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Bush Creek Restoration

Guest column: Salmon restoration funding supports our rural economies (The Daily Astorian)

By Glenn Lamb Special to The Daily Astorian
Published on June 8, 2017 12:01AM

“The Pacific Northwest is salmon country.

On the Lower Columbia River and Pacific Coast, salmon and steelhead are key to our way of life, anchoring coastal economies, ecosystems and culture. Today, as for generations, commercial and sport fishermen feed their families and support communities through salmon harvest.

Salmon restoration efforts support the fishing industry, but also benefit other species, make our water cleaner and reduce the risk of costly floods. In short, when we protect salmon, we bolster our communities and our environment.

The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency works with states and tribes to invest in salmon and steelhead recovery work in Alaska, Washington state, Oregon, California and Idaho, contributing $1.2 billion since 2000 and leveraging $1.4 billion in matching funds. The $215 million invested in Oregon alone leverages $330 million of state Lottery funds, bringing the total to protect and enhance salmon to $545 million.

This is truly an investment, and one that provides returns.

Recreational fishing alone generates about $500 million annually in Oregon, creating 16,500 jobs, and commercial salmon fishing creates over $16 million annually and more than 900 jobs.

In addition to fishing, investing in the “restoration economy” also makes good business sense. According to the University of Oregon, every $1 million spent on habitat restoration creates 15 to 24 local jobs, and more than 90 cents of every dollar stays in Oregon communities.

The salmon recovery grant program supports locally driven actions, not regulatory directives. With the help of watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts and land trusts, landowners and local communities plant trees, replace impassable culverts and restore streambanks. Cuts to this program would be a devastating setback for a citizen-led effort to restore healthy salmon runs in Oregon.

Without continued investment like the recovery fund, salmon recovery in the Northwest will stall, hurting the economies and communities supported by salmon fishing in the long term. We hope you’ll join us in asking Congress to continue to support the recovery of our salmon.

Glenn Lamb is the executive director of Columbia Land Trust based in Vancouver, Washington, with offices in Hood River and Astoria. A nonprofit organization, Columbia Land Trust conserves and cares for the vital lands, waters and wildlife of the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships.

Read the full article here.

Duke's Chowder House

Long Live the Kings (Duke’s Chowder House)

Long Live the Kings is proud to have Duke’s support. Check out one of Duke’s locations for sustainable salmon and keep coming back for the delicious variety of seafood dishes and signature chowders. Look out for Duke’s new location in Bellevue opening soon.

“At Duke’s Chowder House, we are committed to serving the finest quality, most sustainable seafood available, with a strong focus on 100% Wild Salmon. One of the major crises facing the Pacific Northwest today is declining salmon populations in the Salish Sea. This is why I strongly support Long Live the Kings (LLTK), an organization whose mission it is to fully restore those salmon populations, while at the same time promoting scientific advancement and sustainable fisheries.”

See Duke’s entire article about Long Live the Kings here.

 

Sponsor, track steelhead as they make trek to Pacific (King 5)

Alison Morrow, KING 6:13 PM. PDT April 14, 2017.

“As juvenile steelhead make their treacherous trek through Puget Sound people can now follow individual fish on their journey to see if they survive.

The fish are tagged with acoustic transmitters like the one NOAA Fisheries Research Biologist Megan Moore implanted in a juvenile steelhead this week. It will send signals to receivers in the water so scientists know when the fish passes by.

“We don’t know why their populations have been declining,” Moore said.

Predators are just one of many challenges steelhead face on their way from rivers like the Skokomish all the way to the ocean. About 80 percent of them die along the way.

“The receiver picks up a ping from the transmitter up to 300 meters away,” Michael Schmidt said.”

Read the whole article and see the report at King 5. 

