Considering that agricultural lands comprise 37 percent of our state and represent approximately 74 percent of water use state-wide, it’s no surprise that agriculture plays a significant role in the recovery of Washington’s salmon. Approximately 37,000 farms cover 15.7 million acres and produce more than 200 commodities, such as apples, milk, hay, berries and Christmas trees. More than half of these farms are smaller than fifty acres, while others are large corporate entities. Large and small farms combined provide thousands of jobs and contribute billions of dollars to our state’s economy.
Unfortunately, agricultural activities sometimes contribute to the degradation of water quality and reduction of water quantity; both of these can significantly affect salmonid habitat. Activities which remove riparian habitat along streams, or that add excessive amounts of nutrients and silt to water, contribute to the increasing numbers of water bodies not meeting water quality standards. These activities also play a role in the listing of several salmon, steelhead and trout populations as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Most existing state and federal laws and regulations dealing with agricultural practices apply incentive-based approaches and rely largely on providing technical and financial assistance to farmers. Most program delivery is through local Conservation Districts in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Washington State Conservation Commission provides grant funds to the Districts to implement local conservation practices, and NRCS staff provides technical assistance to private landowners. They also join with Conservation District staff to help landowners develop management plans that protect resources, as well as the landowner’s economic interests.
In addition, the State Conservation Commission funds a variety of water quality projects using state Centennial Clean Water funds. These projects are implemented by local Conservation Districts. The Department of Ecology also funds agricultural water quality and quantity projects.
· Improve farm and sector-based practices to provide the water quality, water quantity, and functional riparian habitat needed for salmon recovery in the agricultural sector.
· Revise the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) to provide the tools needed to enhance, restore and protect habitat for fish and to address state water quality standards.
· Ensure that there is thorough stakeholder participation in the process of revising the Field Office Technical Guides under the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with state and federal resource agencies.
· Raise the awareness and understanding in the agricultural community of salmon recovery and watershed health, and build support for the agricultural strategy and its implementation.
· Support agricultural organizations’ and associations’ efforts to implement the agricultural strategy and to help communities and general public understand and support this effort.
· Fully implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and expand its scope to include tree fruit, berries and grapes.
The agricultural strategy builds on the infrastructure used for the last 40 years to implement conservation practices on farms. This system has relied on voluntary actions and incentives, with technical assistance and cost-share money provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service and state Conservation Districts. The Strategy will encourage comprehensive programs in those areas most in need of protection and restoration.
The first priority of the strategy is to review and, if necessary, upgrade the conservation practices currently used by the Conservation District — Natural Resource Conservation Service partnership. These standards will address water quality and fish habitat on farms and are designed to provide upgraded conservation standards that meet Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements. Conservation Districts and the Natural Resource Conservation Service will use these to develop farm plans that will be the mechanism used to address water and fish habitat quality. Federal and state programs will be used to provide technical assistance and cost-share money to help farmers implement the practices. The program will use conservation practices from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s updated Field Office Technical Guide. A second component of this effort is a guidance document to assist irrigation districts in developing comprehensive plans that address their ESA-related concerns. This effort is known as the “Agriculture, Fish and Water” (AFW) forum.
A second cornerstone of the strategy is implementation of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The program is a joint effort between Washington state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restore fisheries habitat on private agricultural lands adjacent to depressed or critical salmon streams. The program has $250 million in funding, enough to restore between 3,000 and 4,000 miles of degraded riparian habitat.
The strategy also relies on a commitment by the state to enforce existing environmental laws and regulatory programs. It includes better tracking and accountability than in the past and calls for monitoring and adaptive management. Benchmarks will be set to measure success, and if they are not met within three years the state will seek new authority from the Legislature to ensure salmon protection in agricultural areas.
The strategy also encourages sector-based approaches such as commodity groups or irrigation districts developing Habitat Conservation Plans. The state will provide technical and funding support to groups developing these comprehensive commitments.
The Conservation Districts and NRCS will implement monitoring at the local level. The state Conservation Commission will develop a statewide database to track implementation by watershed, or Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA), region or statewide. An oversight committee will develop a process to assess the success of implementation.
An effectiveness monitoring system will be designed to ensure conservation practices are working. This will be part of an overall monitoring strategy used by the state to measure success in providing clean water and good physical habitat.
Roughly half the land area in Washington, about 21 million acres, is covered by forests. Nearly 12 million of these are non-federal forest lands owned by large and small private landowners and the state of Washington, and managed primarily for timber production. Forest management practices on these state and private lands have been regulated since 1974 under the State Forest Practices Act, administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with rules co-adopted by the Forest Practices Board and the Department of Ecology.
Most salmon-bearing streams in Washington have their headwaters, and in many cases a majority of their watersheds, in forested areas. Studies have consistently shown that streams flowing from forested areas are healthier than streams flowing from agricultural lands or developed areas. On the other hand, forest management activities such as road building and timber harvest near streams or on steep or unstable areas can damage fish habitat and water quality. Impacts from these forest practices are among those contributing to the listing or proposed listing of some salmon runs.
Protecting water quality and fish habitat has always been an objective of forest practices regulations. Since 1986, state, tribal, environmental, citizen and industry leaders concerned about forest management on state and private lands have formed a consensus-based negotiating forum known as Timber, Fish and Wildlife (TFW), which has developed scientifically-based proposals for new regulations. The listings of salmon runs as threatened or endangered prompted TFW participants, with the addition of federal and county representatives, to launch in 1997 a new round of negotiations. Participants sought to create strengthened regulations and other measures necessary to meet fish conservation requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA), while maintaining a viable timber industry and providing long-term regulatory certainty.
The Joint Natural Resources Cabinet requested the Forest Practices Board in 1997 to transmit its salmon and water package (originally termed the “Forestry Module” and now known as Forest and Fish Report) for inclusion as the forest habitat component of the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon.
Negotiations took place until September, 1998 through Timber, Fish and Wildlife, and continued after then with all participants except representatives of environmental organizations. Forestry Module negotiations resulted in the Forest and Fish Report submitted to the Forest Practices Board and the Governor’s Salmon Recovery office on February 22, 1999. The report was finalized on April 29, 1999 and is now an integral part of the implementation of the statewide strategy.
The 1999 Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2091 (ESHB 2091),
“An Act Relating to forest practices as they affect the recovery of salmon and other aquatic resources.” Section 101 of states that the Act:
“Constitutes a comprehensive and coordinated program to provide substantial and sufficient contributions to salmon recovery and water quality enhancement in areas impacted by forest practices and are intended to fully satisfy the requirements of the endangered species act with respect to incidental take of salmon and other aquatic resources and the Clean Water Act with respect to nonpoint source pollution attributable to forest practices.”
The Act establishes legislative direction to the Forest Practices Board for using the Forest and Fish Report to protect salmon habitat and water quality.
· Strengthen regulations to restore and maintain habitat to support healthy, harvestable quantities of fish.
· Strengthen regulations and other measures necessary to meet fish conservation requirements of the Endangered Species Act, as well as water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.
· Maintain a viable timber industry and provide long-term regulatory certainty.
The Forest and Fish Report and ESHB 2091 are designed to deal with the following topics:
· Riparian protection for fish habitat and non-fish habitat streams
· Mandatory improvements for existing and new roads
· Protection for unstable slopes
· Application to small landowners
· Use and modification of watershed analysis
· Adaptive management
· Overall funding
· Assurances and certainty associated with the agreement
Specific objectives are being developed for each of those listed above.
The Forest Practices Board is authorized by ESHB 2091 to take immediate action by declaring emergency rules to put several of the Forest and Fish recommendations into effect until permanent rules are adopted. The Joint Natural Resources Cabinet expects the Board will take this action in late 1999 or early 2000, with final rules ready for adoption on or before June 30, 2000.
Implementation of the Forest and Fish recommendations will rely heavily on Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping and data processes to better protect and monitor public resources. Transportation, water typing and wetlands mapping and data layers will assist forest managers in fully evaluating forestry impacts on salmon.
Developing conservation strategies for riparian areas, unstable slopes and wetlands will be the primary but not exclusive focus for achieving forest goals.
Riparian areas will be protected through buffers and limits on management activities along fish and non-fish habitat streams. Specific requirements vary in western and eastern Washington, but ecological functions of the streamside habitat are the primary focus. A new system of water typing will be employed, designating streams according to availability of fish habitat rather than fish presence.
The number of new roads built in riparian areas will be minimized, and construction and maintenance standards for all new and existing roads will be improved. For existing roads, enhanced best management practices will be adopted immediately and road maintenance and abandonment plans will become mandatory. New roads will be built according to improved sediment and water delivery standards, and new culverts will be required to meet a 100-year flood standard to ensure passage of fish and some woody debris. No new roads will be allowed in bogs or low nutrient fens.
