Eight Sakhalin Salmon Initiative Participants Tour Oregon Watershed CouncilsNews & Program Updates
On March 30 - April 6, 2008, the Mapleton Community Foundation, the Siuslaw Institute and the Wild Salmon Center hosted eight Sakhalin-based government administrators and Sakhalin Salmon Initiative Center representatives from six municipal regions of the island - Smirnihovsk, Aniva, Uglegorsk, Okha, Nogliki and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. These administrators will take leading roles in watershed council work. Aniva, Nogliki, Okha, Uglegorsk and Smirnihovsk regional watershed councils will begin operations in 2008, while the creation of an Oblast-wide council modeled after the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and based in the capitol city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is also foreseen.
During their eight days spent in Oregon, the delegation participated in a one-day educational seminar at the University of Oregon Center for Advanced Technology in Education and visited local watershed councils that operate environmental education, restoration and conservation programs. These councils included the Columbia Slough Watershed Council in North Portland, the Lower Columbia Watershed Council in Clatskanie, Oregon, and the Siuslaw Watershed Council in Mapleton, Oregon. The visitors also met with the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.
The exchange established collaborative relations between the Wild Salmon Center, Sakhalin Salmon Initiative Center and key government officials in five regions of Sakhalin. Two of these allies could prove to be very important for the future development of the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative: Sergei Pakulin, mayor of Okha (region where the Langry-Bolshaya, a Wild Salmon Center salmon stronghold, is located), and Sergei Sedov, an Oblast Duma deputy who will assist with establishing a legal basis for watershed council operations on Sakhalin.
Development of the watershed council project will be furthered through a May 21-22 workshop in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk facilitated by Johnny Sundstrom (Siuslaw Institute) and Sergei Kostarev (Director of "Environmental Committee," Omsk, Russia). At this seminar, 2008 work plans will be developed for two Sakhalin regional councils – Aniva and Smirnihovsk. Representatives of the other three focal regions will participate as observers. Nicole Portley (Wild Salmon Center), Jeff Uebel (USDA Forest Service) and Natalie Baker (International Riverfoundation) will all participate.