Category Archives: Headlines

New Burbot Fishery Opening In Far North Idaho, Thanks To Restoration Effort

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Idaho anglers will once again have the opportunity to fish for and harvest burbot in the Kootenai River, its tributaries and Bonner Lake starting Jan. 1. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently approved fishing rules for 2019-21 that included a burbot season, allowing anglers to harvest six burbot per day with no size restrictions in those waters.

IDAHO FISHERY MANAGERS REPORT KOOTENAI RIVER BURBOT AVERAGE 16 TO 20 INCHES, BUT THERE ARE SOME UP TO 35 INCHES. FISH FOR THEM WITH BAIT ON BOTTOM. (IDFG)

This new fishing opportunity has resulted from a collaborative effort to restore burbot by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Idaho Fish and Game, the University of Idaho, fisheries managers from British Columbia and Montana, and local communities in the Kootenai Valley.

Burbot in the Kootenai River average about 16 to 20 inches long, but fish as large as 33 to 35 inches have been observed in surveys. Burbot are most active, and spawn, in the winter months, making it the best season to fish for them. Historical reports suggest that night fishing is often most productive, particularly on shallow flats where burbot tend to congregate for feeding and spawning.

Anglers targeting burbot typically use cut bait, dead shrimp, or worms hooked to a jig or fished from the bottom.

Burbot are also known by some anglers as “ling,” “ling cod” and “eel pout,” and they are native to the Kootenai River, but fishing has been closed in Idaho since 1992 because of low populations. In fact, the population was nearly lost, plummeting to only about 50 fish in 2004. Efforts to restore the native burbot population gained headway with the signing of a Burbot Conservation Strategy in 2005 led by the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, a community driven natural resource collaborative.

As a result, the declining population was reversed, and enough burbot now exist to reopen a harvest fishery while meeting conservation goals. Current estimates indicate there are 40,000 to 50,000 burbot in the Kootenai River. Restoration efforts for burbot are ongoing, with more burbot projected in coming year.

Many people contributed to this project, but key elements included development and operation of a burbot hatchery along with a series of habitat restoration projects by the Kootenai Tribe. University of Idaho researchers assisted in developing hatchery practices. British Columbia provided fertilized burbot eggs from Moyie Lake. Idaho Fish and Game biologists did annual population monitoring and research along with British Columbia and Montana. Much of the work has been funded by the Bonneville Power Administration as part of their fish and wildlife mitigation program.

Anyone with questions about the new burbot season can contact Idaho Fish and Game staff in the Panhandle Regional Office at (208) 769-1414.

Chinook Fry From WDFW, Tribal, Tech College Hatcheries Would Help Replace Half Lost At Minter

Washington fishery managers are adding more details on their Christmas Eve press release about where they hope to get fall Chinook fry to replace nearly half of those lost during a power outage and backup generator failure.

YOUNG SALMONIDS AT ANOTHER WDFW HATCHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The young fish would be transferred from a mix of state, tribal and college hatcheries located everywhere from the North Sound to Hood Canal to Deep South Sound.

They include WDFW’s Samish, Hoodsport and George Adams Hatcheries, the Nisqually Tribe’s Clear Creek Hatchery, the Suquamish Tribe’s Grovers Creek Hatchery and Bellingham Technical College’s Whatcom Creek Hatchery.

It wasn’t clear how many would come from each, but according to WDFW a total of 2.75 million replacement fish have been identified to partially make up for the loss of 5.7 million fall kings at Minter Creek following the December 14 windstorm.

The available “excess” fry, as they were called in the press release, are more of a “byproduct” during rearing than an insurance policy against catastrophic loss, according to WDFW spokesman Craig Bartlett.

“NOAA sets the parameters for smolt releases and hatchery managers want to make sure they raise enough fry to meet those targets. Since raising the exact number of fry needed isn’t possible, they’d rather raise a few too many than come up short,” he explained.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries branch gave WDFW tentative approval to move the fish on the condition that the agency get nine treaty tribes to agree to it.

Bartlett said that as of earlier this week, four tribes had already and he hoped another five would after the holidays, when more state and tribal staffers are back in their offices.

A spokesman for NMFS’ West Coast region couldn’t be reached for comment on the caveat due to the partial government shutdown, but Eric Kinne, WDFW’s hatchery manager, typified it as “just part of co-management.”

