Game Fishing Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
180 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
On Saturday, a great thing happened on Spanaway Creek. The new fish passage around the Bresemann dam was dedicated. For those not familiar with the area, Spanaway Creek flows out of Spanaway Lake in Spanaway park. The creek flows out of the park and under Military Rd. into Bresemann forest, and eventually into the sound. About 1000 feet downstream from the culvert outflow is the Bresemann Dam.

This is a manmade obstruction and not passable by any fish. It has been there for over 100 years. The county and some private interests came together and built a 260 foot-long fish passage channel for the fish to migrate around the dam, which was left in place to preserve the mill pond it created. The area was replanted with young trees and riparian habitat. there are two foot bridges that cross the channel to preserve the foot trails in the area. It is a beautiful thing to see this great project completed. The prospects of salmon, steelhead, and cutties coming back to the creek, and eventually the lake is exciting. I am going to try and post some photos, but if you've never been to the spot, go check it out. It really is a sight to see. Very accessible. Take 5 to 512 and exit Pacific Ave/Hwy7. Turn right onto Pacific and head down to Military Rd. and turn right. Look for the parking lot on the right, past Shucks, and you'll see the entrance to the forest. Just across from Sprinker Rec. Center

I hghly encourage all to check it out. There was an article in the News Tribune on Sunday, if you want to read a brief blurb about it. Enjoy! Tup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
I agree that it is a great project, but then again I am biased. I helped put that project together back in 2003/2004 when I worked at the Pierce Conservation District as the Salmon Habitat Recovery fisheries biologist. It was hard to get everyone together to move forward, and obviously that finally happened. We also removed back then the Zarelli dam on Clover Creek that was blocking salmon migration, and put a weir in its place. With a couple of other projects in the works and done, Clover Creek is in better shape than it has been for years (although it still has a long way to go).

ciao,
Marc
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,291 Posts
Any prospects for putting Kokanee from American lake, or any Sockeye from any systems that have lakes / streams / salt chuck in common?

I am sure some strays will eventually find their way in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
Sparky, I haven't heard anyone mention stocking kokanee back into Spanaway Creek yet, but it could be possible. In my past reasearch I have documented (Limiting Factors Analyses of WRIA 12) sockeye/kokanee in Steilacoom Lake, and of course now that access can be gained up to Spanaway Lake it is even more possible. Almost every year there are some sockeye that show up in Chambers Creek (one year WDFW got 27 in the fish trap at Chambers Creek when I was keeping track). These are most certainly strays, but sometimes that is how nature restores fisheries.

The bottom line is "if you build it, they will come" or in the case of anadromous fish...if you restore the habitat, the fish will come.

Some friends are working very hard to restore salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat to Chamber and Clover creeks (and tribs), and they are now working to establish steelhead on Clover Creek. It is a cooperative effort, and who knows, it may work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,291 Posts
That is just awesome Marc. I lived for several years in an apartment across the road form the hatchery when I was stationed at Ft. Lewis.

Those were my first experiences with the Red Hook.

Compared to the apartment living, a walk along Chambers creek was like being a million miles away. For a small creek basin, it was teaming with
wild life and fish.

Your special contribution towards habitat restoration will be appreciated by generations to come. Here I though you were just a pro bass fisherman.
Thanks for sharing some of who you are with us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
I think what you are doing is admirable, but I really wonder if it is cost effective. The clover creek drainage is one of the most damaged drainages that exists. Besides going through one of the most populated watersheds, the original bed has been moved and appears to be concete in many areas. The creek is fairly small and the upper sections dry up every summer. I am not trying to be critical, but it seems to me there are many more projects that would yield much better results for less money and effort.

A perfect example is clear creek in Puyallup. The upper watershed has been diverted by the private fish hatchery on pioneer on one branch while the other branch is dregded every other year for flood control. Yet, I have seen steelhead, native rainbows, cutthroat, chinook, silvers, and chum in this little creek. With a little effort, I am sure that the upper watershed could be accessed by these fish, resulting is several miles of good spawning habitat. As it is, there is only a few feet of available spawning bed available that I have seen on the whole creek. Every year you can walk below the hatchery outlet and see chinook pooled up trying to get upstream. I have also seen almost every other species at one time or another stopped here. Yet this is ignored while thousands (most likey hundreds of thousands or even into the millions) are spent on a creek that has yet to have anything other than a handful of fish return.

I am very skeptical that section of clover creek that is above the spanaway creek section is nothing more than a feel good project that has no chance of sucess. The spanaway creek section may have more of a chance of sucess because it runs year round, though I don't think it has much in the way of quality spawning habitat. Also, I have caught either a small silver or kokanee out of spanaway lake. I was quite surprised but others have said they have too.

Also, while this does not effect how I feel, about the above projects, I think it is another example of how our government works. I have clients that are being restricted in what they can do because they are several hundred feet away from a section of clover creek that has been diverted away from its original bed and now runs through a concrete channel and is dry 6 or more months of the year. There is a road and a school between them and the creek and their property is on sewer. The only possible concern could be run off, which will be required to be put into drywells anyways and could not possible reach the creek.

Agian, I want to reaffirm that I think the spanaway creek project you are working on may have some benefit, I just am not very confident with the rest of the work being done. I really think it is money that could be better spent else where.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
I grew up around there and if you knew where to fish you could do very good on native cutts and rainbow. It is a pleasure to here that things have changed for the better. My hats off to all who helped with this awesome project. YOU GUYS AND GALS...........ROCK!!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
so back to the initial post... that sounds pretty good eliminating migration barrier increasing habitat etc...