The Department of Natural Resources and the Timber, Fish and Wildlife participants will screen all forest practices applications to identify and address hazardous unstable slopes.
Watershed Analysis will be revised to address technical upgrades necessary for compliance with the Clean Water Act.
A program for small forest landowners was created to achieve full riparian protection and to provide financial incentives to small landowners who volunteer to participate in the Forestry Riparian Easement Program. The program does not provide an exemption to small landowners, except those with fewer than 20 acres in a parcel and fewer than 80 acres statewide. It is intended to help assure the viability of non-industrial forest landowners and keep forest land base in forestry.
A Small Forest Landowner Office was created by the 1999 legislature to administer the Forest Riparian Easement Program, and to assist small landowners with development of options and alternate plans. The Office is required to evaluate the cumulative impacts of alternate plans on essential functions within the watershed and make any necessary adjustments. An advisory committee was established to assist the office.
The objective is to achieve a “no net loss” of forested wetlands functions by avoiding or minimizing forest practices impacts or by restoring affected wetlands.
Timber harvest in bogs is not allowed. The required wetlands mitigation sequence will be determined based on loss of wetland function, site management plans, and maps of all forested wetlands — regardless of size — that are associated with an affected riparian management zone. For the long-term, through the adaptive management process, a technical group will be convened to better define the functions of forested wetlands, to evaluate their regeneration and recovery capacity, and to evaluate the effectiveness of current wetlands management zones.
Landowners will map all forested wetlands associated with riparian areas and other forested wetlands three acres or larger. In addition, the Department of Natural Resources will incorporate wetlands into a Geographic Information System (GIS) map layer, depending on availability of funding.
The use of pesticides will be managed to meet water quality standards and label requirements and to avoid harm to riparian vegetation.
Best management practices will be implemented to eliminate direct entry of pesticides to water. A variable buffer width will be used to keep pesticides out of water and wetlands. In unfavorable wind conditions, no aerial spraying will be allowed in a specified wider buffer. With few exceptions, no spray will be allowed in the no-touch zones or inner zones or to wetland management zones. In addition, no aerial applications will be allowed within the area of the inner zone used to meet the basal area and tree density targets. Use of BT is subject to label requirements.
Adaptive management is critical to implementation of an agreement in areas where knowledge is currently limited and requirements may need to evolve through time. Forests and Fish will employ a more formal and structured process than has been used in the past for monitoring, research and adaptive management to ensure accountability.
Four primary relationships will be monitored: correlation between target forest conditions and goal attainment, effect of forest practices on forest conditions, effect of forest practices on other resource objectives, and enforcement (on-the-ground implementation of forest practices.) The Forest Practices Board will be involved in the process, and a multi-staged dispute resolution mechanism could be triggered if necessary. A key component of adaptive management is Timber, Fish and Wildlife’s ongoing Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research program (CMER), which incorporates the scientific foundation for forest practices.
Forests and Fish differs from some other elements of the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon that rely on voluntary or incentive-based approaches to achieve desired
outcomes. In the case of forest practices, objectives have been pursued since 1974 through the statewide regulatory program embodied in the Forest Practices Act and evolving forest practices rules. The new rules and other features of the Forests and Fish report will become in effect the default mechanisms. In addition, the proposal includes adaptive management measures to ensure objectives are met over time. Finally, federal regulatory agencies will implement their authorities to require ongoing achievement of the Forests and Fish report’s goals.
Population growth experienced in Washington in the past 30 years has taken a toll on the state’s environment and natural resources. The population increase has profoundly affected our natural resources, and impacts associated with development have drastically altered many natural habitats critical for salmon survival.
Urbanization has significantly affected small streams, riparian corridors and associated wetlands. A great percentage of spawning and rearing habitats in estuaries, wetlands and streams have been eliminated or degraded. The cumulative effects from years of human disturbance will take many years to turn around. The on-going challenge will be developing and implementing strategies in urban and rural areas to protect and restore habitat while accommodating population growth, and addressing economic viability in light of restrictions anticipated for salmon recovery.
The primary tools for regulating land development are the Shoreline Management Act and the Growth Management Act, supplemented by the State Environmental Policy Act. There are other state, federal and local laws and regulations that apply to various land use activities.
Several of these laws establish a shared responsibility between various local governments, between the state and local governments, and with tribal governments. In addition, there is a wide range of governmental entities and authorities with a role in land use and environmental decisions.
The current condition of many salmon populations suggests that most plans, programs and regulations are not yet fulfilling their goals to protect and preserve natural resources and the environment. Current knowledge and understanding of salmon protection and recovery requires that state and local plans and regulations be updated to include the best available science. In some instances, more restrictive regulations and/or economic incentives must be enacted to protect, preserve and restore salmon habitat. In many other cases, more effective implementation, mitigation, enforcement and rigorous monitoring of current regulations are required.
To effectively respond to the threat to salmon runs, land use issues must be addressed at the same time as other specific factors such as harvest, hatcheries and hydropower. No single governmental agency or private party will be able to solve this problem on its own. State, local and tribal governments and citizens must work together in a coordinated manner to change those land use practices that have the most detrimental impacts on salmon.
· Protect and restore fish habitat by avoiding and/or mitigating site specific and cumulative negative impacts of continuing growth and development.
· All counties and cities will revise their Growth Management Act (GMA) plans and regulations by September 1, 2002, to include the best available science and give special consideration to the protection of salmon.
· Ensure implementation of land use practices that protect habitat and/or have no detrimental impacts on salmon habitat.
· Focus state and local land use and salmon recovery efforts first in areas with Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings and areas with potential for high quality habitat.
· Promote the use of local incentives and non-regulatory programs to protect and restore wetlands, estuaries and streamside riparian habitat.
Counties and cities are required on a five-year cycle to review and, if needed, amend their comprehensive plans and development regulations to conform to the requirements of the Growth Management Act (GMA) and the Shoreline Management Act (SMA). In addition, all Critical Areas Ordinances must be developed using the best available science and give special consideration to the protection and conservation of salmon.
These requirements provide an excellent opportunity for local governments to upgrade the quality of GMA and SMA plans, programs and regulations. They also provide a higher level of protection of natural resources and remove or address any uncertainties local governments and private landowners face under the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. The state will provide guidelines for locals to use in meeting these requirements. The first review and revision of plans and regulations must be completed by September 1, 2002.
The state will seek collaborative decision-making and will provide incentives to encourage voluntary efforts, recognizing that there are minimum expectations that must be met. It will rely on better implementation and enforcement of existing laws to prevent continuation of land use practices that have negative impacts on salmon. Where gaps in existing laws are identified, new regulatory authorities will be sought.
Our state’s growing population has led to development that replaces vegetation, removes or destroys soil, changes surface drainage patterns, and covers the land with impervious surfaces. While we can reverse some of the effects of these developments, it is not feasible to undo many of them, such as replacing soil or removing roads and buildings.
It is therefore important that remaining high quality habitat is preserved, protection measures undertaken, and restoration and enhancement efforts begun. State and local governments will consider the following policy guidance when making land use decisions, reviewing and approving plans, adopting regulations and permitting developments:
· Preserve high quality habitat and salmon populations through various methods of land conservation.
· Protect aquatic ecosystems by using, enforcing and improving current laws, rules, guidance and incentives for planning, designing, constructing and maintaining new development and redevelopment.
· Restore or enhance degraded and impacted habitat
While local, state, federal and tribal governments are combining their efforts and resources to address the critical needs of salmon, interim measures must be taken immediately to prevent further harm to the species:
· Use the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) to specifically address salmon issues.
· Use existing permitting requirements, such as shoreline conditional permits, to protect habitat and mitigate project impacts.
· Fund preservation and restoration projects.
· Offer financial incentives to private landowners for preservation of critical areas.
· The state will adopt new shoreline guidelines based on scientific information, designed to protect and enhance shorelines’ natural functions and values. Proposed key features include establishing vegetation management areas along all shorelines of the state, and increasing shoreline stabilization by restricting new, and removing existing unnecessary, shoreline armoring.
· The state will update procedural criteria to provide guidance on inclusion of best available science in critical areas ordinances and giving special consideration to salmon protection and conservation. These guidelines will assist counties and cities in making land use decisions and eventually reduce the number of legal appeals.
· The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Priority Habitat and Species Program will be used to provide important information on fish, wildlife and habitat to landowners, land use planners, elected officials and other decision-makers. WDFW will assist local governments in identifying land use activities likely to affect critical fish habitat and will recommend measures to preserve or enhance fisheries.
