New Rule Proposal: Designate the entire Skagit River watershed as a Wild Steelhead Management Zone and manage for improving stock abundance, diversity and recovery.
Why the change is needed: This designation will allow ESA listed Skagit River steelhead stocks to recover genetic diversity and a spawning abundance above the WDFW spawner escapement goal. Hatchery steelhead lose 35% productivity each generation (Araki et al. 2008) and returning hatchery adults produce smolts that compete with wild smolts (Kostow 2009). Recent studies show that steelhead stocks recover rapidly when hatchery impacts are removed (Wind, Asotin, Clackamas Rivers). Genetic studies of Skagit steelhead show a significant portion of the spawning population is composed of hatchery fish (Pflug 2012). Thus, a significant proportion of the Skagit wild steelhead populations are subject to competition from hatchery fish on the spawning grounds, genetic threats from interbreeding, and loss of productivity from competition with hatchery-origin juveniles. Models (Chilcote et al. 2011) show moderate levels of hatchery introgression and competition with wild fish greatly reduces wild stock productivity. Removing hatchery fish, recovering the early wild run, protecting resident steelhead (rainbow trout) (Christie et al 2011) and increasing the number of repeat spawners will recover Skagit stocks above the needed spawner escapements in a few generations.
Names of individuals or groups with whom you have discussed this change: Wild Steelhead Coalition, Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee, The Conservation Angler.
Describe their support and/or concerns:
Support similar or identical proposal
Submitted by: GAYESKI (WILD FISH CONSERVANCY, NICK J — DUVALL, WA
Date submitted: 06/14/2012
WDFW Rule Proposal Recommendation
Not Recommended for further consideration Reference ID: DFW756541
This is not a rule proposal, thus does not meet the criteria.
Online Public Comments(1 comments)
URABECK, FRANK January 29, 2013 BONNEY LAKE, WA Comments: This proposal should get no further consideration