Tag Archives: makah tribe

OlyPen Mountain Goat Move Ends For Year With 101 Shipped To Cascades

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM WDFW ET AL

Capture and translocation operations are now complete for 2019 with 101 mountain goats moved from Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest to the northern Cascade Mountains. Since September 2018, a total of 275 mountain goats have been translocated.  An additional two-week capture and translocation period is planned for summer 2020.

WDFW REPORTS THAT 16 MOUNTAIN GOATS WERE REMOVED FROM MT. ELLINOR, ABOVE LAKE CUSHMAN, DURING THIS SUMMER’S TRANSLOCATION OF THE ALPINE DENIZENS FROM THE OLYMPICS OVER TO THE CASCADES. (JOEL NOWACK, USFS, FLICKR)

This effort is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) to re-establish and assist in connecting depleted populations of mountain goats in the Washington Cascades while also removing non-native goats from the Olympic Mountains.  Though some mountain goat populations in the North Cascades have recovered since the 1990s, the species is still absent or rare in many areas of its historic range. Mountain goats were introduced to the Olympics in the 1920s.

In addition to the 101 mountain goats released in the North Cascades, there were seven adult mortalities related to capture, plus four animals that could not be captured safely were lethally removed.

Ten mountain goat kids that were not able to be kept with their families were transferred to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in 2019. One will remain at Northwest Trek and live in the park’s 435-acre free-roaming area. The other nine kids will have new homes at other zoos. A total of 16 mountain goat kids have been given permanent homes in zoos: six in 2018 and ten in 2019.

August 2019 Results
Translocated Zoo Capture Mortalities Transport Mortalities Euthanized Lethally Removed
101 10 7 0 0 4

 

Leading Edge Aviation, a private company which specializes in the capture of wild animals, conducted aerial capture operations through a contract. The helicopter crew used immobilizing darts and net guns to capture mountain goats and transported them in specially-made slings to the staging areas located at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and the Hamma Hamma area in Olympic National Forest. The animals were examined and treated by veterinarians before volunteers working with WDFW transported them to pre-selected staging areas in the North Cascades. The mountain goats were transported in refrigerated trucks to keep them cool.

Once at the staging areas, WDFW and participating Tribal biologists worked with HiLine Aviation to airlift the crated goats to release areas where volunteers and Forest Service wildlife biologists assisted with the release. Release areas were chosen based on their high quality mountain goat habitat, proximity to the staging areas, and limited disturbance to recreationists. Weather did complicate airlifting goats to preferred locations on 6 days, but crews were able to airlift goats to alternative locations on these days.

“We were very fortunate to have a long stretch of good weather in August which enabled us to safely catch mountain goats throughout the Olympics and make good progress towards reaching our translocation goals,” said Dr. Patti Happe, Wildlife Branch Chief at Olympic National Park “Many thanks to all the volunteers and cooperators, including several biologists and former National Park Service staff who came out of retirement to assist with the project.”

During this round, release sites in the Cascades included Cadet Ridge and Cadet Creek, Milk Lakes on Lime Ridge, Pear Lake, and between Prairie and Whitechuck Mountains on the Darrington Ranger District of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; between Vesper and Big Four Mountains on Washington Department of Natural Resource Lands; on Hardscrabble Ridge and privately-held land; and near Tower Mountain on the Methow Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

“An operation such as this is impossible without the support and participation of a large team,” said Dr. Rich Harris, a WDFW wildlife manager who specializes in mountain goats. “All have worked tirelessly to give every goat the best possible chance at a new beginning in native habitat. In future years, we hope to be able to look back with the satisfaction of knowing we helped restore this wonderful species where there are currently so few.”

Area tribes lending support to the translocation plan in the Cascades include the Lummi, Muckleshoot, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish, Tulalip, and Upper Skagit tribes. Volunteers from the Point No Point Treaty Council, Quileute Tribe, Quinault Indian Nation, Makah Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Skokomish Indian Tribe, and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe also assisted at the staging areas in the Olympics

A total of 22 mountain goats were removed from Olympic National Forest in August. Sixteen mountain goats were removed from the Mount Ellinor and Mount Washington area and six from The Brothers Wilderness.

“This operation would not have been possible without the invaluable assistance of volunteers, including the Olympia Mountaineers,” said Susan Piper, Forest Wildlife Biologist with Olympic National Forest.  “We also want to acknowledge that having popular destinations such as Mount Ellinor and Lake of the Angels closed may have been inconvenient to visitors, but it was important to have a safe and successful capture operation in those areas.”

In May 2018, the NPS released the final Mountain Goat Management Plan which outlines the effort to remove the estimated 725 mountain goats on the Olympic Peninsula. Both the plan and the associated environmental impact statement were finalized after an extensive public review process which began in 2014.

For more information about mountain goats in Washington State, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/oreamnos-americanus.

For more information and updates on the project, visit nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/mountain-goat-capture-and-translocation.htm.

Makah Bid For Limited Gray Whale Hunt Gets Boost As NMFS Proposes Waiving MMPA Take Moratorium On Recovered Pods

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE

The Makah Tribe of Washington could hunt and land up to two gray whales on average per year over a 10-year period for ceremonial and subsistence purposes under a proposal that NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region announced today.