· State agencies will provide model ordinances to help local governments address fish habitat protection and enhancement when in-filling urban areas, conserving rural lands and reducing natural hazards.
· Update and ensure implementation of stormwater management programs (see Managing Urban Stormwater to Protect Streams chapter).
· Revise floodplain management planning and funding criteria to reduce damages to life and property, save public money, improve water quality, restore habitat, and improve aesthetics and recreation. Coordinate and integrate flood management with other planning and regulatory programs.
· Use collaborative decision-making and improved scientific tools to link transportation planning with land use decisions and salmon recovery.
· Support additional funding of local and state activities.
· State agencies will provide other technical and financial assistance to local governments on use of non-regulatory programs, such as use of open space taxation, which offers property tax relief to private landowners who preserve important natural resources.
· Coordinate state, regional and watershed plans and programs with related local programs.
· State, federal and local governments, tribes and private entities will coordinate salmon recovery efforts and focus priorities on those areas with listings and potential listings and high population growth.
· State will link salmon-related funds to local regulations by giving a preference to cities and counties that have taken actions that benefit salmon recovery efforts.
· The state will provide funds for local and state implementation monitoring and enforcement programs with clear expectations of results, and consequences if state agencies and local governments do not meet the expectations.
· Withhold capital facility construction funds from jurisdictions that have not adopted Critical Areas Ordinances that include best available science. Withhold funds for infrastructure and economic developments that could potentially harm salmon or delay recovery efforts.
· Local governments that fail to implement programs and regulations that include best available science and give special consideration for salmon protection and restoration will not be eligible to receive certain protections granted under the Endangered Species Act.
Monitoring is an essential element of the strategy. The state will do the following to assure that state and local actions achieve the expected results:
· Develop benchmarks; monitor and publish progress in the Governor’s State of the Salmon Report.
· Incorporate monitoring and reporting programs into contracts for salmon-related grants.
· Continue to support and enhance data and information programs, such as the limiting factors analysis, and use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to help local governments assess the impacts of existing and future land use decisions, evaluate cumulative impacts and trends, and make appropriate changes in land use practices.
· Implement default actions. State agencies will use their permitting, plans approval, and funding approval authorities and legal appeals to stop or restrict developments if local governments fail to meet the requirements to 1) review and update plans and regulations by September 1, 2002; 2) use best available science; 3) give special consideration to salmon protection and conservation; and/or 4) if no progress is made toward protection and restoration objectives.
Studies show that increased surface flow of stormwater caused by land development has contributed to degraded salmon habitat. It’s generally more effective and less expensive to prevent urban stormwater impacts on habitat than to retrofit existing development. Degradation of habitat from urban stormwater can be prevented or minimized by preserving high quality habitat or restricting where development occurs. Stormwater management programs and practices are only partially able to offset the degradation of salmon habitat caused by development. Retrofitting or upgrading stormwater facilities can be very expensive, take years to implement, and in most cases will not fully restore the habitat that existed prior to development.
The principal tools currently used by state and local governments to prevent or mitigate the negative impacts of urban stormwater on salmon habitat are either not fulfilling their goals to protect and preserve habitat or are not fully implemented. These tools are:
· The Growth Management Act (GMA) and Shoreline Management Act (SMA) — the implementation of both acts has not focused on stormwater management as a priority. They have not yet been sufficiently effective in preventing stormwater impacts from new development by controlling the geographic extent, location and intensity of development that degrades streams, wetlands and estuaries.
· The Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan (PSWQMP) stormwater provisions — these apply only to Puget Sound, are essentially voluntary, and as of July 1998 have been fully adopted by only 31% of the affected local governments. The guidance provided to local governments in the current Puget Sound Stormwater Manual, particularly flow control requirements, is outdated and inadequate to protect salmon habitat.
· The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit program — The NPDES stormwater permit program is a regulatory tool for urbanized areas under the Clean Water Act (CWA), designed to achieve both water quality and salmon habitat objectives. The permit requirements currently apply only to Seattle and Tacoma and the unincorporated areas of Snohomish, King, Pierce and Clark counties. The requirements do not apply to all storm drainage systems within those areas.
· The Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit program — The program covers the review and approval of development projects that affect stream flows. However, the program has not been effective in monitoring and preventing cumulative impacts of stormwater on salmon habitat.
Setting priorities for stormwater management to protect and restore urban streams and estuaries is necessary and must be done at the watershed level. A potential model for setting stormwater management priorities within the context of local watershed management has been developed and is being used by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
Financial and technical assistance is provided through many state and federal programs as incentives for watershed management, habitat protection and restoration. Although some technical and financial assistance for development of stormwater management programs has been available from the state, substantial funding needs related to local stormwater management are not yet addressed or are only partially addressed. Transportation projects include significant costs to mitigate impacts from stormwater. An estimated 5% of state and federal highway construction funds are being spent on stormwater conveyance and treatment systems and related items, such as land acquisition. Additional funding has been provided by the 1999 legislature to WSDOT for stormwater.
· Prevent negative impacts on salmon habitat and water quality caused by urban land development and changes in stormwater flow.
· Mitigate impacts of urban stormwater and restore habitat where impacts occur.
· Prevent urban stormwater impacts on salmon habitat by preserving remaining high quality habitat, based on a priority system for streams, wetlands and estuaries in urban and urbanizing areas.
· Use growth management planning tools to control where and to what extent development is allowed.
· Encourage and support all cities and counties within the Puget Sound region, and in other areas of the state where urban stormwater contributes to the decline of salmon, to adopt and implement stormwater management programs.
· Research, demonstrate and implement improved designs for new land development and redevelopment that will prevent urban stormwater impacts on salmon habitat.
· Retrofit stormwater controls for existing development and rehabilitate streams in priority areas as needed to reduce stormwater impacts on critical salmon habitat.
· The Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (DCTED), the Department of Ecology (Ecology), and the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team (PSWQAT) will use financial incentives and technical assistance to promote local governments’ adoption and implementation of the stormwater program elements of the Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan (PSWQMP). Programs which maximize salmon habitat protection and restoration, and which are consistent with local watershed management priorities, will have funds directed to them from existing grants and loans.
· The state, using financial and technical assistance, will encourage local watershed management processes to identify high quality habitat for preservation or protection through a variety of means, such as purchase of development rights or conservation easements, and will establish priorities for habitat restoration.
· The state will work with federal and local governments to identify new funding as an incentive to implement and enforce local stormwater management programs and ordinances that are adopted and consistent with the PSWQMP. Overall priorities for salmon recovery and priorities identified through local watershed management processes or adopted by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board will be the drivers for identifying specific funding needs and for making funding allocation decisions.
· Transportation projects impact salmon habitat by increasing stormwater runoff. Funding is being provided to mitigate the environmental impacts of road construction, to retrofit and upgrade stormwater controls associated with state highways and roads and local transportation projects.
· Current local authority and options for funding stormwater programs need to be expanded. For example, the statutory authority of regional and local jurisdictions to establish and fund stormwater utilities and stormwater management activities needs to be clarified.
· Ecology will enhance technical assistance on stormwater management to local jurisdictions within the Puget Sound Basin and will begin providing technical assistance outside the Puget Sound area. This is contingent upon additional funding for technical staff.
· State and local governments will collaborate to seek and coordinate federal, state and local funding to support research and demonstrate the effectiveness of best management practices for stormwater, including building and site development practices. Opportunities for funding coordination include the Centennial Clean Water Fund, Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, and others.
A key in the strategy for urban stormwater is to improve state guidance and regulatory tools so they are accepted by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as measures of the adequacy of stormwater management programs in relation to salmon recovery and ESA requirements. Over the next year the state will be working on the activities described below:
· DCTED will develop guidance to local governments on land development practices and growth constraints necessary to preserve salmon habitat and prevent stormwater impacts.
· The Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team will upgrade the elements of local stormwater program in the Puget Sound Water Quality Management Plan (PSWQMP) by July 2000. Local governments in the Puget Sound Basin will have two years to make their stormwater programs consistent with the amended plan.
· Ecology will improve and update the stormwater technical manual and will expand its scope to include guidance for areas of the state outside the Puget Sound Basin. After the manual is updated in the year 2000, local governments will have two years to make their stormwater programs consistent with the manual.
· Ecology will strengthen NPDES permit requirements and enforcement to incorporate standards for new development; require commitments to retrofitting in priority areas and to operation and maintenance of stormwater facilities; and to implement new expanded federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements and enforce where appropriate.
· The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will improve the Hydraulic Project Approval program’s capability to monitor and prevent cumulative impacts from projects affecting stream flows.
