Wild Salmon Center Newsletter Winter, 2008
In this issue
- Wild Salmon Center and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. Announce Landmark Wild Salmon Conservation Agreement
- Notes From the Field: Examining Salmon Habitat Destruction on Oregon's Salmonberry River
- The North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership meets in Seattle
Wild Salmon Center and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. Announce Landmark Wild Salmon Conservation Agreement
"This is a historic agreement that will help protect wild salmon in the Russian Far East" -- Guido Rahr, President of Wild Salmon Center.
The Wild Salmon Center and the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) have reached a landmark agreement that will jointly fund a three-year $8.8 million program for wild salmon conservation efforts on Sakhalin Island, Russia.
The conservation work will be conducted through the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative (SSI), launched during an international conference in October 2006. SSI is a collaborative effort to promote conservation and sustainable use of wild salmon and the ecosystems upon which they depend, to build institutional capacity for conservation and to promote sustainable economic development on Sakhalin Island. Sakhalin Energy is the founding sponsor of the SSI.
"This is a historic agreement that will help protect wild salmon in the Russian Far East," said Guido Rahr, President of the Wild Salmon Center. "We are pleased that Sakhalin Energy has made the commitment to support the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative, and are enthusiastic about engaging the operator of the world's largest integrated oil and gas development project in this important effort to support salmon conservation and sustainable development."
"We believe that all economic development must preserve and, if possible, enhance the environment," said Ian Craig, Chief Executive Officer of the Sakhalin Energy. "Sakhalin Energy is pleased that we are able to play a meaningful role in such a landmark sustainable development for the island. This is a special collaboration as WSC is leveraging our contribution with matching support from other sponsors, thus maximizing the benefit."
The Sakhalin Salmon Initiative is managed by the Sakhalin-based SSI Center and overseen by the SSI Coordinating Committee that includes the Sakhalin Oblast Administration, regional and federal agencies, academic institutions, business enterprises, commercial fishermen, indigenous communities and local and international NGOs. In December 2007, the SSI Coordinating Committee approved a wide-ranging program for 2008. Focal activities include developing a conservation strategy for priority basins in Northwestern Sakhalin; creating a network of local watershed councils; establishing a Sakhalin-wide salmonid monitoring program; promoting sustainable fisheries; building a salmon-focused education center; and supporting local and regional education programs.
On a recent stormy day a colleague and I hiked the Salmonberry River, a tributary of the Nehalem River on Oregon's spectacular North Coast. We started at the confluence of the Salmonberry and Nehalem and hiked six miles along the river, known for its impressive run of wild steelhead. For years, the Wild Salmon Center has been working to protect this incredible wild salmon river located in the Tillamook State Forest.
The Salmonberry River is also a corridor for the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad, which runs along the bank of the river. In 1996, floods severely damaged the railroad line. It was rebuilt, costing millions in taxpayer dollars. Then, in December 2007, the railroad line was again severely damaged by coastal storms.
We saw the damage to the railroad first hand. We came across numerous landslides that had originated in some of the steepest parts of the Salmonberry canyon. Several of these landslides covered or damaged sections of the railroad. We also saw many places along the embankment that had been cut away by the flood's erosive forces.
The repeated erosion of sediment and gravel from the railroad embankment and ballast is extremely damaging to the salmon and steelhead spawning grounds of the Salmonberry River. The railroad line amplifies this problem with rip rap, fill and continued development along the banks of the Salmonberry.
The Wild Salmon Center is recommending that an alternative transportation route to the Willamette Valley be established for the Port of Tillamook Bay, one that avoids the land-slide prone slopes and sensitive spawning habitat of the Salmonberry River while protecting local commerce and jobs.
Chris Robbins is the Wild Salmon Center's U.S. Northwest Program Manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North American Salmon Stronghold Partnership (NASSP) held its 5th meeting February 19th-20th at the Doubletree Hotel in Seattle. The meeting was well attended by over 40 high ranking representatives from state, federal, and local governments/agencies as well as tribal and nonprofit organizations.
The primary objectives of the meeting were to:
- Identify the appropriate scale for working within stronghold basins
- Adjust proposed timetables for formally recognizing strongholds
- Consider various models of decision-making, and
- Prepare partners to receive and act on projects as early as June 2008
In the coming months, the partnership will continue to revise maps for Washington, California, Idaho, and Oregon both to improve the quality of information and to continue toward identifying a multi-species salmon survival network.
Significant progress was made on developing a process to review proposals from salmon stronghold basins at the June 2008 meeting. Partners discussed the need to identify and solicit proposals from selected "focal areas." Emphasis was placed on protecting and maintaining species and habitat diversity by restoring watershed processes.
Partners were presented with new tools and potential models of conservation in stronghold basins by Dr. Gordon Reeves (Visiting Scientist at the Wild Salmon Center), Bobby Cochran (Clean Water Services), Alan Holt (TNC), Brent Davies (Ecotrust) and Dave Heller (U.S. Forest Service). There was a particular interest in exploring the possible role of land exchanges and incorporating sustainable markets concepts into NASSP strategies. A follow-up meeting to explore land exchanges in greater depth will be held prior to the June 2008 meeting.
Several Wild Salmon Center board members attended the meeting, including Leah Hair and John McGlenn. Guido Rahr and Joe Ryan of the Puget Sound Partnership delivered words of inspiration at the reception held the evening of the 19th.
The next meeting of the Stronghold Partnership will be June 19, 2008 in Portland at the Billy Frank Conference Center.Please give now.