 

Alison Morrow, King 5 News

Seals, Sea Lions Studied to Track Fish Health (King 5 News)

Scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and King 5’s Alison Morrow were out looking for sea lion scat in order to better understand their diets, and whether they are consuming salmon. Work to determine whether harbor seals are consuming juvenile steelhead, a component of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, was also covered in this report. This coverage highlights work related to the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. Harbor seals and sea lions are salmon and steelhead predators in the Salish Sea. Seals and sea lions have thrived in the Salish Sea as a result of the Marine Mammal Protection Act: they have few natural predators remaining. Staple food sources for these seals and sea lions, such as forage fish, pacific cod and hake, have also declined. With rising populations and declining food sources, researches are working to identify what sort of impact they are having on salmon and steelhead populations.

A big thank you to our partners at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries, and the Nisqually Tribe for executing this research in South Puget Sound.

Watch the full story at King 5.

A History of Thinking Big

Fishers disagree about a lot of things, but they all find common ground around the fact that salmon and steelhead populations have faced a disastrous decline. In 1986, a group of salmon enthusiasts came together around this commonality and asked a question they intended to answer: could hatcheries be used to recover salmon and steelhead populations facing extinction? Current perspectives on the efficacy of hatcheries aside, at that time, this was a bold, genuine, and passionate attempt to save a priceless species and pastime for generations to come. This act marked the beginning of a more than 30-year quest to restore wild salmon and steelhead populations through an innovative nonprofit, Long Live the Kings.

LLTK Founder, Jim Youngren
LLTK founder, Jim Youngren, and his son at Glenwood Springs on Orcas Island

In 1978, Jim Youngren, a real estate entrepreneur born with a rod and reel in his hands, started raising Chinook salmon in natural ponds on his Orcas Island property, isolated from wild salmon populations which only spawn on the mainland. When asked about Jim’s success building a hatchery, his wife, Kathy Youngren, said “He dreamed it and here it is… he never ever for a second thought that this whole thing wouldn’t turn out just exactly how it has.” Jim’s think-big and make-it-work attitude has helped supplement sport and commercial fisheries from Washington to Alaska in a sustainable manner. Shortly after LLTK took over operations of the hatchery in 1986, the organization began operating two additional hatcheries: one on Wishkah River near Grays Harbor and another on Lilliwaup Creek along Hood Canal. These facilities embodied Jim’s vision by developing innovative techniques that mitigate the negative impacts of hatchery rearing on wild fish populations, and using those techniques to bring wild populations back from the brink of extinction. In Lilliwaup Creek and the Hamma Hamma River, LLTK has worked with other partners to rebuild the annual returning summer chum population from the hundreds to thousands, and have doubled the abundance of some steelhead populations.

In 1999, Congress created the Puget Sound and Coastal Washington Hatchery Reform Project, a groundbreaking effort to rethink how hatcheries can be managed to both conserve naturally spawning populations and support sustainable fisheries. With LLTK’s on-the-ground experience, Congress designated the organization as the project’s independent, third-party facilitator. The result was a comprehensive review of 200 hatchery programs, providing over 1,000 recommendations to improve their operations. This project created a paradigm shift in how hatcheries are managed in the Pacific Northwest. One of the most recognizable outcomes in Washington State has been the mass marking of nearly all hatchery fish—the removal of adipose fins–in order to easily distinguish them from wild fish. A majority of hatcheries in Washington have also instituted a series of changes to reduce the genetic impact that hatchery fish may have on wild populations.

LLTK founder, Jim Youngren.
LLTK founder, Jim Youngren.

As LLTK matured and grew as an organization, Jim’s example of bold thinking continued to influence decision-making. In 2014, LLTK and our Canadian partners, the Pacific Salmon Foundation, established the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a massive international endeavor to investigate the decline of salmon and steelhead populations in the combined waters of the Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia, and Strait of Juan de Fuca. Together, LLTK and PSF coordinate the efforts of over 60 organizations, producing research findings that are critical to saving salmon and steelhead populations threatened by extinction. Martha Kongsgaard, former chair of the Puget Sound Partnership, explains the importance of the work, “unraveling this mystery could provide answers for how to save the entire Sound.” The project, now in its third year, has mobilized over 150 scientists, established more than 80 research sites, and raised $17.5 million.