The fry would be reared at Minter and released next spring in the creek there and at Tumwater Falls on the Deschutes River near Olympia.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind called losing the fall fry along with half a million spring kings set for release in the White River “a painful setback for state and tribal fishers, for the communities that depend on fishing, and for southern resident orcas that feed on Chinook.”

A root cause analysis will be performed to figure out why the backup generator couldn’t be started for nearly three hours, cutting water flow to hundreds of trays holding thousands of Chinook each, depriving them of oxygen.

Ring In The New Year’s During Jan. 2-6 Razor Clam Digs At 3 Washington Beaches

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The next round of evening razor clam digs will run Jan. 2-6 at Twin Harbors, along with openings at other beaches for the last three days.

CADEN AND NATHAN HOLDER DISPLAY RAZOR CLAMS DUG ON THE WASHINGTON COAST THIS PAST JANUARY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on evening low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed on any beach before noon.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and evening low tides:

  • Jan. 2, Wednesday; 4:22 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 3, Thursday; 5:06 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 4, Friday; 5:46 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 5, Saturday; 6:23 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Jan. 6, Sunday; 6:59 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

“Diggers should come prepared with good lighting devices and always keep an eye on the surf, particularly at this time of year when the best low tides come after dark,” Ayres said.

Ayres said the department has also tentatively scheduled a second dig in January, pending the results of another round of marine toxin tests. If those tests are favorable, that dig will run Jan. 17-21, and will include the first dig of the season at Kalaloch.

More information on planned digs can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2018-19 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

2.75 Million Replacement Chinook Fry Found For Hatchery

THE FOLLOWING IS A WDFW PRESS RELEASE

Up to 2.75 million fall chinook fry are headed to the Minter Creek Hatchery in Pierce County in an effort to replace salmon lost during a Dec. 14 power outage at the facility.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received approval Friday from NOAA Fisheries – the agency that oversees federally listed salmon – to use excess chinook from six other hatcheries for release from Minter Creek and Tumwater Falls next May and June.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind said several tribal co-managers have already agreed to the transfer, as required by NOAA-Fisheries.

“This won’t fully replace the salmon lost last week, but it will allow us to put a significant number of fish into these waters next year,” Susewind said. “I want to thank our tribal co-managers and federal partners for helping to make this happen.”

WDFW estimates 5.7 million fall chinook fry and 507,000 spring chinook fry were lost when a windstorm knocked out power to the Minter Creek Hatchery earlier this month. The facility’s backup generator also failed to start, cutting power to the pump that supplies water to incubators where the fry were held.

“Losing those fish was a painful setback for state and tribal fishers, for the communities that depend on fishing, and for southern resident orcas that feed on chinook,” Susewind said.

The half-million spring chinook lost at Minter Creek were part of the state’s early efforts to increase production of chinook to feed the dwindling population of southern resident orcas. The department is, however, increasing chinook production at other hatcheries to help with that effort.

“Increasing hatchery chinook production is a top priority for the department and we take any setback seriously,” Susewind said. “I’ve instructed staff to hire a contractor to determine what went wrong and help us identify steps we can take to prevent such a loss in the future.”

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received approval Friday from NOAA Fisheries – the agency that oversees federally listed salmon – to use excess chinook from six other hatcheries for release from Minter Creek and Tumwater Falls next May and June.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind said several tribal co-managers have already agreed to the transfer, as required by NOAA-Fisheries.

“This won’t fully replace the salmon lost last week, but it will allow us to put a significant number of fish into these waters next year,” Susewind said. “I want to thank our tribal co-managers and federal partners for helping to make this happen.”

WDFW estimates 5.7 million fall chinook fry and 507,000 spring chinook fry were lost when a windstorm knocked out power to the Minter Creek Hatchery earlier this month. The facility’s backup generator also failed to start, cutting power to the pump that supplies water to incubators where the fry were held.

“Losing those fish was a painful setback for state and tribal fishers, for the communities that depend on fishing, and for southern resident orcas that feed on chinook,” Susewind said.

The half-million spring chinook lost at Minter Creek were part of the state’s early efforts to increase production of chinook to feed the dwindling population of southern resident orcas. The department is, however, increasing chinook production at other hatcheries to help with that effort.

“Increasing hatchery chinook production is a top priority for the department and we take any setback seriously,” Susewind said. “I’ve instructed staff to hire a contractor to determine what went wrong and help us identify steps we can take to prevent such a loss in the future.”