· Where the basic or comprehensive PSWQMP stormwater programs have not been adopted by local jurisdictions as scheduled, state agencies will consider which state authorities and regulatory tools should be applied and enforced to protect salmon habitat.
Adoption and implementation of local stormwater programs consistent with or equivalent to the PSWQMP and compliance with NPDES stormwater permits will be monitored. The effectiveness of stormwater management practices, particularly new practices, will also need to be monitored.
After evaluating progress in achieving urban stormwater objectives as of September, 2002, the state will pursue the following actions for jurisdictions that have failed to implement stormwater programs and, outside the Puget Sound region, where stormwater has been identified as a limiting factor:
· Mandate the adoption and implementation of the basic PSWQMP stormwater program elements. This will require expanding NPDES stormwater permit requirements to apply to any jurisdictions within Puget Sound or to jurisdictions outside Puget Sound that have not adopted or implemented local basic stormwater programs as called for in the Strategy.
· Propose legislation amending the Shoreline Management Act or Growth Management Act (GMA).
· Further strengthen state water quality standards to incorporate additional biological and physical criteria.
· Amend the Washington Uniform Building Code to incorporate building and site design standards and construction specifications.
Lack of stream flow to sustain healthy production levels is a key factor contributing to the poor status of wild fish stocks. Streams and rivers in several basins used by salmon are over-appropriated, meaning more water is being withdrawn for uses such as irrigation, when flows are naturally low and when fish need water.
Allocation of water in the state is based on a first-come, first-served basis. To address the needs of fish and ensure that water is set aside for that purpose, instream flows are established by rule for the amount of water required by fish. However, most major development in and around water occurred before instream flows were established, making water for fish “junior” in right to pre-existing water diversions. In addition, fewer than one-third of Washington’s major rivers have had instream flows set by rule, and the few streams that have instream flows established frequently don’t meet the intended goals. For example, the existing instream flows in the Cedar River in King County are not met 81 days out of the year — and the number is increasing.
No instream flows have been set in Washington since 1985. Meanwhile, the state’s population has increased by 30% and nearly 20 salmon runs have been listed under the Endangered Species Act.
· Retain or provide adequate amounts of water to protect and restore fish habitat.
· Establish instream flows for watersheds that support important fish stocks.
· Protect and/or restore instream flows by keeping existing flows and putting water back into streams where flows are diminished by existing uses — especially illegal or wasteful uses or by poor land use practices.
Ensuring adequate water for fish requires a collaborative, incentive-based approach, taking immediate actions where needed, using strong enforcement of current regulations, ongoing monitoring, and implementing default actions when collaborative efforts fall short of expectations. This will be done within a priority framework based on fish stock status, water availability and conditions, and population growth. In addition, where gaps or legal conflicts with the goals exist, appropriate legislative solutions will be actively pursued.
Instream flows will be established, protected and restored as follows:
Flows will be established in priority watersheds with ESA listings and in watersheds with healthy fish stocks and high population growth pressure.
· Review and revision of existing instream flow rules, including closures, will be a lower priority, but will be accomplished within a set schedule, focusing first where flows are inadequate.
· Until instream flows are set, either no new water rights will be issued (except for public health and safety emergencies) or interim instream flows will be set. Groundwater connected with surface water will be treated as a surface water source, subject to the same restrictions.
Flows will be protected through effective monitoring and enforcement of established instream flows.
· Future water right permits and changes to water rights, if approved, will be conditioned with instream flows.
· Stream gauges will be monitored to determine when instream flows are not being met. Instream flows will be protected by regulating affected water rights when the flows are not met.
· Enforcement against illegal uses and restriction of withdrawals from exempt wells contributing to flow problems will be implemented.
Flows will be restored through a variety of means to put water back in streams.
· Flow restoration will be the primary objective in watersheds where flows are diminished by existing uses.
· Each watershed supporting listed fish stocks will have in place a comprehensive strategy for restoring instream flows.
· Innovative tools, such as water banking, will be explored and supported as appropriate.
· Applications for grants of public funds for fish screening, diversion passage correction, water conservation, etc., will receive priority where the project includes a return of water for instream flows.
· Public leasing or purchasing of senior water rights for instream flows will be pursued aggressively.
· Water conservation and water reuse will be emphasized to augment stream flows and reduce the demand on streams and groundwater.
· State approvals for hydropower projects will be conditioned with instream flow releases. (See Hydropower and Fish: Pursuing Opportunities chapter.)
· Enforcement will be carried out against unauthorized diversions, unauthorized uses and waste of water.
62 WATER RESOURCE INVENTORY AREAS (WRIAs)
32 Walla Walla
2 San Juan
33 Lower Snake
3 Lower Skagit-Samish
4 Upper Skagit
35 Middle Snake
36 Esquatzel Coulee
37 Lower Yakima
53 Lower Lake Roosevelt
22 Lower Chehalis
54 Lower Spokane
23 Upper Chehalis
39 Upper Yakima
55 Little Spokane
41 Lower Crab
57 Middle Spokane
42 Grand Coulee
58 Middle Lake Roosevelt
43 Upper Crab-Wilson
44 Moses Coulee
29 Wind-White Salmon
61 Upper Lake Roosevelt
62 Pend Oreille
Locally based collaborative watershed management efforts will be supported if they address establishing, protecting and/or restoring instream flows within a reasonable time.
· Solutions will be tailored specifically for each watershed.
· Deference will be given to collaborative watershed management efforts to establish, protect and restore instream flows, but not if delays risk the extinction of wild salmonids.
Certain requirements, intended to apply in all watersheds with ESA listings or potential listings, will be implemented first in the highest priority watersheds. The requirements include:
· Metering and reporting of diversions and withdrawals by all water users.
· Implementation of water conservation and use of reclaimed water where feasible.
· Strategic enforcement against illegal uses (including wastage).
Immediate actions will be pursued on a priority basis:
· To avoid further decline in fish stocks, the state will collaborate with local groups to identify and implement actions that need to be taken immediately.
· Immediate actions could include restricting use of exempt wells, enforcing against excessive waste of water and illegal water uses, and requiring strict water conservation measures and water use standards.
The state will closely monitor the progress of both its own efforts and that of local watershed groups developing solutions to instream flow problems. Performance indicators to be tracked and reported include:
· Number of watersheds (Water Resources Inventory Areas - WRIAs) with instream flows established by rule.
· Number of watersheds with instream flow protection and/or restoration programs implemented.
· Number of watersheds with adequate instream flows (i.e., meeting the needs of fish).
· Default actions will be identified and used when a local collaborative process fails or is unable to address the establishment, protection and restoration of instream flows in a timely manner.
· Default actions could include closing or withdrawing basins from further appropriation, restricting the use of exempt wells, mandating the implementation of water conservation and water use efficiency practices, and pursuit of additional state, federal and local regulatory avenues where appropriate.
Many Washington waters are not clean enough to meet standards for water and sediment quality and are causing harm to salmon. Although municipal wastewater and industrial discharges require increasingly intense treatment under the Clean Water Act (CWA), many water bodies still fail to meet standards. Point and nonpoint sources of pollution, individually and in combination, affect aquatic resources, especially fish. Pollution sources include agriculture, forestry, stormwater and municipal discharges, as well as runoff that carries bacteria, toxins and excess nutrients.
Washington is currently launching two significant and parallel environmental initiatives: development of a statewide plan for salmon recovery and development of cleanup plans for polluted water bodies. These two initiatives are governed by separate federal acts — the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) — that have historically been powerful tools for change, with varying degrees of success. The two acts have seldom been applied concurrently to the same activity or issue. But because water quality and habitat conditions are largely governed by human activities, it is imperative that the state and federal agencies administer these laws and develop the salmon recovery and water cleanup plans in a coordinated, consistent and complementary fashion.
The federal Clean Water Act requires the state to establish standards for specific pollutants in water bodies, prepare a list of water bodies that do not meet water quality standards, and develop water cleanup plans, or Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL), for each of the polluted water bodies. The implementation of these requirements is critical to protection and restoration of salmon habitat.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of Washington were sued for allegedly not making satisfactory progress in assessing water quality and developing water cleanup plans. The plaintiffs and the agencies negotiated a settlement agreement and consent decree that was filed in federal court in January, 1998.
The primary outcome of the settlement was the establishment of a schedule for the state to develop and begin implementing cleanup plans for each of the nearly 670 marine and freshwater bodies identified on the state’s 1996 pollution list.
The cleanup plans, or TMDLs, are a calculation of the capacity of a water body to assimilate pollution without violating water quality standards, and an allocation of that capacity to various point and nonpoint discharges. Implementation plans to achieve reductions that address timing and methods of pollution control, tracking, monitoring and adaptive management are required.
