Restoration Project kicks into high gear (by Micah Wait)

 

Americorps crew hard at work moving mulch around the Dosewallips site.

 

This Fall Washington Trout completed the first on the ground restoration actions at the Dosewallips Estuary. An 800 ft salt marsh dike was removed using a combination of light machinery and hand tools. A small excavator and shovels were used to fill wheel barrows which were wheeled and unloaded one-by-one into a tractor pulled dump trailer. Over 30 members of the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) and the Northwest Service Academy made up the backbone of the workforce, and long hard days of shoveling, wheeling, and grubbing were put in by all.  

 

Staff members Micah Wait and Dale Russell along with WCC crewmembers celebrating a job well done!

The goal of the project was to increase tidal access to a 10 acre cell of salt marsh behind the former dike. Increasing tidal access to the salt marsh will result in an increase in tidal channel development and salt marsh vegetation behind the dike. Salt marsh vegetation is a primary component of the detritus that makes up the base of the estuarine food web.  Detritus is the rotting plant matter generated by seasonal growth in the salt marsh, and sustains the rich aquatic community of the estuary. Tidal channels act as the veins and arteries of the ecosystem, transferring energy and organisms between the fringes of the salt marsh and the open waters of the Hood canal nearshore with each tidal cycle. Between their migration from natal rivers and their transition to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, juvenile salmon exploit the rich detritus-based food web of the Puget Sound nearshore almost exclusively.    

 

 

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Construction Phase for Schoolhouse Creek Complete (by Jamie Glasgow)

 

 

A relict beaver pond in the Schoolhouse Creek wetland complex.  For years, local government has removed beavers from the project site. Washington Trout designed elements into the restoration project to encourage beaver activity away from the road infrastructure and culverts and to discourage the past beaver-trapping activity.

 

Washington Trout completed the construction phase of the Schoolhouse Creek Acquisition and Restoration Project during late summer 2004.  The project goal was to restore and enhance a unique and important spring-fed wetland complex tributary to the Washougal River in Skamania County.  Project construction components included increasing the quality and quantity of the wetland by building a fishway to raise the elevation of the culvert inlet that currently drains the wetland; improving fish passage to upstream spawning and rearing habitat; and creating beaver habitat to encourage beaver activity away from County-owned roads and culverts.  Of particular interest, and testimony to the high quality of this small watershed, 1,490 freshwater mussels were observed along a 500 foot long reach of the 4 foot wide Schoolhouse Creek channel.

 

All areas disturbed during the construction phase of the project are currently being re-vegetated with native trees and shrubs, and our project effectiveness monitoring efforts have documented coho salmon already taking advantage of the restoration efforts.  Funding for the project has been provided by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, with significant matching funds from the Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group as well as local businesses and landowners.  Project partner and landowner Columbia Land Trust will monitor and steward the project site for years to come.

 

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EDUCATON & OUTREACH:

 

Environmental Discovery Program Coordinator, Casey Ralston works with a student to identify a plant.

Fall 2004 Environmental Discovery Program (by Casey Ralston)

           

The fall season of the Environmental Discovery Program was our biggest season yet; we served approximately 200 fourth and fifthgraders from six schools in Seattle and the Snoqualmie Valley.  The EDP,  which is co-sponsored by WT and Stewardship Partners, is a hands-on, classroom and field-based program.  Students learn about the importance of native plants, native animals, and healthy ecosystems. This fall we doubled in size and we are still growing! This spring, ten classes will participate.  We are also piloting a project called Windows to Discovery, which uses video footage of underwater and/or above-ground sites to provide students with a year-round, unique perspective to animal life and activity at Oxbow Farm. We look forward to reaching more students at new schools with this wonderful program.  EDP program expansion has been made possible through the vision and generous financial support of the Raven Foundation.

 

WT would like to thank all of the people who help make this program a reality.  Without volunteer support and involvement, the EDP simply would not be possible, so we would like to recognize our amazing staff instructors Barb Bruell and Selina Hunstiger and our generous volunteers; Andrea Faste, Laurel Moulton, Deloa Parrish,  Rory Ralston, and Tim Stone. Many thanks to you all for your time, energy, and hard work!

 

Students from Greenwater Elementary “swim” away from a simulated “log jam” while pretending to be salmon.  

 

We also want to thank the following teachers for their commitment to environmental education and their participation in the Fall 2004 season: Ruth Balf and Krista Canterbury (Olympic Hills Elementary), Janet Burks (View Ridge Elementary), Lisa Dunker (Greenwood Elementary), Kent Ferris and Francis White (Lafayette Elementary), Judy Harris (Eagle Rock Multiage School), and Jerry Price (Stillwater Elementary).