Limit Dropped To 1 Ahead Of Area 10 Blackmouth Opener

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Daily limit of one salmon when season opens in Marine Area 10

 Action: The daily limit of salmon is one.

Effective date: Jan. 1 through March 31, 2019.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location: Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton).

Reason for action: Based on abundance estimates, there is not sufficient salmon available to maintain a fishery though the planned season. A daily limit of one salmon will increase the likelihood that the winter fishery will remain open for the entire winter season.

Additional information: Chinook minimum size is 22 inches. Release all wild Chinook salmon.

For specific regulations, anglers should consult the 2018-19 Washington Sports Fishing Rules pamphlet available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.

Anglers can check WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html for the latest information on marine areas that are managed to a quota or guideline.

ODFW Asking Umpqua Anglers For Hatchery Steelhead Snouts As Part Of Run-timing Study

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ROSEBURG, Ore – Winter steelhead anglers are asked to return snouts from hatchery steelhead harvested in the Umpqua River basin. ODFW will scan the snouts for coded wire tags in the first of a multi-year research project to improve winter steelhead fishing in the South Umpqua River.

ODFW IS ASKING UMPQUA RIVER STEELHEADERS TO DROP OFF THE SNOUTS OF ANY HATCHERY WINTER-RUNS IN BARRELS AT BOAT LAUNCHES OR THE ROSEBURG OFFICE TO SCAN AS PART OF A STUDY. SCOTT HAUGEN CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE MAINSTEM A COUPLE YEARS AGO WHILE RUNNING A MAG LIP. (SCOTT HAUGEN VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Anglers can deposit snouts in collection barrels at various boat ramps around Douglas County and at the ODFW office in Roseburg. Bags and tags with date and location of harvest are in the barrels.

Fish were coded wire tagged in February 2018 and released in March and April from the acclimation sites in Canyonville. Any of those fish returning this steelhead angling season are considered “one salt fish” after spending one year in the ocean.

ODFW STEP biologist Evan Leonetti said the agency will use the data collected from anglers and coded wire tags to adjust hatchery release timing to improve future hatchery winter steelhead fishing, particularly in the South Umpqua River.

“Getting the data from the coded wire tags will help us determine which releases have better returns for anglers. These fish were all in the four to five-inch range when released in Canyonville,” Leonetti said.

Leonetti is also asking for volunteers to interview winter steelhead anglers on the North and South Umpqua rivers. Volunteers can work a very flexible schedule and will be stationed at boat ramps throughout the two basins. Leonetti is looking for people with flexibles schedule that enjoy talking with anglers. He is also asking volunteers to assist with the collection of snouts.

This citizen science project collects information on the winter steelhead fishery including number of fish harvested, whether they are wild or hatchery, and fishing effort. This information will be used in conjunction with the coded wire tag data to better manage the hatchery fishery.

Volunteers must provide their own transportation and may be working alone or with a partner. The project runs the length of the winter steelhead season, ending about mid-April.

Anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in volunteering should call Leonetti at 541-464-2175 or email evan.leonetti@state.or.us

Susewind’s Hatchery Statement Rare For A WDFW Director To Make

It’s relatively rare for WDFW directors to issue special statements, so the one that came out yesterday evening from Kelly Susewind on the loss of millions of baby Chinook at one of his hatcheries is pretty notable.

WDFW DIRECTOR KELLY SUSEWIND. (WDFW)

Mostly they speak through press releases, like his agency’s late Monday afternoon hit-send-and-run-like-hell announcement about the Dec. 14 windstorm disaster and which came out via email and as a link posted on Twitter, where fishing and hunting news otherwise goes to die.

Susewind’s instead went on WDFW’s Facebook page during a high-social-media-use period and its six brief paragraphs were a recap of what happened, its potential impact to fisheries, what was being done to replace the salmon, and the process moving forward.

It was also posted it in a very prominent position on the agency’s website.

Yes, it came nearly six days after the fact, as well as after business hours Thursday, but the link on social media allowed the public to vent directly at WDFW — and oh, how they continued to — for a state staffer or staffers to respond, and for key constituencies to see he was On The Job.

Indeed, among the people reacting as comments were posted to the thread was Brian Blake, chairman of the state House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, a key legislative panel for agency bills.