The majority of the cleanup plans will address pollutants that adversely affect salmonids, including toxics, as well as more common pollutants such as elevated temperature and depleted oxygen.
· Restore and protect water quality to meet the needs of salmon.
· Revise and implement water quality standards to respond to aquatic ecosystem needs.
· Implement water cleanup plans for water bodies in ESA listed areas first.
· Implement nonpoint source “best management practices,” and nonpoint action plans.
· State and federal agencies will integrate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) to offer agencies and landowners a predictable, practical and coordinated process to meet the needs of both laws.
Ensuring clean water for fish requires agreement on a common set of performance measures (e.g., water quality standards), implementation of conservation practices through regulatory and voluntary actions, and monitoring.
Water quality standards
· The state will adopt, collaboratively with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), revised surface water quality standards.
· The state will implement the revised standards, relying on water cleanup plans, waste discharge permits, nonpoint pollution action plans, enforcement and funding.
· The state will accelerate the development and implementation of water cleanup plans for water bodies listed under ESA and CWA. This will be done in conjunction with other watershed planning efforts underway at state and local levels, including planning under the Watershed Planning Act.
· The majority of cleanup plans will address pollutants that adversely affect salmon such as elevated water temperature and sediments. Priority will be given to development of water cleanup plans that protect salmon.
· To implement the cleanup plans the state will rely primarily on existing regulatory and voluntary programs, such as waste discharge permits, programs for cleaning up contaminated sediments, nonpoint source “best management practices,” inspections and enforcement. Existing water quality programs will be better focused and enhanced to implement cleanup plans and improve water quality.
· Additional funding to implement the settlement agreement is needed. Ecology will continue to work with legislative committee members, their staffs and consultants, as well as other agencies and stakeholders, to identify and resolve program and funding concerns.
· The state will finalize and submit to EPA and to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Washington’s Nonpoint Management Plan as required by the Clean Water Act and Coastal Zone Act reauthorization.
· The state will enhance the implementation of nonpoint source “best management practices” by state and local governments and private landowners to ensure a focus on and a commitment to meeting water quality standards.
· The state will encourage voluntary activities to address water quality problems. Immediate corrective and compliance actions will be taken by the state where appropriate.
ESA and CWA integration
· The focus will be on reaching a commitment of certainty for landowners and governmental agencies under the ESA and CWA. Certainty will require agreement on the goals, science-based criteria and targets, timeframes for implementation, and results expected.
· The state departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, and Natural Resources will continue discussions with regional representatives from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and with tribes to examine the issues, develop options and identify solutions for integration of ESA and CWA.
· The Governor’s Office will seek agreement from the White House Administration with the solutions reached regionally. Ecology and other state agencies will implement the agreements reached regarding ESA and CWA integration.
The state will:
· Track progress toward implementation and resolution of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act integration issues.
· Continue to conduct ambient monitoring and perform water quality assessments every two years, or as required by EPA, using its own data and other available data, to determine compliance with water quality standards.
· Along with local governments, identify and implement opportunities for enhancements to existing water quality programs to improve and prevent degraded water quality.
· Annually track the development and completion of cleanup plans against the targets set in the settlement agreement.
· Conduct effectiveness monitoring to evaluate the success of water cleanup implementation strategies in meeting water quality standards. If progress toward meeting water quality standards is inadequate, the implementation strategies will be evaluated and revised.
Should the state not develop the required water cleanup plans, the default is for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement the required plans.
If the ESA and CWA integration issues are not satisfactorily resolved, the state would likely lose support for completing the water cleanup plans. The plans would then be developed by the federal EPA. If satisfactory progress is not made, it is also likely that further legal action would be pursued by the plaintiffs in federal court.
Salmon need access to spawning and rearing habitat. More than 100 years of human development in Washington’s rivers and streams has created numerous physical barriers, interrupting adult and juvenile salmonid migrations in many watersheds. Barriers include culverts, diversion dams, debris jams, dikes, stream gradient, and other human-caused stream changes.
There are approximately 170,000 miles of public and private roads in the state. Only a fraction of these roads have been inventoried for fish passage barriers, and most of the inventories that have been completed are not prioritized from a watershed perspective.
Design of barrier corrections is site specific. There is limited availability of individuals with the expertise to organize and conduct fish passage inventory, design and construction.
Funding for barrier correction in the past has been insufficient to address the problem. The median barrier correction cost is approximately $100,000. It will take time and funding to correct the multitude of barriers around the state; however, barrier corrections and screening programs are being implemented by state, federal and local governments, as well as private landowners.
· Ensure that usable or restorable habitat is accessible to wild salmon by removing existing barriers, preventing creation of new barriers, and screening all diversions.
· Complete watershed-based inventories and prioritization of fish passage problems.
· Correct existing barriers and screen diversions and prevent new passage problems.
· Create a comprehensive long-term funding strategy that uses federal, state, local and private dedicated funds and project mitigation funds to expand correction programs and monitor effectiveness of those programs.
· Use volunteer-based organizations where appropriate to gain the best use of limited funds.
· Develop better understanding of fish passage needs, especially juvenile salmon migration habits and needs.
· Integrate fish passage and screening activities into implementation of watershed planning and other planning and restoration efforts.
Although barrier correction programs are in place, a comprehensive program is needed to better understand the extent of the problem, to determine the priority of addressing fish passage versus other limiting factors in a particular watershed, and to monitor the effectiveness of barrier correction programs. To assure that the goal is met, the following actions will be taken:
Watershed-based inventory and prioritization:
· Use the manual recently completed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) that details the protocol for locating, assessing and prioritizing barriers, and for conveying the necessary information to WDFW for incorporation into a centralized database.
· Expand inventory and prioritization of barriers on state lands and facilities (i.e., state highways).
· Support fish passage inventory and prioritization efforts by counties and cities.
· Implement the element of the Forest and Fish Report which calls for inventory and assessment of barriers caused by forest roads. Fish passage concerns will also be included in the state Forest Practices Rules.
· Complete the limiting factors analysis for watersheds within the seven Salmon Recovery Regions.
· Continue to collect information and data on known and potential barrier and screening problems and locate them on a Geographic Information System (GIS).
State actions for correcting and preventing fish passage problems:
Address correction and prevention of fish passage problems comprehensively.
· The state will collaborate with the tribes, federal and local governments, irrigation districts, public utility districts and private landowners to identify, correct and/or remove human-caused fish passage and screening problems in freshwater, floodplain and estuarine habitats. The effort will also include continuous monitoring and maintenance of existing structures. This effort will be integrated into existing watershed management efforts.
Standardize fish passage design.
· WDFW engineers have completed a design manual. The agency will facilitate training and technical assistance to those conducting design work on fish passage barrier corrections.
Better understand fish passage and screening needs.
· Continue ongoing training and education programs to make professionals aware of current fish passage and screening statutes, barrier identification, prioritization and design criteria.
Advance knowledge about juvenile migration and design flows for passage.
· Culverts that are currently designed for adult migration may be insufficient for juvenile migration. For some species, little is known about the needs and extent of upstream movement and timing of juvenile salmonids. This knowledge is essential to the design of a comprehensive recovery strategy and determination of design flows for passage. To increase potential for success, juvenile passage design standards need to be developed and additional design options made available to those designing and conducting passage correction work.
Enhance efforts to streamline permitting process.
· House Bill 2879 passed in the 1998 legislative session allows permit streamlining for salmon habitat recovery projects, enabling some projects to move forward quickly. (See Permit Streamlining chapter.)
Use volunteers to support state and local efforts.
· The state and its partners must promote correction efforts through the direct involvement of citizens who live and work within watersheds. The state will enlist volunteers and coordinate programs that involve hands-on salmon restoration efforts combining stream restoration with barrier removal and fish screening.
Use of enforcement and incentives.
· The state will cost-share installation of screens to reduce hardships to landowners. Projects integrated with other watershed efforts may receive additional priority. A regulatory approach will be used in cases where harm to salmon is evident and the landowner resists compliance.
Implement a comprehensive funding strategy.
· State and federal funding has been provided for fish passage barrier identification and removal. State and federal funding will be coordinated and targeted through the newly created Salmon Recovery Funding Board to address priorities. Funding for a fish passage correction program on state facilities (WSDOT highways and roads) provided by the legislature will be also coordinated.
Monitoring the success of barrier removal projects has had little attention. Baseline and post-correction data must be collected and analyzed through an established funded program. The monitoring program will include the following:
· Establish a procedure for review of corrected problems and progress of correction programs to ensure effectiveness.