A MAKAH BASKET DEPICTS WHALING. (SMITHSONIAN)

The proposal does not yet allow the Makah Tribe to begin hunting whales, but moves the Tribe closer to that longstanding goal. An administrative law judge must first conduct a hearing, currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 12, 2019, to review the NOAA Fisheries proposal and make a recommendation to Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. Interested parties may request to participate in that hearing. Oliver would then make a final decision on whether to authorize the Makah Tribe to hunt gray whales.

If the Tribe is authorized to hunt gray whales, the Tribe would then need to apply for a permit, which would be subject to public notice and comment.

“We are moving forward carefully, and deliberately, to support the Tribe’s treaty rights while we also fully consider the potential impacts on the whales and protect their populations,” said Chris Yates, Assistant Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region.

Through the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay between the Makah Tribe and the U.S. government, the Tribe reserved “the right of taking fish and of whaling or sealing at usual and accustomed grounds and stations.” The Tribe has sought since the 1990s to exercise that right, long a centerpiece of tribal culture. A federal court determined in 2002 that the Tribe must first apply for a waiver of the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s (MMPA) take moratorium, which prohibits killing whales and other marine mammals.

In 2005 the Tribe sought a waiver of the MMPA, as the courts required. NOAA Fisheries has since evaluated the request through a 2015 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which attracted hundreds of public comments on all sides.

NOAA Fisheries’ action today proposes to waive the MMPA take moratorium to allow the Makah to hunt gray whales from the healthy and fully recovered Eastern North Pacific (ENP) population of gray whales, which today numbers about 27,000. The most recent stock assessment for ENP gray whales found in 2014 that up to 624 gray whales could be removed from the population each year without affecting its long-term sustainability.

The proposal would allow the Tribe to land up to three ENP gray whales in even-numbered years and one whale in odd-numbered years – less than the four whales per year on average that the Makah Tribe sought. The limits and other restrictions reduce the already remote possibility of Makah hunters encountering gray whales from the endangered Western North Pacific population that feed near Russia and occasionally migrate to the ENP. The limits also help protect a group of ENP gray whales that feed in and around the Makah Tribe’s hunting and fishing grounds in summer and return to the area on a regular basis.

“We have examined this proposal from every angle and have developed hunting regulations that provide for public safety, protect the gray whale populations, and respect the Makah Tribe’s treaty rights and culture,” Yates said.

Large Numbers Of Invasive Crabs Found At Makah Bay, But Lessons Learned Too

Twice as many invasive European green crabs have now been trapped at Makah Bay as first reported earlier this summer, an alarming development but one that’s also providing key insights for the fight to keep the species from spreading into Puget Sound.

SEVERAL DIFFERENT YEAR-CLASSES OF INVASIVE EUROPEAN GREEN CRAB HAVE BEEN FOUND AT MAKAH BAY. (KELLY MARTIN, WASHINGTON SEA GRANT)

Officials from Washington Sea Grant spent three days with tribal managers at the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula and called it “an excellent learning experience.”

“Many parts of the Wa’atch and Tsoo-Yess (River) estuaries superficially appear as if they would be primarily freshwater – not saline enough to allow for the survival of organisms such as shore crabs, staghorn sculpins, and green crab. However, in the summer months when there is little rain and therefore little freshwater input in the rivers, these estuaries remain fairly salty due to tidal fluctuations. This gives us a better idea of what kind of sites green crab are able to inhabit which could be useful as we continue to monitor the Salish Sea,” WSG reported in a blog earlier this month.

They’ve already identified dozens upon dozens of sites with high or medium suitability for the crabs but this new finding could help sharpen the search even more.

Between last October and Aug. 7, 782 were captured at Makah Bay. They’re reported to be from multiple year classes and ranged in size from 1 inch to over 3 1/4 inches.

According to a Sea Grant map, specimens have also been found to the east at Dungeness Spit and Discovery Bay on the north Olympic Peninsula; Westcott Bay on San Juan Island; Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish Bay’s in Skagit County; and Lagoon Point on the west side of central Whidbey Island.

Researchers theorize that the inland green crabs are coming from a source population somewhere on the outer coast of Washington, Vancouver Island, Oregon or elsewhere.

They say it’s more likely that “reversal” current conditions pull larvae into the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Pacific than that juveniles from a population in the Sooke Basin of Vancouver Island have dispersed across the channel.

The Makah colony represents the largest concentration so far found in Northwest Washington waters.

LORENZ SOLLMAN OF THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE INSPECTS A TRAP SET OUT TO COLLECT INVASIVE EUROPEAN GREEN CRABS AT DUNGENESS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. (ALLEN PLEUS, WDFW)

The worry is that if green crabs establish a sustaining population in Puget Sound, they could damage eelgrass pastures — so important for our salmonids and other fish — and clam beds.

Efforts to remove them are being led by state, tribal, university and federal agencies. They’re focusing on monitoring bays, estuaries, spits and other water features and rapidly responding to discoveries.