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Fishes with Wolves
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411 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Occupy Skagit 2014

Last April we gathered at Howard Miller Steelhead park in Rockport to show support for changing the management paradigm for wild Skagit Steelhead. Currently, all of Puget Sound Steelhead are considered by the ESA as one Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and as such are listed by them as threatened to become an endangered species.

The decision can be read here:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2007-05-11/pdf/E7-9089.pdf

The decision covers all of Puget Sound from the Elwah to the Canadian border, every piece of fresh water between these two points that dumps into the sound is affected by this listing. The health of each individual run is not considered on its own merit, but instead the entire area's steelhead are tainted with the aura of “nearing extinction”. While this may be true of many streams affected by the listing it is not true for all of them – the Skagit in particular continues to return healthy escapement numbers. These numbers can be seen to be fluctuating up and down in what many consider to be it's carrying capacity zone.

Scientists can argue over the numbers, their validity and what they mean but here they are in ten year increments:
1978 – 5,757 (the first year that I can find for WDFW escapement numbers)
1983 - 7,732
1993 - 6,900
2003 - 6,818
2013 – 8,800

The goal of Occupy Skagit is to restore the Catch and Release Steelhead season on the Skagit that used to run for Feb 1 – April 30.

In order for this season to be granted by NOAA and NMFS a basin specific Steelhead Management Plan agreed upon by all parties, WDFW and Tribes, needs to be submitted and approved.

Is it possible?
Yes!
It was done for Chinook (almost instantaneously I might add) and it can certainly be done for Steelhead.

The event last April garnered the notice that it was intended to. Believe it or not, we were actually recognized and discussed in the halls of bureaucracy. The wheel is starting to turn, but it has yet to gather it's own momentum. It needs another push!

There are two events scheduled with the meeting in Olympia being the single most important thing you could attend. Rockport is fun, but the real deal is in Olympia.

Occupy Skagit - March 29th
Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport

Occupy Skagit Commissioners Meeting - April 12th 8:30 am
Natural Resources Building
1111 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA - First Floor, Room 172
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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411 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
New Flyer

It seems there are some folks that think we are pushing for a fly fishing only C&R season.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The season we lost was conducted under the Selective Gear Rules which can be found on page 11 of the 2013-2014 WDFW Regulation Pamphlet. To save you from looking them up I have copied them for you below.

Selective Gear Rules Only unscented artificial
flies or lures with one single-point, barbless hook
are allowed. Up to a total of three artificial flies or
lures, each containing one single-point, barbless
hook may be used. Bait is prohibited; fish may
be released until the daily limit is retained. Only
knotless nets may be used to land fish except
where specifically allowed under Special Rules
for individual waters. If any fish has swallowed
the hook or is hooked in the gill, eye, or tongue,
it should be kept if legal to do so.
Attached is a new Flyer to reflect that.
 

Attachments

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Fishes with Wolves
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411 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Saturday, the 8th, Curt was on The Outdoor Line radio show discussing Occupy Skagit. Here is a link to the podcast:
http://theoutdoorline.com/podcasts/

During the event at the park I have reserved the open shelter that we used last year. As I recall it has some or one BBQ facility in case anyone is interested. There are others spread around the park also.

As I've mentioned before, the event at the park is a great time, tons of fun, and a perfect time to catch up with old friends while trying to garner some public and media attention. But the serious work of Occupy Skagit gets done in Olympia. The commissioners meeting is the one place where your voice gets heard, noticed and recorded. You get to look the movers and shakers of WDFW right in the eye and tell them what you want. These are the guys that decide and direct what gets priority in the department.

As you might guess there is an enormous amount of attention directed toward harvest opportunities statewide that keeps these commissioners occupied full time. A little ole C&R fishery up north that is shut down for no logical reason is not even on the back burner. And as far as the feds go, it is probably safe to say that it is not even in the kitchen. We can change that.

The format at the meeting is that you arrive early, fill out a quick form to be allowed to speak to them. All very formal and timed. You are allowed three minutes to say your piece. You don't have to speak for three minutes – you can give them as brief of a statement, or question, as you like.

I would also point out that speaking is NOT required. As I recall there are about 30-40 chairs in the room and lots of standing room. When I speak I am going to ask the crowd to raise a hand if their attendance is Skagit related. If you can show up and do that, it will means just as much, if not more as any statement you might make.
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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411 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
In spite of the tragedy in the next drainage over and the inclement weather we managed to have a small and determined group at the park.

The water was pristine and when the protest was over it was hard to drive away from it. Here is an article from The Skagit Valley Herald.
http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/...cle_116fea59-18c2-53cf-9efa-cf85db296487.html

The next stop on the Occupy Skagit agenda is in Olympia at the WDFW Commissioners meeting. Several of us will give testimony but it is not a requirement to attend. Just showing up in support might be the single most important thing you can do for the cause.

Commissioners Meeting - April 12th 8:30 am
Natural Resources Building
1111 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA - First Floor, Room 172
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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411 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
For those of you that were unable to attend the meeting, audio transcripts are now available. The Skagit topic begins at around the 13 minute mark and continues through our talks, a talk by Jim Scott and a couple of commissioners right to the end.

Direct link to the transcript:
http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2014/04/audio/20140411_17.m3u
 
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