· Sample corrected barriers to determine upstream and downstream migration by adults and juveniles and sample screened diversions to ensure fish protection.
· Standardize fish barrier and diversion databases, coordinate data collection and centralized data access, and coordinate work among watershed planners, road managers, resource agencies, tribes and non-governmental organizations within watersheds. The priorities of all barriers and diversions can be compared and the most cost-effective projects done first.
· Develop and maintain a GIS-based, Internet accessible database of fish blockages and diversions statewide.
Fish harvest management plays a critical role in developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy for protecting and restoring wild salmon. Greater harvest controls are being undertaken to complement habitat protection and restoration efforts. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and northwest treaty Indian tribes developed the Wild Salmonid Policy (WSP) to provide leadership and a commitment to fish management that ensures sufficient wild spawners escape fisheries and reach spawning grounds. In addition, the Pacific Fishery Management Council in 1998 adopted a revised Salmon Management Plan, affecting stocks in California, Oregon and Washington that strengthened requirements for stock status monitoring and put in place strict rules for preventing overfishing, and correcting overfishing when it occurs. Regional state-tribal fishery management plans throughout the state are being reviewed and revised in order to implement harvest and hatchery management plans consistent with wild salmonid recovery.
Many Washington salmon populations are abundant and have surplus production that can be harvested to support the many commercial, cultural, economic and recreational benefits and values traditional in the Pacific Northwest. We must ensure that, while pursuing those healthy, harvestable fish, harvest occurs in ways that minimize impacts on depleted populations and provide adequate spawning populations. For example, the presence of adipose-clipped hatchery steelhead, coho and chinook in fisheries can and are providing the ability to selectively harvest hatchery fish with lower impacts to wild fish.
Still, we must be mindful that it’s not necessarily how many fish that spawn (though there clearly must be adequate numbers of spawners), but how many adults are produced from those spawners that determines whether fish populations will rebuild. Where habitat productivity and access are adequate and the genetic resources of the wild population have been maintained, sufficient numbers of wild spawners to the stream will recover wild stock abundance. However, where habitat is poor, providing an adequate number of spawners may not be as important as increasing the productivity of those spawners in their habitat. For this reason, it is vital that harvest management and habitat management be closely linked.
To allow sufficient numbers of wild spawners to escape harvest, managers use a variety of tools to determine the total estimated run size and the allowable numbers of fish that can be caught. The key to sound harvest management is the ability to: 1) target harvest on wild stocks with surplus production, and 2) produce and harvest hatchery fish in ways that protect weaker stocks until their productivity improves. Recent actions to improve harvest management include:
· Comprehensive management planning by the state and Puget Sound tribes to develop a species management framework for coho, with accompanying guidelines on exploitation rates and fishery regimes. This is one of the first salmon species activities in Washington to incorporate harvest, hatchery and habitat issues into one comprehensive plan.
· State and tribal staffs are currently developing a Comprehensive Chinook Management Plan for Puget Sound. This framework will provide the basis for the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a “4(d) rule” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that authorizes and limits “take” that will actively support the recovery of Puget Sound chinook under ESA and further rebuild runs to levels that will provide sustainable harvest opportunities. A comprehensive review and development of appropriate fishery impact guidelines is a cornerstone of this effort.
· U.S. — Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty: In 1998 the “Locke/Anderson Agreement” between Washington and Canada broke through a major impasse in the Pacific Salmon Treaty process by striking an agreement that: (1) reduced impacts on Fraser River coho; (2) reduced impacts on Puget Sound chinook; (3) will provide Canadian support for Washington’s mass marking and selective fisheries initiative; and (4) provides for a more active collaboration between the two countries in planning annual fisheries to protect depleted salmon populations. This breakthrough was followed in 1999 by newly renegotiated fishing agreements between the two countries. The new annex significantly reduces Canadian chinook fishery impacts on Puget Sound stocks from the treaty’s original provisions in 1985, and establishes for the first time an abundance-based approach for determining Canadian coho harvests.
· The “U.S. vs. Oregon Columbia River Fisheries Management Plan” is currently being reviewed and negotiated by the states, tribes and federal government to implement appropriate changes in harvest and hatchery approaches.
· Fisheries that differentially harvest healthy stocks or species have been expanded from past years. The first use of the adipose-clipped mass marking for marine coho salmon sport fisheries occurred in 1998 in the Columbia River and adjacent marine area. In 1999 these selective recreational coho fisheries were expanded to all Washington ocean areas, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and South Puget Sound.
· In 1998 and 1999, most chinook retention was prohibited in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and northern Puget Sound fisheries because hatchery and wild fish could not be differentiated.
· Puget Sound commercial sockeye fisheries in 1998 were constrained to limit impacts on other species, notably chinook. These limitations continue in 1999 with new fishing measures required to reduce release mortalities by non-Indian purse seine fishers and a log book program implemented in non-Indian commercial fisheries, verified by WDFW on-water bycatch monitoring efforts.
· Commercial salmon fishery restructuring: WDFW, in cooperation with NMFS, completed a $4.5 million salmon license buyback program in 1998 that continued to address the over-capitalization in Washington’s commercial fishing industry. The program retired 391 licenses, representing a 17% reduction in current Puget Sound licenses. Furthermore, as a result of recent Pacific Salmon Treaty renegotiations, WDFW and the commercial stakeholders are poised to further reduce the commercial fleet to a sustainable level.
· WDFW, as mandated in ESHB 1309 and SB6150, recently completed an evaluation of the capacity of current and alternative fishing methods and gears to release non-target species with low mortality and transform fishing methods to become more selective in protecting depleted species and stocks. They’ve also completed a report assessing the current status of resident fish resources, major activities and accomplishments, and noting problems and strategies to address in the future.
Many forces drive how the state manages fisheries harvest, including state policies, court orders, treaties, and annual fish harvest negotiations. Significant reforms have, and are continuing to take place to accommodate needs of wild fish. WDFW, tribes and federal fish managers will continue to work together to ensure all elements of protection and recovery are integrated to produce long-term resource health.
· To protect, restore and enhance the productivity and diversity of wild salmonids and their ecosystems to sustain ceremonial subsistence, commercial, and recreational fisheries; non-consumptive fish benefits; and other related cultural and ecological values.
· Stewardship of salmonid populations will be the first priority in managing the resource.
· Status and productivity of wild salmonid populations and their habitats will be regularly monitored to evaluate the performance of protection and recovery actions.
· Fishery approaches will be implemented and evaluated to protect depleted populations while providing more stable and sustainable access to healthy species and stocks.
· Commercial and recreational fisheries will continue to be restructured to improve their stability, management and profitability.
· Washington will work with Canadian, tribal, federal and other state managers to resolve the inter-jurisdictional impediments to salmon recovery.
The Wild Salmonid Policy (WSP) provides the blueprint for ensuring fish population management meets the needs of wild fish. Significant policy guidance is provided in the WSP covering spawner escapement, genetic diversity, ecological interactions, incidental catch and use of selective fisheries.
New activities in harvest management define the changing face of fishery management, and describe how WDFW intends to meet the obligations outlined in the Wild Salmonid Policy.
Short-term implementation will revolve around ESA compliance and WSP objectives, and includes:
· Initial frameworks and associated ESA 4(d) rule proposals for harvest, hatcheries and assessment activities will be completed in 1999 for Puget Sound chinook and Hood Canal/Strait of Juan de Fuca summer chum in cooperation with NMFS and the tribes. The harvest, hatchery and assessment elements of watershed recovery plans will be completed in 2000 for Nooksack, Dungeness and Elwha chinook within Puget Sound. These plans/rules will include specific limitations on harvest impacts for listed stocks.
· During 1999 and 2000, transitional management plans will be completed for lower Columbia River coho and chinook, Willapa Bay coho and chinook, Nooksack coho, and South Puget Sound coho that outline specific timelines for specific harvest and hatchery actions that will meet the intent of the Wild Salmonid Policy.
· Implementation of chinook mass marking will continue during 1999 and 2000 for major portions of Washington. Selective fisheries will be implemented for marked hatchery coho. A comprehensive coho management plan will be fully evaluated for adoption.
· The commercial license buyback begun in 1998 will be continued and expanded with plans developed for additional license reduction, depending on funding.
· Incentives and opportunities for selective commercial fisheries will be implemented in several areas throughout the state; as funding is available, effectiveness of new approaches will be evaluated through increased bycatch monitoring.
· The Salmon and Steelhead Stock Inventory (SaSSI) will be updated. Plans will be implemented to link habitat inventory and assessment data with population status information through an integrated Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Information and Assessment Project (SSHIAP)/SaSSI system.