Building on the Salish Sea Marine Survival work, LLTK took on another huge challenge at the Hood Canal Bridge, the third largest floating bridge in the world. Research revealed that juvenile steelhead are dying at the bridge and that the bridge may also be effecting the canal’s water quality. LLTK has gained significant community support to address the problem by working with a team of experts to pin point how exactly the bridge may be impacting the ecosystem in order to implement solutions. It’s uncommon for a small nonprofit to attempt to address a problem involving such an enormous piece of vital infrastructure, but Jim wouldn’t back down from important challenges and neither will LLTK.

Most recently, LLTK has taken on a new challenge, launching a bold, new digital communications campaign in partnership with Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan, Inc. to bring awareness and investment to salmon and steelhead recovery. The Survive the Sound campaign allows people to connect with the wild steelhead, a species vitally important to our ecosystem and Northwest culture. By presenting the campaign as a web app, LLTK is looking to educate the next generation about the plight of salmon and steelhead by giving everyone an opportunity to sponsor and track a fish as it races to the Pacific Ocean. In its first year, the campaign is already generating important conversations in the community and catalyzing dormant salmon enthusiasts.

Thirty years of work, 1 million fish returned, over 250 partners, and more than 125 project sites: who knows if any of it would have happened without the organization’s bold, can-do thinking that Jim inspired.

LLTK will honor Jim at an annual benefit dinner, Salish Stories, on April 20th. If you would like to participate, please register here by April 15th.

Take an online trip with a real-live salmon navigating the perils of Puget Sound, and pick which one will make it out to sea first (Geekwire)

Lisa Stiffler wrote a great piece on salmon and steelhead marine survival and our Survive the Sound campaign.

“Salmon — whether being tossed between Pike Place Market fish mongers or wending their way through the locks in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood — are one the most iconic images of the Pacific Northwest.

They’re also one of the most threatened.

Since at least the 1980s, steelhead and certain salmon populations have been tanking in Puget Sound. Local steelhead alone have plummeted to less than 10 percent of their historic population size. But many people are unaware that the area’s beloved fish are in such dire straits.

Survive the Sound is a new interactive game that hopes to both educate the public about the salmons’ plight and help save the fish by raising money for essential research and environmental restoration.

“Without salmon, there is no Northwest, there is no Puget Sound and there is no home,” said Michael Schmidt, deputy director of Long Live the Kings, a nonprofit working to protect chinook or “king” salmon, and related fish. The group created Survive the Sound in partnership with Paul Allen’s Vulcan.”

Read the full article on Geekwire!

New Interactive Game Aims to Educate Public About the Plight of Wild Steelhead, Washington’s State Fish

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Lucas Hall | lhall@lltk.org | 206.382.9555 x30

Survive the Sound participants sponsor a steelhead, track it as it migrates through Puget Sound, and receive updates about the challenges their fish encounters along its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Seattle— Salmon recovery nonprofit Long Live the Kings (LLTK) has partnered with Vulcan Inc. to develop Survive the Sound, an innovative new way for people of all ages to learn about steelhead—Washington’s State Fish—and contribute to their recovery.

Survive the Sound is the first ever endurance race for wild steelhead. It uses real data, obtained from sophisticated transmitters implanted in the fish, to track steelhead’s migration from release points in south Puget Sound and Hood Canal to the Pacific Ocean.

From now until May 7, Survive the Sound participants can sponsor the fish of their choice with a minimum $25 donation. Beginning on May 8, sponsors will watch as their fish embark on a harrowing 12-day journey—avoiding predators, fighting disease, and navigating obstacles—on their way to the Pacific.

