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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Check this link out, it's the final 2007 spreadsheet of all the fish trucked around Mud Mountain Dam.

http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/PublicMen ... Totals.pdf

It looks like the Chinook return is now above what the restoration goals are for the watershed. I believe this has been the case for the last few years as well. Hopefully the state and tribes can work out an agreement so that sportsmen and women can legally target these fish in the White River itself, instead of having the allowable non-tribal impact be allocated to saltwater fisheries. The White is a salmon restoration success story, but you don't hear too much about it, I wonder why? FYI- All those Coho are wild and since the fish ladder at the pipeline crossing was removed, Pinks have exploded into the upper basin.

Oh, I also see that someone has stolen my screen name since I last posted here, oh well.

The original Big Nookie'
 

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I sure would like to see the WDFW publicly comment on what thier goals are for this river.

There are more than enough coho/pinks to open up a fishery and allow catch and release of wild chinook. Yet it seems that it continues to be their excuse to not open the Puyallup until Sep 1.

That reminds me, I need to redue my tag line.
 

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BN,

The White River is quite a fish restoration story. Shows very well the benefits of identifying the proximate causes of fish decline and then fixing those problems. The Lake Tapps water diversion was screened in the late 1980s (the former screens were not functional). The Corps fixed its fish killing water outlet valve at Mud Mountain Dam in 1995. Puget Sound Energy increased the instream flow for the White River bypass reach from 30 cfs to 130 cfs in 1986, then to a range from 130 to 300 in 1998, and then shut down their hydropower project in 2004, putting almost all the natural flow back into the White River. The message seems to be: build habitat and the fish will come.

It's not really that simple. If you look closely at the spreadsheet, you'll see that almost all the returning chinook are from the hatchery contributions of the Muckleshoot Tribal hatchery and WDFW Minter Creek hatchery's preservation stock of White River chinook. Only 43 of those chinook (shown near the bottom of the page) are NORs (Natural Origin Recruits). Consequently, the river actually hasn't achieved the chinook restoration goals. Other salmon and steelhead have recovered on their own, with no hatchery supplementation. The chinook run, however, was down to only 8 returning adult fish in 1978, which is when the fish were taken to Minter Creek hatchery as a preservation measure. The message seems to be that the habitat is still not in the condition it needs to be to support an abundant naturally self-sustaining spring chinook population. And maybe it never will be again. I don't think anyone knows.

And BTW, the Corps' spreadsheet only enumerates the fish that enter the trap and are hauled upstream of Mud Mountain Dam (or to the MIT hatchery). With an abundant instream flow in the lower 21 miles of the White River, many salmon and hopefully more than a few steelhead, have recolonized the formerly dewatered lower White River as well. Unfortunately the White River is so turbid in the summer months, it isn't possible to get an accurate survey of salmon use of this section.

Sincerely,

Salmo g.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Always good to see you weigh in on a topic Salmo G. Your statement that the river does not support many NOR's is correct, at least not in the upper river. Personally I find it unlikely that these fish have enough of the runs original gene pool to make a complete comeback anytime soon. Historical data shows that the peak run time for the White Rver stck has moved nearly 2 months later in the year from from it's original peak. One can only assume that the all the usual suspects contributed to this shift. Regardless of their origin, (NOR or outplanted smolts) these fish are as numerous now as they were in the mid to late 1940's, the highest returns recorded. What the run size was prior to the development/rape of the watershed, which was well underway by the 40's, I can only speculate. Personally I would like to see some studies done on some of the lower tributaries, Boise creek in particular, and to what extent the lower channel of the river is utilized by spawning Chinook and Chum. Boise creek in particular piques my interest because at first glance it does not seem to be hospitible to the spawning and rearing of Salmonids(incised, farm/golf course runoff and lack of shade) But for some reason it does support fairly large numbers of Coho, Chinook and now of course Pinks.
 

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I was curious about those NOR,s, there seems to be quite a discrepency between what the USACE reports and what the Puyallup Tribe reports on their latest annual report they claim that there are around two thousand NOR,s, there is probably a perfectly logical explanation but it would be interesting to know what it is.

Here is a link to the first part of their annual report, this part deals with the Buckley trap, there is also some interesting info on Boise Creek, the numbers on their report are for 06 but the NOR,s for that year are about the same.

http://www.nwifc.org/recovery/documents ... oClear.pdf
 

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BN,

Since early timed spring chinook are not doing well anywhere in PS rivers, I assume that early White River springer NORs are not recovering in good numbers because of similar environmental reasons. Further, because WR springers were nearly extirpated as a stock and population, there could also be a genetic component that favors the return timing that is more summer than spring. Still, I'm encouraged that the hatchery program has been successful at increasing the numbers overall, so that future natural production at least has a chance.

Jetsled,

I think all the MIT hatchery releases are adipose clipped smolts. Some are yearlings, and some are released as sub-yearlings. The hatchery juveniles released from the upper river imprinting ponds are also marked, but I'm not sure if it's a different mark than the ad clip. I should know this - must be senior moment.

Strawberry,

The number of NORs varies each year as does the hatchery return. I haven't looked at the PIT report yet. Boise Creek is interesting. It's been pretty well trashed, but fish keep returning to it.

Sg
 
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