But i have a question not to put a negative tone on it (just truely want to find the answers)... but when these fish come into the lake..... how viable of spawning/rearing habitat is on the upstream portion of creek that flows into the lake? how about all the spiny ray predation on young samon/trout? what about the lake fishing season? if some fish do start inhabitating the lake are regulations/seasons going to need to be changed to protect these salmon or native trout that return? Just a couple questions... does anyone have any idea if these topics were adressed?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
There were a couple of interesting points brought up in the above posts, but please forgive me if I jump all over the place in my responses as I am in a hurry.

I don't usually talk much about it on forums but yes, I am a fisheries biologist and my focus was on restoring salmon runs in WRIAs 10, 11,12 and 15 within Pierce County.

I understand the comments about having better projects (more bang for the buck) than in Clover Creek, but there are actually a lot of considerations that you may not be thinking about. First I'll say that the expenditures are minimal for the results achieved in Clover Creek. Most all the projects that I have completed or have still planned are funded by local municipalities, private donations, and volunteers. These funds were provided specifically because the locals wanted to do something for their watershed. Community involvement even with less than stellar results is priceless. Surprisingly as a result of the projects many more salmon and trout have returned than the experts anticipated. You wouldn't believe how the fish adapt, and we don't give them enough credit for adapting. I was amazed how many salmonids I was able to find in the long culverts that go under the runways at McChord AFB.

As far as the lack of water, habitat destruction, and relocation of the channel, paving of the channel, etc....yes, I am well aware of all of that, and I documented it in the publication I coauthored titile "Limiting Factors Analysis of WRIA 12". You might be surprised at the information that we cataloged in that study of WRIA 12. What you may not know is that we have done projects that have been very effective in restoring flows on Clover Creek, and there is still much more work to do, but it is getting done.

By the way, in some years we have had upwards of 30 spawning coho up beyond the Brookdale golf course. And yes, there have been other years that nothing got up there because of low flows. We have restored portions of the blacktopped stream bottom, and we have relocated the creek back into its original channel on some land where it had been split many years ago to irrigate hops fields. Restoring the creek back into its original channel has helped restore flow.

We have spent much more money and time on the Puyallup and its tributaries, and on the Nisqually and its tribs, and on rivers and streams on the Peninsula. We have opened miles and miles of spawning habitat and rearing habitat. We have restored native vegetation, created woody habitat, and returned creeks like Coal Mine Creek back into their original streambed. We have removed truckloads of discarded tires and planted gravel to restore steelhead spawning grounds (Cannon Creek). We opened oxbows for rearing habitat (Sportsman creek), and have done dozens of other projects on the Puyallup watershed. There is plenty of work to go around. In Pierce County alone I cataloged more than 500 culverts that were barriers to salmonid migration. Each one is a good project to replace with a bridge or fish-friendly culvert.

All projects are assessed to determine the benefit gained for the dollar expended, and then some additonal cultural and political and community aspects are also considered and evaluated. Only rarely have I seen money wasted on projects. On the other hand, I have seen fisheries destroyed by the inaction of others while they study something until it is too late to help the situation, or they never make a decision due to bueracratic paralysis.

As far as any comments about how land can't be used because of concerns about fish or other animals that may be harmed, I agree that we make a lot of "feel good" rules and prevent development for no good reason in many cases. I am one of the seemingly few in Washington that believes we can accomplish development in an environmentally friendly way, and have fish and housing developments both. It takes a realistic view and smart development techniques which have been lacking, and don't necessarily cost more money. For one example, a culvert that allows fish to pass is slightly more expensive up front than one that is undersized and blocks fish passage, but that same undersize culvert will cause flooding and other problems for the development down the road that will be more expensive for the development to correct. Put the right culvert in the stream in the first place, and fish will be happy and homeowners will be more happy as well.

Now back to the original question...there is actually a lot of good spawning water even above Spanaway Lake in Coffee Creek, and around the lake if you are considering sockeye which can spawn on lake shorelines. Don't worry about predation by spiney-rays...it is way overstated and misunderstood. Predation is part of nature, and it is going to happen in the healthiest of systems. Restore the habitat and provide the water and the populations will do fine and all the predators will do fine as well.

OK, I'm out of time for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Was'nt the Chambers creek watershed histroically a ridiculously productive Coho stream? I have read papers stating that upwards of 20k adult Coho once called Chambers home. While we will never see those numbers again because of the urbanization and development within the watershed, enabling even a small run to return would have positive impacts beyond just the number of fish in the stream. I think it is important to have streams with viable salmon populations near developed areas to increase our awarness of the impacts we as people have on the the enviroment at large. It is easy to disregard your impacts to salmon and the the environment when those things only exist "far away". I think these showcase streams should be part of our larger restoration goals for just those reasons. However, the dollars per fish equation is also a valid argument about how restoration funds should be spent. Maybe the answer is to categorize which urban streams should be showcased, ie Chambers, maybe Thornton, Clarks and which should be written off (Hylebos) and thier restoration dollars redirected to watersheds where you could get more bang for your buck. Of course the streams named are up for debate but I think you can see my point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
great answers marc... but what about the need to change regulations? as you know spanaway lake has a lot of put and take trout fisherman that frequent its waters.. will that need to be addressed inorder to protect the few sockeye that may spawn in/above there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
goose, you bring up good points and yes, regulations would have to be changed if for no other reason than to make targeting salmonids illegal. Regulations need to protect any species whose populations are depressed. This aspect is not as difficult as restoring the fisheries, but is still something that can't be taken for granted. It has been several years since I have walked Coffee Creek which goes well up into Ft. Lewis, but as I recall there is lots of spawning and rearing habitat suitable for salmonids, particularly late season runs which historically inhabited this region. By being a late season run the salmon benefitted from the fall rains and high water levels typical of November and December.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top