Long-term actions include restructuring recreational and commercial fisheries to increase the ability to protect depleted stocks and species while improving sustainable access to hatchery fish and healthy species. New statewide smolt monitoring and habitat inventory programs will provide the tools to measure performance of specific habitat, hydropower, harvest and hatchery actions.
Effective monitoring and evaluation is necessary to track progress toward recovery goals. Progress in recovery ultimately will be determined by the abundance of naturally produced salmonids in functional ecosystems that are well adapted and have high reproductive performance. Fish managers have a variety of tools available for evaluating stock status and rebuilding. Two basic monitoring elements are annual counts of adult spawner abundance relative to the spawner escapement goals, and measures of stock productivity, such as the number of fish from a particular stock that is harvested and the numbers of juvenile fish produced. Updates of the Salmon Stock Inventory (SaSI) provide another essential tool to measure the progress and effectiveness of harvest management changes.
In addition, recovery progress can be measured by the reduction of risks and hazards identified in the Wild Salmonid Policy and other recovery and comprehensive management plans. For example, if the size and age decline of salmonids is being caused by fishing practices, then management changes which reduce the pressures for decline can be monitored by the reduced risk to stocks where those management actions have taken place. Also, changes and responses to harvest management actions among populations could be measured by protecting some populations from effects of harvest using a “sanctuary” approach.
Key components for measurement are:
· Accurate catch and bycatch accounting;
· Enumeration of spawners;
· Differentiation of hatchery and wild origin fish in fisheries and on the spawning grounds;
· Measurements of juvenile and adult freshwater and marine survival/production;
· Adequate coded wire tag sampling; and
· Evaluation of genetic characteristics.
Specific actions in all monitoring and evaluation categories have been developed and include:
· identify a sufficient number of natural production monitoring sites in each ESU
· review SASSI designations and determine additional data needs
· monitor fishery impacts on populations and associated biological characteristics
· review the effectiveness of existing recovery programs
· establish spawning goals for stocks in all areas that have existing or recoverable habitat
· assess the watershed distribution of juveniles and adults
· examine the diversity of genetics and life-history characteristics
· compare program modification pace with timelines
· annual determination of changes in the stock status of wild fish populations statewide (SaSI update)
· annual reviews of recovery program effectiveness toward goal of ending the need for a particular activity
· contrast stock status with recovery plan expectations
· determine if changes in stock life-history attributes lead to increased productivity
· evaluate the effectiveness of targeted fisheries providing harvest while protecting certain stocks
· examine the freshwater productivity and marine survival of selected wild stocks
· examine the reproductive success of adults produced through recovery programs
· determine if harvest rate changes are sufficient to meet rebuilding time frames
· ascertain if fishery benefits have changed due to wild stock recovery efforts
· evaluate the harvest rate and distribution information provided from coded wire tag indicator stock or other programs
If strategies designed to protect and/or restore wild salmonids are not successful, then alternative actions need to be taken. The type of response must be directed at those factors limiting recovery. For instance, if a fishery management action has had its expected effect but spawning populations are not increasing because habitat productivity is degraded, the need for more effective habitat protection and/or restoration strategies would be indicated. This highlights the critical need to implement and evaluate integrated harvest, hatchery and habitat actions where cause and effect responses can be measured.
In any case, the default actions outlined below assume that the harvest or monitoring action is not having its desired effect or is not being implemented as planned. The magnitude of response is related to the level of risk and uncertainty of meeting desired recovery objectives. In many cases, severe harvest restrictions already have been implemented and the only alternative available for increased protection would be complete closure. If state and tribal managers did not meet their commitments and obligations as outlined in this chapter, the most severe consequence would occur in areas affected by ESA listings. In these areas, actions by the fishery managers would not be in compliance with associated take permits or exemptions. These permits or allowances presumably would be relinquished until the fishery managers implemented and enforced the appropriate restrictions or closures. In addition to federal oversight, fishery monitoring and evaluation information will be readily available for an open public review of performance.
The Wild Salmonid Policy requires continual performance monitoring and adjustments of spawning escapement goals to ensure that they are appropriate for maintaining healthy, self-sustaining populations of wild salmonids, given necessary habitat conditions. If the goals are not meeting this intent, then they will be modified accordingly and management plans adopted to ensure compliance, including further fishery restrictions or closures, if appropriate. In cases where major changes are being made to past escapement goals (i.e., changing from hatchery to wild harvest rates), an implementation plan and schedule will be adopted. If monitoring indicates genetic selection is impeding achievement of objectives, then modification to fishery regulations will be implemented as appropriate. Changes in hatchery and habitat management strategies may also be indicated.
Both the Wild Salmonid Policy and legislative mandate require mass marking of hatchery fish to ensure performance assessment of hatchery management guidelines and provide for selective fishery opportunities. If these marking programs cannot be successfully implemented, then: (a) hatchery programs to augment salmon harvest will likely be modified or discontinued; (b) programs to coded-wire tag hatchery fish to estimate fishery exploitation rates and survival of wild stocks will be re-evaluated if hatchery releases are reduced or discontinued in some areas; and (c) recreational and non-Indian commercial fisheries that rely on hatchery chinook and coho will be limited by their ability to selectively harvest available hatchery fish in the absence of a mass mark.
If WDFW and others are unable to monitor responses in fish population abundance, biological characteristics, habitat quality and quantity, and ecosystem health, then a sound foundation will not exist for evaluating performance of recovery programs. The consequence of this could be severe restrictions of all activities affecting fish population status, including land and water use, harvest, hatcheries and hydropower. Strict regulations would replace adaptive management strategies.
If impacts to depleted stocks cannot be assessed, specific non-treaty fisheries will be appropriately restricted, depending on a resource risk and uncertainty assessment to be completed by WDFW. Alternatively, available harvest opportunities will be preferentially allocated to those fisheries that have adequate monitoring or the least risk of not meeting management objectives.
WDFW will continue to regulate and restrict fishing opportunities consistent with stock protection needs and prevailing harvest approaches. WDFW is working with representatives from the non-treaty fishing industry for collaborative development of expanded selective fishery methods.
Hatchery management plays a critical role in the development of a comprehensive strategy for protecting and restoring our state’s fish resources. All “4 Hs” — Habitat, Harvest, Hatcheries and Hydropower — must be managed in concert to reach the Salmon Strategy’s goal of protecting and recovering wild fish. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and western Washington treaty tribes developed the Wild Salmonid Policy to provide leadership and a commitment to fish management that ensures hatcheries are operated in ways that are “fish friendly.” WDFW, the Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Tribes, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ensure harvest and hatcheries are managed to conserve and recover wild salmonids. The Joint Natural Resource Cabinet will focus on outstanding habitat and hydropower issues, and will closely monitor hatchery management to make sure it is consistent with concurrent efforts to improve and restore habitat conditions.
The early objective of most fish management programs was to maximize consumptive use of the resource — similar to an agricultural model of “crops.” Fish not harvested were considered a “wasted” resource. Because managers lacked basic life history and genetic information, efforts at using hatchery fish to increase natural populations had little success. Those that were successful probably had some negative effects on any naturally spawning populations existing in the same habitat. During this time, hatcheries were promoted as effective substitutes for natural fish habitat, leading to complacent attitudes about habitat conservation and large-scale habitat degradation.
Today, managers recognize the importance of wild salmonid stocks and attention is focused on specific hatchery practices and related fish management objectives. Improved protection and recovery of wild stocks is now the goal of hatchery management actions. Many forces drive how the state manages hatcheries, including state policies, court orders, treaties, mitigation agreements, and annual harvest negotiations. Significant reforms have occurred recently to achieve the new goals of hatchery management, including:
· WDFW and tribes are conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the hatchery program. The results will be used to ensure hatcheries are managed consistent with wild salmon protection and to increase the survival and contribution of cultured fish to fisheries.
· Federal, state and tribal co-managers, often in cooperation with citizen groups, are active in many statewide, multi-regional, long-term or programmatic activities such as discontinuing releases of hatchery fish which have competed with wild salmon fry.
· Hatchery steelhead, coho and chinook are being mass marked so that fishers can identify them easily and can release unmarked wild salmon.
· Plans for rebuilding fifteen separate stocks are completed or under development.
· To protect, restore and enhance the productivity, production and diversity of wild salmonids and their ecosystems to sustain ceremonial, subsistence, commercial, and recreational fisheries, non-consumptive fish benefits, and other related cultural and ecological values.
· Hatcheries will use stable, cost-effective programs to provide significant fishery benefits.
· Wild spawner escapement will be provided.
· Genetic diversity will be conserved.
· Wild salmonid stocks will be maintained at levels that naturally sustain ecosystem processes.