Email and text alerts will signal to sponsors when their steelhead have made it beyond important milestones, and even when the fish have perished due to any of the myriad struggles they encounter on their migration route. Prizes will be awarded to sponsors who build the biggest “school,” who have the most survivors, whose fish have the fastest average speed and travel the greatest average distance.

Throughout the Survive the Sound experience, sponsors will learn about steelhead, the challenges they face in the Salish Sea, and what is being done to recover imperiled populations.

All fish sponsorships support LLTK, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been working to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years.

How Survive the Sound Works

Each year, wild steelhead are caught as they make their way downriver from their natal streams. LLTK and partners implant the fish with tracking devices, each of which emits a unique acoustic ping. The steelhead are then tracked by researchers who triangulate their position with receivers that have been placed in the water in various locations around Puget Sound. The steelhead available for sponsorship through Survive the Sound represent real fish, using data that depicts real survival outcomes for the entire population.

This work is part of the larger Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, an international US/Canada effort to determine why certain species of salmon and steelhead are dying in the combined marine waters of Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia.

Why it Matters

Currently, only 20% of wild steelhead survive their trek through the saltwater environment of Puget Sound. They’re now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Unless we can better understand the reasons for steelhead’s decline in Puget Sound and mitigate the threats they face, there is serious concern that steelhead may slip into extinction.

Survive the Sound provides scientists with important new data about steelhead’s lifecycle, gives the public an opportunity to engage with wild steelhead in a fun and interactive new way, and raises essential funds for Long Live the Kings’ salmon and steelhead recovery projects.

To learn more, visit www.survivethesound.org.

Media Opportunities

Opportunities are available to experience the science behind Survive the Sound in action. To schedule, contact Lucas Hall: 206.382.9555, x30 or lhall@lltk.org.

High resolution images are available upon request.

# # #

Steelhead tagging

Fish Don’t Leave Footprints: Steelhead Tracking 101

Understanding the decline of Puget Sound steelhead is no easy task. Try explaining the unexpected death of one of your children’s cherished goldfish in a scientifically defensible way and you’ll only begin to understand this daunting challenge. LLTK and our partners investigating marine survival devote countless hours developing strategies that allow us to understand one key piece to the puzzle – where steelhead die.



To identify where steelhead die, scientists need to characterize typical steelhead migration routes. They can do this by tagging a sample of steelhead and extrapolating the data gathered to the larger population. Steelhead maintain a relatively consistent speed and trajectory as they race to the Pacific Ocean. When tracking data show that they’ve deviated from that path or speed, it means they’ve likely encountered some sort of obstacle during their migration. The obstacle could be a physical barrier, an encounter with a predator, a decline in health related to disease, and/or a variety of other things. When scientists observe these changes in behavior, we know to investigate further in order to pinpoint the problem.

Steelhead tagging - go fish go
Measuring steelhead while tagging.

Acoustic telemetry is a relatively new and precise way to understand steelhead behavior. The system utilizes a tiny, pill-sized transmitter, or “tag”, inserted into a juvenile steelhead’s belly that communicates with an array of receivers, placed on the seafloor in strategic locations along the migration path. The transmitters are about the size of a pill capsule and the receivers no larger than a Gatorade cooler. There are over 125 receivers deployed in the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca today. This includes a tight network of receivers around the Hood Canal Bridge. High steelhead mortality is occurring at the bridge, and we are now using the receivers to triangulate exactly where the steelhead are dying.

Acoustic receivers can detect tagged fish from 200 meters away! The properties of water make acoustic systems especially effective. Molecules in a liquid are more densely packed than those of a gas. This higher molecule density means less sound energy is lost over the same distance in water relative to air. If you’ve ever swum in a lake and heard a distant motorboat while underwater, you’ve experienced this property of water. Whales take advantage of the same principle, communicating great distances using echolocation.

Acoustic tagging
A sealed with a acoustic receiver pack.