 

For more information about the Environmental Discovery Program, visit www.washingtontrout.org/EDP.shtml.  Are you are interested in volunteering or do you know a teacher who might want to participate in this program? We have a couple spots available in our upcoming spring programs. Contact WT’s Education Coordinator Casey Ralston at 425-788-1167 or by email at casey@washingtontrout.org.

 

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Employees Donate Christmas Eve Tips to Washington Trout

 

Peet’s Coffee employees Garrett George, April Parrish and Chris Dellinger

            While many people were running around town on last minute holiday errands, the staff at Peet’s Coffee in the Redmond Larry’s Market were hard at work collecting donations for Washington Trout.  The employees worked the crowd, distributed information about WT and in the end collected close to $400.00 dollars – more than any other local kiosk.  After a matching donation from the Peet’s Coffee corporation the total donation amount was over $700.00.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to the entire staff at Peet’s Coffee for their selfless contribution to the protection of wild fish in Washington.  If you are in the Redmond area make sure to stop by Larry’s Market and grab a cup of coffee to thank them for their hard work.

 

 

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WT UPDATES:

Casey Ralston, WT Education Coordinator

 

Casey Ralston joined Washington Trout in September ’04 to fill the newly created position of Education Coordinator.  Casey will organize and conduct the Environmental Discovery Program, WT’s primary environmental education program.  Casey develops and maintains the overall program and curriculum, leads classroom presentations and field trips, recruits and conducts outreach to participating schools, manages seasonal field staff, and develops the fundraising base for the program.

Born and raised in California, Casey earned a Bachelors degree in Ecology from University of California at Davis in 1997 was awarded a Graduate Certificate in Education, Environment, and Community from IslandWood/University of Washington Extension.  Since 1998, she has worked as a biologist for Oregon State University, Island Marine Institute, and the California Dept of Water Resources participating in research projects focusing on resource issues including water quality, invasive species, and the conservation of fish and marine mammals.

 

More recently, Casey has turned her interests to environmental education and scientific outreach.  She currently lives in Seattle, where she attends the University of Washington, completing course work towards her Masters degree in Biology for Teaching.  She is excited about expanding WT’s education programs and looks forward to developing new constituencies for Washington Trout’s mission.

 

“I’m incredibly thrilled” she says. “This is a unique opportunity to combine my training in aquatic ecology, my enthusiasm for a healthy environment, and my passion for teaching children.” 

           

Kristen Durance, WT Outreach and Development Coordinator

 

In October 2004, former WT Outreach and Development Coordinator Leah Hausman resigned to accept the position of Development Specialist at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.  In just over two years, Leah significantly expanded WT’s  outreach-profile, initiating WT’s participation in the Environmental Discovery Program, developing Wild Fish Runs and other electronic communication-projects, and organizing the annual WT Benefit Auction in 2003 and 2004. The Washington Trout staff and board want to express appreciation for Leah’s incredible work, energy, and infectious optimism. We’ll miss her, wish her the very best in her new position, and we congratulate PSC on a great catch. 

 

Speaking of great catches, in December 2005 WT welcomed Kristen Durance as WT’s new Outreach and Development Coordinator.  Originally from Michigan, Kristen moved to Washington in 1998 to attend the University of Washington and pursue degrees in Botany and Political Science. While at UW she participated in various projects researching urban restoration, invasive species, aquatic plants and closed ecological systems.  As a student lobbyist in Olympia, she worked with state legislators to help fund higher education.   Kristen joins WT after working in eastern Washington as an Americorps volunteer with WDFW, where she worked on various restoration projects and honed her rockbar skills building elk fence. 

 

“It’s very exciting to be at Washington Trout,” says Kristen. “I’m looking forward to working with the research and advocacy staffs, and informing WT members and the interested public about what we are up to, in the field, and in the bureaucratic trenches.”

 

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Help us continue the fight for wild fish – Renew your WT membership

 

In the last edition of Wild Fish Runs we introduced our new membership program.  Our transition to new membership levels and creation of the Monthly Giving Program continues to go smoothly and today is the perfect day to renew your membership!   As always there is still no minimum to join; you choose how much and how often you want to contribute to WT.  In fact the Monthly Giving Program makes supporting WT programs a snap.