WDFW and co-managers will work together using science-based, adaptive management to ensure:
· wild salmonid populations are healthy and productive at levels that permit fisheries; and
· hatchery programs and the harvest management regimes which they support are compatible with naturally self-sustaining wild salmonid populations.
Successful programs will be expanded and other programs will be reformed based on the comprehensive review currently underway.
Continuing implementation actions to improve hatchery operations and compatibility with wild stocks can be viewed in short-term and long-term time frames. The longer-term actions are those that require improvements to facilities or other capital investments, while the shorter-term efforts reflect those changes that can and will be made immediately as indicated through a variety of program reviews, recovery planning and risk assessment.
· Short-term: Hatchery releases likely will occur under some form of ESA permits or take allowances for a large share of the state (Columbia River, Puget Sound and portions of the coast) beginning in 1999. Recovery plans will identify different phases of actions that will be taken over time according to risk of inaction and implementation costs.
Similar reviews will occur in areas not listed under ESA via the hatchery programmatic review, watershed plans and revisions of state/tribal management plans. Again the short-term actions will tend to be those that address the highest risk areas and do not require immediate investment of large amounts of capital.
· Long-term: Review efforts will identify hatchery implementation actions that require significant capital investment. Examples of such actions would be construction of acclimation and adult return sites that could be used to minimize interbreeding of hatchery and wild fish; modifications to weirs or trapping facilities to allow sorting of hatchery and wild fish; or retrofitting existing hatchery facilities. These longer-term activities will be identified and prioritized according to opportunity and risk, with a schedule developed for various regions and watersheds over the next two years. It should be realistic to expect that these kinds of changes could be completely implemented over a five to ten-year period once funding is available.
Following is a brief overview of current efforts to achieve hatchery management goals:
· Stock restoration: Chinook restoration (Dungeness, White River, Nooksack, Tucannon and upper Columbia) as well as summer chum recovery in Hood Canal and pink salmon recovery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca point to the continuing future of hatcheries to help rebuild wild populations. These programs may include captive brood rearing for very critical stocks, or the more traditional forms of hatchery supplementation, such as taking eggs and planting either fry or smolts from carefully collected wild broodstock.
· Disease control: Fish and egg transfers are increasingly restricted to prevent disease transmission. Better rearing conditions and less reliance on antibiotics are now used to control fish diseases. Preventing disease by improving rearing conditions (such as reducing density), diets, and feeding practices is becoming more commonplace. These strategies help reduce the operating costs needed for disease treatment and often increase survival to the adult stage, but they also increase the production cost per fish produced by requiring more ponds to grow the same number of juvenile fish.
· Genetic issues: The value of wild fish as a genetic storehouse and the role of locally adapted populations are now better understood by fish resource managers. Guidelines direct field staff on operational issues such as utilizing methods of fertilization that help preserve as much genetic variation as possible in hatchery brood strains. Genetic risk assessment methods are currently being developed and refined as scientific knowledge advances.
· Ecological interactions: Minimizing competition between hatchery and wild fish is beneficial to both. The planting of fish at some hatcheries is now delayed prevent overlap with the out-migration of local native populations. Studies are now in progress to better understand interactions and behavioral differences between fish of the same species produced in a hatchery and in the wild (critical for addressing ESA issues). Returning hatchery salmon carcasses to the stream to provide nutrients is another example of how scientific research has pointed hatcheries in a different direction. Ten pilot projects were started in 1996. The future will include more of these projects as hatcheries become more a part of the natural cycle of aquatic life in the Northwest.
· Fishery enhancement: New tools are being developed and implemented to make programs designed to produce hatchery fish for harvest more compatible with protecting wild populations. For example, marking hatchery fish so they can be visually identified by fishers enables managers to require the release of wild fish while permitting retention of hatchery fish. In this way, wild and hatchery fish may be harvested at different rates, based on their differing levels of allowable harvest. Use of sterilized hatchery fish to support fisheries and prevent interbreeding with wild fish is also being evaluated. It is clear that maintaining fisheries for coho, chinook salmon and steelhead (especially in marine areas) will depend on our ability to selectively harvest hatchery-origin fish.
· Public outreach: Hatcheries play a vital role now and in the future as a place where citizens can be educated and involved with the fish resource. Volunteer groups often acquire fish, fish food and advice from local hatcheries (123 groups currently do so now). Thousands of school children get to touch their first salmon by visiting local hatcheries or by being involved in classroom incubation projects (more than 300 exist throughout the state). Because hatcheries are located across the state and usually in remote areas, they often serve as important contact points with the public. In this role, hatcheries will increasingly serve as places for sharing information regarding natural resources and conservation efforts.
The state, in cooperation with co-managers, will closely monitor the effectiveness of management actions and report to the Joint Natural Resource Council on the success of these hatchery strategies.
The hatchery program review will address many aspects of WDFW’s fish culture operations. The key components related to hatchery monitoring and evaluation are to: 1) identify the need and appropriateness for each fish culture activity; 2) evaluate genetic and ecological impacts to wild stocks through a thorough risk evaluation process; and 3) provide the ability to track recovery and health of wild stocks. The primary method to accomplish these components is the ability to identify hatchery origin fish. These tasks need to be coordinated with habitat monitoring locations and activities.
Hydropower facilities and other dams have had profound negative impacts on river systems and on anadromous fish. There are, unfortunately, no simple solutions to fixing hydropower projects.
More than 160 hydroelectric projects are federally licensed or being considered for licenses in Washington; twenty-two dams (not all of these are in salmon habitat) have Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses due to expire between now and 2010 and will be subject to a relicensing process. Relicensing provides the opportunity for the state and federal fish and wildlife agencies to recommend and/or require measures to mitigate the effects a hydropower facility has had on salmon.
The regional Northwest Power Planning Council, consisting of two members each from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, helps to oversee fish recovery measures in the Columbia-Snake River system. Washington’s members, together with other state agencies’ staff, are responsible for advising the Governor and meeting with constituencies on all issues pertaining to the operation of the dams. The Washington Council members are part of the Joint Natural Resources Cabinet and therefore coordinate with the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon efforts.
Outside the Columbia-Snake River system the state uses the FERC process and its own authority under the Clean Water Act to pursue modification of the operations at
federally licensed hydroelectric projects to implement salmon protection, mitigation and enhancement measures.
· Achieve no net impact for each salmonid species affected by hydropower projects.
· Restore or improve fish passage, implement less disruptive water release schedules, ensure that projects meet water quality standards, and mitigate habitat loss and degradation.
· Use the state’s existing authority to reduce and mitigate impacts of dams on fish and to prevent taking of fish under the Endangered Species Act.
· Hold hydropower project owners responsible to ensure that projects meet the goals and objectives of the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon.
· The state will oppose all proposals for new hydroelectric projects with the potential for degrading salmon habitat.
There are 22 dams — 14 projects — that will require a new license by 2010. Nine of these projects have already started the relicensing process, most of them pursuing new FERC licenses rather than Habitat Conservation Plans. The state will recommend or require conditions to restore and mitigate impacts of hydropower projects.
The relicensing of the projects is allowing the state and federal agencies to review the project as if it were a new one. The state will:
· Identify the dams which have significant impacts on anadromous fish populations and the specific problems at those dams. Specific mitigation and restoration actions will then be identified to address the impacts at each dam, based on the severity of harm to salmon.
· Collaborate with FERC and other federal agencies to assist in achieving a settlement between all parties for FERC approval.
· Encourage applicants in areas with more than one hydropower project to conduct studies at the watershed level to address cumulative impacts and to design the most effective and comprehensive environmental improvements and restoration actions.
· Recommend that fish and wildlife protection measures are included in new licenses.
· Give approval for hydropower projects with conditions for instream flow releases and provisions to meet water quality standards, especially temperature and dissolved gases.
· Object to a project that negatively affects coastal resources.
· Encourage licensees to implement interim mitigation measures during prolonged relicensing proceedings.
· Where appropriate for salmon recovery, recommend that FERC use its authority to decommission a project during the relicensing process.
· Closely monitor implementation of mitigation measures required as a condition in the license issued by FERC.
For projects not subject to relicensing for a number of years, there is no clear process to bring about changes in project operation. In areas with ESA listings or likely listings, the state will:
· Identify the dams which have significant impacts on anadromous fish and the specific problems at those dams. Specific mitigation actions will then be identified to address the impacts at each dam.
· Work with dam owners to seek voluntary implementation of mitigation and restoration measures.
· If voluntary efforts fail, petition FERC to reopen the license.
The state will closely monitor implementation of mitigation measures required as a condition in the license issued by FERC.