columbia river, ecology now, ecosystem, small community life

Have a meeting to have a meeting…

Have you ever noticed that any organization whether it be government or private sector they have to have a meeting to have a meeting. I saw this start happening when I left the work world in the 90’s. We often would have meetings and then talk about who needed to have a smaller meeting. The explosion of this really took off in the late 90’s.

When we first moved to Grays River there was a meeting at the local grange hall. It was a meeting about the flooding in the Grays River valley and what to do about it.

I recall every ecology related group in attendance. The government groups running the meeting,  were asking what needed to be done, to stop or curb the flooding. Families that had been in the valley for generations,  knew what needed to be done to stop major flooding.

The lower portion of the Grays river emptied into the Columbia River. When the tide was in (or high) the river slowed and areas of the valley would flood. This would water fields. When the tide went out it would create a suction and pull all of the water out or off the land.

Then after the study the community would be told what could and could not be done.

This struck me as a tactic to wear down the community.

The community had been trying to get some relief from the flooding by having the mouth of the Grays river dredged. Dredging had been done before and It worked, it worked well.

What do you think came out of that meeting? You are right another meeting. But, there is always a but, The alphabet bunch had to have a study. A study to see the impact of the environment that dredging would cause. The study was an official $250,000 study. Then they would get back with the community and let them know. That was back in 1997. Do you think the mouth of the Grays River has been dredged yet?

columbia river, ecology now, ecosystem, politics

The Columbia River mitigation…

In 1999 An announcement was made that the Columbia river could be dredged if 1200 acres of ditched and diked flood plain was returned to the lower Columbia estuary. This is an example of mitigation and  mitigation banking. In order to disturb a wetland an equal amount of land must be preserved.(in a nutshell)


The Columbian

Wednesday, March 22, 2000
Columbian staff writer

The Columbia Land Trust has been awarded almost $1 million to buy and restore wetlands on the lower Columbia River.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allotted $999,000 to let the Vancouver-based land trust buy more than 1,500 acres of wetlands and associated upland habitat and to restore and enhance more than 4,400 acres of wetlands.

Ducks Unlimited, a partner in the project, will design and restore the wetlands.

Highlights include buying a 900-acre estuarine marsh along the Chinook River, restoring more than 2,000 acres at the Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge near Cathlamet and restoring the 1,817-acre Smith and Bybee Lakes wildlife area in Portland.

Glenn Lamb, the trust’s executive director, called the lands some of the most significant habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds in the lower Columbia.

Other sites for work include the Grays River, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Shillapoo Lake, Eagle Island on the North Fork of the Lewis River, Sauvie Island wildlife area, Deer Island and private lands in Oregon’s Clatsop County.

The grant announced this week is by far the biggest ever received by the land trust, a non-profit organization that works with landowners on voluntary land conservation projects.

Deeper shipping channel

A large, almost rectangular black ship with a red hull creates a mild wake as it moves away from the shore into a very large river. Smoke rises above its decks, which are cluttered with antennas, mechanical fittings, and what appear to be self-contained rooms with multiple windows.

The Essayons, one of three Army Corps of Engineers dredges tasked with ongoing maintenance of the Columbia’s shipping channel, began service in 1983.[100]

Efforts to maintain and improve the navigation channel have continued to the present day. In 1990 a new round of studies examined the possibility of further dredging on the lower Columbia. The plans were controversial from the start because of economic and environmental concerns.[101]

In 1999, Congress authorized deepening the channel between Portland and Astoria from 40 to 43 feet (12–13 m), which will make it possible for large container and grain ships to reach Portland and Vancouver.[102] However, the project has met opposition because of concerns about stirring up toxic sediment on the riverbed. Portland-based Northwest Environmental Advocates brought a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, but it was rejected by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August 2006.[103] The project includes measures to mitigate environmental damage; for instance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must restore 12 times the area of wetland damaged by the project.[102] In early 2006, the Corps spilled 50 US gallons (190 L) of hydraulic oil into the Columbia, drawing further criticism from environmental organizations.[104]

Work on the project began in 2005 and concluded in 2010.[105] The project’s cost is estimated at $150 million. The federal government is paying 65 percent, Oregon and Washington are paying $27 million each, and six local ports are also contributing to the cost.[102][106]

The Army Corps of engineers gave Columbia Land Trust $1 million dollars to start this process.

From Wikipedia..

Environmental mitigation, compensatory mitigation, or mitigation banking, are terms used primarily by the United States government and the related environmental industry to describe projects or programs intended to offset known impacts to an existing historic or natural resource such as a stream, wetland, endangered species, archeological site or historic structure. To “mitigate” means to make less harsh or hostile. Environmental mitigation is typically a part of an environmental crediting system established by governing bodies which involves allocating debits and credits. Debits occur in situations where a natural resource has been destroyed or severely impaired and credits are given in situations where a natural resource has been deemed to be improved or preserved. Therefore, when an entity such as a business or individual has a “debit” they are required to purchase a “credit”. In some cases credits are bought from “mitigation banks” which are large mitigation projects established to provide credit to multiple parties in advance of development when such compensation cannot be achieved at the development site or is not seen as beneficial to the environment. Crediting systems can allow credit to be generated in different ways. For example in the United States, projects are valued based on what the intentions of the project are which may be to restore, create, enhance, or preserve a natural resource.

columbia river, ecology now, environmental impact, salmon

More untouchable subject…

The ecology groups do not want you to know that your tax dollars are being used to extricate people from the land. The Agenda 21 project all over the country is just their, (meaning the US ecology groups), way of implementing the UN charter of saving the planet and doing sustainable development. The plan is to educate everyone right down to, children in preschool, on how we must put land in conservation. Get the common man off the land so  the greater good can save the planet. The greater good is only known by these people getting government grants to accomplish the goal.