As a member of the Monthly Giving Program you help provide critical support to Washington Trout by making donations on a monthly basis. You can change your donation at any time and by allowing you to spread out your donation over the year, it is even easier to give. WT can automatically process your tax-deductible credit card donation, making the whole process simpler and more convenient for you.

If you prefer making annual donations, your tax-deductible contribution at any level will give you a membership with Washington Trout. All members will receive our bi-monthly email newsletter “Wild Fish Runs,” a custom WT logo window cling, and invitations to special events including our annual Wild Fish Soiree & Benefit Auction. For more information about the benefits of different membership levels, please visit our website, call the office at 425-788-1167, or email WT Outreach and Development Coordinator Kristen Durance at kristen@washingtontrout.org.

 

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EVENTS/VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

 

Save the Date! Wild Fish Soiree and Benefit Auction to be held on May 14th, 2005

           

The 14th annual Wild Fish Soiree and Benefit Auction will return to the Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, Washington on May 14th.  Planning for the auction is in full swing and we are in need of your help to make this year a success!  We are currently accepting donations of auction items as well as volunteers to serve on the 2005 Auction Committee.   If you have any ideas or are interested in helping out please contact Kristen by email or call the WT office at 425-788-1167.

 

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Request for Volunteers – Spring 2005 Environmental Discovery Program

            Washington Trout needs volunteer instructors to help staff the Environmental Discovery Program field trips this spring. As part of the program, 4th and 5th grade students take a full day field trip to Oxbow Farms, an organic farm located between Duvall and Carnation on SR 203. On the field trip students explore the surrounding environment and learn about the importance of native plants, animals, and ecosystems. The field trips are tentatively scheduled to take place during the weeks of May 16th and May 23rd. You can volunteer for as many (or as few) of the classes as you like. All volunteers will receive plenty of personalized and group instruction to ensure your comfort with the lessons, activities, and site. The volunteer training day will likely be scheduled the first or second Saturday in May. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact WT’s Education Coordinator Casey Ralston at 425-788-1167 or by email at casey@washingtontrout.org. Thank you!

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 Kristen Durance at Kristen@washingtontrout.org if you would like to volunteer or have an event you would like mentioned in Wild Fish Runsor on the website!

 

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OTHER NEWS:

 

Washington Trout Wish List: Lake Canoes for West Whidbey Watertyping Project

            WT has recently started an exciting new research project watertyping the west coast of Whidbey Island.  The project’s objective is to determine seasonal juvenile salmonid habitat use at potential restoration and conservation sites listed in the Island County Salmon Recovery Strategy. The work will involve seine (large nets) deployment from boats and in order to access some sites, we are in need of two or more “lake” canoes.   If you or someone you know is looking to sell or donate a used lake canoe (in any condition) please contact Kristen via email or by calling the WT office at 425-788-1167.

 

Shop the WT Store and Support Salmon Recovery:
            The WT Store is a fun way to open up the front of our office and make a space where people can come in, learn about Washington Trout, and buy something with the knowledge that all proceeds go to support WT. We have been expanding our inventory, bringing in new items and product lines that we think you and your family will enjoy.
            We have a wide variety of items to appeal to adults, kids, and kids-at-heart: puppets; stuffed animals; scientific games and kits; tools to explore the outdoors; books to educate and entertain all age levels; Burt’s Bees and Bunny’s Bath personal products; art prints by Joseph Tomelleri, Tanya Hill, Jean Ferrier and Tim Harris; chocolate; candles; TOPO! map programs; yummy treats and fun gifts for your dog or cat; and of course, WT logo hats, fleece and travel coffee mugs. View some of our store items online at www.washingtontrout.org/store.shtml.
           The Washington Trout store is open Monday – Saturday from 10:00am till 5:00pm.  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.

 
Shopping Online?
            You can do your usual online shopping and help support Washington Trout by shopping through the WT shopping village at GreaterGood.com. Choose from more than 100 brand name retailers like eBay, Amazon.com, PetsMart, The Disney Store, Dell, Lands’ End and many more. Up to 15% of everything you buy benefits Washington Trout. To go directly to the WT shopping village, visit http://www.greatergood.com/partner/washingtontrout.
            WellSpent.Org is another great source for online shopping. W
ellSpent.org has thousands of products - including electronics, software, computers, tools, appliances, camping gear and much more - available at discount prices. Every purchase you make generates a donation for the non-profit cause of your choice. So visit www.wellspent.org, search for Washington Trout, and help yourself to some great gifts - you'll be helping us, too!

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