I’m not going to sit here behind this keyboard and pretend to be some sort of expert on hatchery operations, because I’m not, I don’t care how many years I’ve reported on WDFW, how many fishing trips I’ve taken, or how many times I’ve stopped by the facilities and ogled returnees and given silent best wishes to the wee ones on their upcoming journey.

But from what I gather the 5.7 million fall Chinook fry destined for release into the Deschutes River and Minter Creek and 500,000 White River springers had very little time to live once the power went off, the backup 350kVA diesel generator wouldn’t start and water quit flowing through their incubation trays, asphyxiating them.

A new report by KING 5’s Alison Morrow says that it’s now believed 10 percent of the fish actually survived because workers were able to get water flowing into a head trough with a gas-powered pump at the facility.

In a bad-news story, kudos to those responded as best they could and at least saved some kings.

An outside investigation will now try to determine the cause of why the generator failed, and with that tool, Susewind vowed “to take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.”

Sh*t is always going to happen, but that assurance along with the state legislature funding updates to aging hatchery infrastructure could go a good way to preventing repeats of these “devastating” and “horrible” losses.

I mentioned the rarity of Susewind’s bull-by-the-horns statement.

In my decade and a half or so of covering WDFW just one other set of special remarks from the director immediately sprang to mind, Phil Anderson’s in the wake of the death of Billy Frank Jr., his counterpart at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

Anderson did make several others, I eventually realized after googling it to jar my memory (that Skagit elk hunt one, which had mixed results).

But in more recent years I don’t recall anything from Anderson’s successor (and Susewind’s predecessor), Jim Unsworth.

In fact the response to the Minter Creek situation feels like the polar opposite of the great Cowlitz summer steelhead smolt debacle that took months to uncover and ultimately put the man from Idaho on the legislative hot seat.

It’s also the second special statement Susewind, a Grays Harbor native, has made this month.

The other was a four-and-a-half-minute-long video in which he outlined his views on wolf management in Washington, and was posted to WDFW’s YouTube page.

I can appreciate that Susewind is not slowly backing into the shrubberies on two of the hottest hot-button issues in the state, salmon fisheries and wolves.

He can’t, of course, in trying to make WDFW more important to the residents of the state as a whole in furthering the future for critters and sporting and other recreation, not to mention getting lawmakers to sign off on the first fee increase since the other end of this decade and feeding the agency more from the General Fund.

It takes guts to stand up like that and be a target. But it’s also more than that.

“Our major priority is to be transparent with the public and legislature, and to make sure they know he’s paying attention,” WDFW spokesman Craig Bartlett said this morning.

Just as Susewind is paying attention, like other watchers of Washington’s fish and wildlife world, I am too and am eager to find out what happened at Minter that killed our Chinook and what will be done about it.

WDFW’s Susewind Issues Statement On ‘Painful Loss’ Of 6M Hatchery Chinook From Power Loss

THE FOLLOWING IS A SPECIAL W.D.F.W. STATEMENT FROM DIRECTOR KELLY SUSEWIND

On Dec. 14, the state’s Minter Creek Hatchery lost power during a windstorm and the facility’s backup generator failed to start. As a result, roughly 6 million chinook died.

SALMON INCUBATION TRAYS AT MINTER CREEK HATCHERY. (WDFW)

This is a painful loss for state and tribal fishers, for the communities that depend on fishing, and for southern resident orcas that feed on chinook.

We’re working with tribal co-managers and NOAA Fisheries to replace some of the salmon lost at Minter Creek with fish from other facilities and hope to announce more details on that soon.

Among the fish lost in the power failure were 500,000 spring chinook, which were part of an early effort at Minter Creek and other hatcheries to increase production of chinook to feed southern resident orcas. That loss is unfortunate.

I take this incident seriously. I have instructed staff to hire outside contractors to examine what went wrong with the backup generator and how our staff responded to the situation.

Based on those findings, we’re going to take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.

Kalaloch Penciled In Among Tentative January, February Clam Digs

If today’s windy, stormy weather has you rethinking hitting this evening’s Washington Coast razor clam dig, take note of a potential opener a little further down the line this season.

RAZOR CLAM DIGGING COULD OCCUR AT KALALOCH BEACH IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY. (NATIONAL PARK SERVICE)

WDFW has added Kalaloch to its list of tentative January and February dates.

Six days worth of digging would occur at the Olympic National Park beach between the mouths of the Hoh and Queets Rivers from Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 16-18.