During the Clinton administration the largest Endangered species act (ESA)ever was passed. It was for the fish. Salmon specifically.  This opened up lots of taxpayer money. The money crosses lots of projects, air quality, water quality, parks and recreation, habitat restoration, habitat conservation, biologic diversity, sustainable development, forest quality, regulations, pollution control the tax dollar fingers go along way. I am sure I have missed some but you get the idea.

More than a century ago the  Columbia river  was a primary fishing venue, shipping salmon to San Fransisco.  There were  barns, on sand bars, in the middle of the river. During salmon season they would drag nets with the horses. The salmon would be  4 feet long a 80 pounder was not uncommon. Old stories of the amount of returning fish, state that you could walk across the river on the fish.

The Fish Hatchery spoof…

I wrote for a local paper at the time I was covering a meeting  about the closing of a horse camp. The camp was used to park horse trailers and ride into the willapa hills from.  The dirt road to the camp was along a creek.  The agenda of the meeting was to talk about the reason for the closure of the camp. The consensus of the GO’s and NGO”S was, the silting in the creek was being caused by the vehicle traffic. This silting was endangering the spawning salmon.

The monies for the endangered species act had just cut loose. The attendees were, US fish & wildlife (USFW), WA Dept of fish &wildlife (WDFW), army corp of engineers, duck unlimited, Wa. Parks and recreation, Dept of natural resources (DNR), Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board (LCREF) and Columbia Land Trust. There were probably more organizations representation at this meeting, than there were citizen concerned about leaving it open.  All of these people in one way or another were paid by taxpayer dollars

At one point, a statement from one of these organizational people told the attendees,  there were no salmon in the Willapa Bay estuary. Unbelievable, Willapa bay estuary is a primary salmon estuary.  Even more unbelievable, when a citizen spoke up and asked why then were they “cattle prodding them” as we speak.

The cattle prodding was not the only thing they were doing. They would prod them and then use a baseball bat on them. They could not let the clipped fin fish spawn. When the clipped fin fish came up the river they became wild fish The returning salmon numbers went up. These numbers then show that the fish hatchery program is working. If the hatchery program is working then money starts to dry up for the studies and acquisitions and anything extra.

These people doing the killing of these fish are the same people teaching children that a commercial fishermen is a murderer.

A commercial fisherman cannot keep a non-clipped wild stock salmon. If they do catch them they have to revive them and set them free. If a commercial boat is caught by the officials with a wild native non-clipped salmon they are fined big time and or jailed.

Salmon released from a fish hatchery are clipped. The Adipose fin is clipped, in order to identify a returning hatchery fish. This will allow them to count them and show that the hatchery program is or is not successful at restoring fish numbers.

The flip side to this, they can’t let the hatchery fish spawn. If the hatchery fish spawn, the young salmonids become wild salmon. You say that’s good. Yep it is good, but, they say it is “NOT good the numbers of wild salmon go up the money for restoration goes down. When it comes to government money “use it or lose it”. The next round of grant money won’t look as good. In their eyes, the need for the hatchery program could dwindle if wild salmon start to return in ever increasing numbers.

Today you have fish hatcheries, on the tributaries of the Columbia. Migration to Sea – The newly emerged fry immediately begin downstream migration to marine waters. When the fry first enter saltwater they assemble in small schools and reside close to shore to avoid predators. As the young fish grow, they gradually move to deeper waters and generally migrate towards open ocean waters. Mortality during this early marine life period are primarily the result of predation by birds and other fish species.

At the hatchery the fry have been fed by human hand. (top fed) The easiest way is to throw the feed into the pond.   The fry get  conditioned to the shadow on the surface and the appearance of food.    Once they are released, they follow a shadow on the surface and shoot for the surface.  Out in the Columbia there are two islands (Rice and Sand Islands) that were created by dredge spoils from the shipping channel in the river. This island has the biggest  colonies of Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants in the world. The terns eat salmonids. They fly down on the surface and create a shadow. This shadow is similar to the feed flying thru the air. The fry (salmonid) expecting feed , swim right up and land right in the mouth of a tern. Flocks of terns gobble up the salmonid. Few make it out to sea to survive the migration around the pacific rim and back to their home in Washington.

I think the people who thought it would be smart to throw the food to the salmonid did not think of the predator waiting to gobble up the salmon.

Us non educated shall not point out the fallacy in this kind of thinking.   After all they are the educated, they are the one’s that know better how to take care of the planet. They are the biologist that learned how to do this. They read it in a book, they even saw it on the internet, maybe even Facebook. Lets not point out the common sense in restoring salmon, that was born in a fish hatchery, that feeding from above might just set these salmonids up for peril.