Cowlitz Hooking Mortality Study 2022

Executive Summary

Proviso Background

The Washington State legislature identified a proviso in the 2021-2023 biennium operating budget for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to complete a final report on the Cowlitz River Hooking Mortality study:

“$90,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2022 is provided solely for the department to complete the final phase of the Cowlitz river salmon and steelhead hook mortality study. No less than $60,000 of the amount provided in this subsection is provided for the original contractor of the study to complete their work. A final report shall be provided to the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 31, 2022.”

The intent of this proviso was to allow WDFW and its contractor Mount Hood Environmental (MHE) to complete analysis and reporting resulting from a three-year field study completed on the Cowlitz River to evaluate the effects of recreational angling on the post-release survival of adult salmon and steelhead. Prior to the 2021-2023 biennium, WDFW and MHE had been funded in 2017-2020, using Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE) funds and subsequently some Fish Program funds to complete the field portion of the study. The goal of the final year proviso was to allow WDFW and MHE to finalize statistical analysis of data collected and prepare a scientific manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.