Those and 2019 digs at Copalis, Mocrocks and Twin Harbors still do need to get final green lights, but it will be the first time in two years that razor clam harvesting will be allowed at Kalaloch.

January 2017 saw a two-day opener before March digs were cancelled due to “low abundance.”

State shellfish manager Dan Ayres still isn’t sure what happened to all the clams that he and his crews found there during a 2016 assessment but were gone by that winter.

Still, during recent toxin testing at Kalaloch he found improved numbers.

“They’re not the biggest clams, but they’re in the 4-inch neighborhood, with some smaller,” says Ayres. “I think it’ll be OK. I hope I’m not wrong. Folks can go check it out.”

In the meanwhile, there’s a high wind warning at this evening’s open sands, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, through 4 p.m.

Ayres reports 28-foot swells offshore, with both highways to the beaches having been temporarily closed for trees over the roadway, and power out at WDFW’s Montesano office.

If you bail, there are still more openers through the weekend, including Long Beach on Saturday evening.

“It’s been a good season so far,” Ayres reports. “Nothing out of the usual. Clams are on the small side. Some are fine with that. Some expect big ones every time they go.”

He expects to be able to offer more dates, but here’s a look at January and February’s proposed openers and when low tide occurs, per WDFW:

  • Jan. 2, Wednesday; 4:22 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 3, Thursday; 5:06 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 4, Friday; 5:46 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 5, Saturday; 6:23 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Jan. 6, Sunday; 6:59 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 17, Thursday; 3:39 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 18, Friday; 4:30 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 19, Saturday; 5:18 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Jan. 20, Sunday; 6:05 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • Jan. 21, Monday; 6:51 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch (Martin Luther King Holiday)
  • Feb. 1, Friday; 4:48 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Feb. 2; Saturday; 5:28 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 3, Sunday; 6:04 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Feb. 15, Friday; 3:11 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 16, Saturday; 4:08 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 17, Sunday; 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 18, Monday; 5:46 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch (Presidents’ Day Holiday)
  • Feb. 19, Tuesday; 6:31 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 20, Wednesday; 7:14 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 21, Thursday; 7:56 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors

 

 

Spill Test Set To Begin On Columbia, Snake; Could Validate Benefits For Outmigrating Smolts

Federal, state and tribal officials have agreed to a three-year trial to see if increasing spill down the Columbia and Snake Rivers can “significantly boost” outmigrating salmon and steelhead smolt numbers.

WATER SURGES THROUGH BONNEVILLE DAM IN THIS JUNE 2014 CORPS OF ENGINEERS PHOTO. (ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS)

It’s already believed to, but the deal will allow for more flexible spring operations at eight dams to test the idea beginning next year through 2021, according to a report in the Lewiston Tribune.

“Collaboration is key to this new approach to Columbia River system management. Working together, the region’s states, tribes, and federal agencies have developed an approach that demonstrates environmental stewardship and affordable sustainable energy are not mutually exclusive,” reads a joint statement from “key supporters” of the agreement.

The parties include the Nez Perce Tribe, Oregon, Washington, BPA, Army Corps and Bureau of Reclamation. The states of Idaho and Montana are also on board with it.

The trial will include the four Lower Snake dams in Washington and the four on the shared Columbia between Washington and Oregon.

Both states will need to “harmonize” how they measure total dissolved gas measured below the spillways, with Washington’s Department of Ecology needing to up its allowance by early April and consider boosting it to 125 percent for tests in 2020.

A 2017 report by the Fish Passage Center says that “increasing spill for fish passage within the safe limits of 125% total dissolved gas has a high probability of improving smolt to adult return rates.”

The more fish, the more for fishermen of all fleets to catch and orcas to eat as well as escaping to spawn in the wild.

“It’s incremental progress at time when Columbia River spring Chinook are projected to return at very low numbers,” said spill advocate Liz Hamilton at the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, who added that it was “hardly the bold action we were seeking in (Governor Jay Inslee’s) Orca task force prey work group.”

She said NSIA will be watching closely, especially as dissolved gas levels are ramped up to the 125 percent benchmark.

“It can’t happen soon enough,” she said.

But concerns have been raised that spilling water will reduce electrical generation capacity in the hydropower system, and according to outdoor reporter Eric Barker’s piece in the Tribune, this week’s agreement was panned by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who also introduced a bill in the House this year against it.

In early 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon, who has been overseeing a long-running case over Columbia salmon and dam management, had ordered spill to occur.