When receivers “hear” a tag, they catalog the precise movement of the fish. When multiple acoustic receivers hear a tag at the same point in time, researchers are able to triangulate the location of the fish based on the relative intensity of the fish’s signal at each receiver. Some types of acoustic tags contain a pressure sensor which records information about the fish’s depth in the water column.
Acoustic tags can also tell scientists about predator-prey interactions. In Puget Sound and Hood Canal, scientists attach a “backpack” containing an acoustic receiver to the backs of harbor seals. While the seals swim around the Sound, they collect data on every tagged fish they encounter. When the seals molt (shed its fur) in the fall, the backpack falls off and scientists can retrieve the data. Scientists are currently using this technique, combined with analyzing seal diets, in attempt to determine how big of an impact seals have on steelhead survival.

Now, an astute reader may be thinking, “Doesn’t tagging a fish increase its chances of mortality and bias the results?” Many studies have been done to test this question. In these experiments, fish are tagged and held in large tanks for several months or more. Throughout the experiment, scientists monitor fish health to see whether the tags have any effects on growth or survival. Thankfully, all the studies have concluded that the tags don’t adversely affect the fish.

Scientists working on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project have also tested whether tags act as a dinner bell, calling seals to the tagged juvenile steelhead. This study is performed by pausing the “ping” a tag emits when the fish pass through the areas seals frequent, and the tags resume “pinging” before the fish reach the Pacific Ocean. We compare the fish whose tags were paused, to fish with tags that “pinged” continuously. The survival of these two groups is not different, and therefore, showing no evidence of a dinner bell effect in Puget Sound.

Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Threatened by Proposed EPA Cuts (Seafood Source)

LLTK’s Deputy Director, Michael Schmidt, was recently interviewed by Seafood Source regarding the current administration’s proposal to eliminate Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds for Puget Sound recovery, and dramatically reduce or eliminate National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) salmon funding for western states. Both cuts would significantly impact the science that guides our actions, critical habitat restoration underway, and the overall momentum to recover salmon and their ecosystem. Hitting close to home, the work of our Salish Sea Marine Survival Project to understand juvenile salmon mortality is at risk. Specifically, the $800,000 per year currently proposed in the draft Puget Sound Federal Task Force Action Plan and Puget Sound Science Plan. This funding would drive recovery actions and implement new management tools that will transform the way we manage our fish and the ecosystem they depend upon.

Also at risk is the twelve-entity collaborative zooplankton monitoring program initiated via the Marine Survival Project, currently funded by EPA. Zooplankton stand at the intersection of the physical and biological environments, providing us the best chance to understand how water quality and climate impact the productivity and success of salmon, forage fish, and the Puget Sound food web as a whole. This program is so important to salmon and Puget Sound recovery that tribal, state, federal, academic and nonprofit players have all come together to make it happen.

EPA and NOAA funding are also instrumental in understanding the impacts of the Hood Canal Bridge. LLTK is leading an effort to determine why the floating bridge is a hotspot for juvenile fish mortality and determine what short- and long-term management actions could be taken so that other investments in Hood Canal habitat and water quality are realized and protected.

Visit Seafood Source for the complete story. Also, check out the recent KUOW interview with our partners, the Nisqually Tribe, as they discuss the critical importance of the zooplankton program, the marine survival project, the risk of lost federal funding, and their own massive investment in these efforts.

Puzzling Steelhead Deaths Studied at Hood Canal Bridge (KING5 News)

Long Live the Kings–in partnership with the Hood Canal Coordinating Council, tribes, and state and federal agencies–is working to pinpoint the causes of high steelhead mortality at the Hood Canal Bridge, and to gauge the bridge’s effect on water quality. Alison Morrow from King5 News recently tagged along as LLTK and our partners conducted research near the Bridge. This research is also related to our Survive the Sound campaign, which will launch March 15th! Watch Alison’s report below and click here to learn more about our Hood Canal Bridge Ecosystem Project.


See the full report from King5 News here.


Why are steelhead dying near the Hood Canal Bridge? @Longlivekings and partners seek answers Click To Tweet