MARCH 1996 NUMBER 24
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. FEDERAL Farm Bill II. REGIONAL Salvage Logging Fish Habitat Impacts What Is Salvage Logging Slide Study Groups Call For Halt to Logging III. ALASKA ADFG Questions Forest Practices Call For Timber Monitoring IV. CALIFORNIA Trinity River Flow Study Public Meetings V. WASHINGTON Washington Dams Under Scrutiny Elwha River ACTION Due March 16, 1996 Skokomish River Comments Due March 29, 1996 VI. MISCELLANEOUS EPA Videos on Water Quality Endangered Species Poster Hotline Survey Response VII. UPDATES
First passed in 1985, the Food Security Act, or Farm Bill, was an important step in putting environmental guidelines and funding incentives into agricultural practices. The Swampbuster and Wetlands Reserve Programs provide wetlands protection, Sodbuster discourages cultivation of "new" highly erodible soil. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) encourages farmers to enroll highly erodible land into the reserve for 10-15 years.
IN THE SENATE: Senators Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Bob Dole (R-Kan.) introduced S. 1541 the "Freedom to Farm Act." This bill to reauthorize the Farm Bill was passed by a vote of 64 to 32 on February 8, 1996.
The Conservation Title (Title III) of S. 1541 reauthorizes some programs and includes new programs beneficial to water quality as follows:
S. 1541 does contain one provision, sponsored by Senator Hank Brown (R-Colo.), that has conservationists alarmed. The Brown amendment would drastically reduce federal protections for streams on Forest Service lands by eliminating the USFS's ability to require water users (cities, states, private) to leave minimal flows for fish and wildlife.
IN THE HOUSE, H.R. 2854 introduced by Representative Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), passed the House on February 29, 1996 by a vote of 270-155. Conservation program amendments to H.R. 2854 were sponsored by Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), and passed by a vote of 372-37. This language, while similar to S. 1541, is not as strong. It includes an extension of the Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Programs, and an appropriation for the Livestock Environmental Assistance Program (LEAP) program. LEAP provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who conduct management practices that protect water, soil or related resources from degradation due to livestock production.
CURRENT STATUS: *****As We Go To Press**** A Conference Committee to iron out the differences between the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill may begin the week of March 10.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Agricultural impacts on water quality can be significant. The final Farm Bill must contain conservation language which helps ensure salmonid recovery. Conservation groups will push for Senate conservation title language minus the Brown amendment. According to Steve Moyer of Trout Unlimited:
The Senate bill has good programs to help salmon and trout on private lands, including more wetlands protection, more riparian protection, and more nutrient management programs. However, on the down side, the Senate bill has the Brown amendment.
Since state laws, especially western state laws, are not fish friendly, the result [of the Brown amendment] will be substantial dewatering of streams, and associated reductions in sport fishing and the burgeoning recreation and tourism industries and sport fishing supports in the West. It is vital that this amendment be removed in conference.
Write Your Congressperson: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515; and U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; or call the House of Representatives switchboard at (202) 225-3121; and the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
To register your opinion with the President on the Farm Bill or any other issue call the White House Comment Line at (202) 456-1111.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission is on the INTERNET. Visit our HOME PAGE, which includes the Habitat Hotline, at our NEW ADDRESS: http://www.psmfc.org
SPECIAL SECTION -- THE SALVAGE RIDER
SALVAGE LOGGING CAUSES
On July 27, 1995 President Clinton signed the Recissions Bill (H.R. 1158) with its controversial salvage logging rider (Section 2001). The rider was sponsored by, among others, Representatives Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), Jim Bunn (R-Ore.), and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).
The provisions in the salvage logging rider are supported by timber interests, and opposed by the environmental community and many fishing groups. There have been protests at some of the potential logging sites, with numerous arrests.
At the time of its passage, President Clinton didn't like the handling of environmental provisions in the bill, but did say that the new proposal gave his Administration more flexibility in carrying out "timber salvage activities consistent with the spirit and intent of our forest plans and all existing environmental laws."
Unfortunately, after several court decisions (in particular, decisions rendered by U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan) the salvage rider has been used to avoid all applicable federal laws on salvage and non-salvage timber sales and block legal challenges to salvage and old growth logging. The bill allows cutting of the "318 sales" that have been held up for the past 5 years because of environmental concerns (over the marbled murrelet and spotted owl old growth habitat). The salvage rider exempts these cuts from the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal environmental laws. Also, salvage rider logging is exempt from riparian protection standards as laid out in the Clinton Forest Plan and PACFISH (i.e. 300 foot riparian buffer strips on fish bearing streams). [See Habitat Hotline #18.]
Some highlights of the rider (adapted from "Summary of Section 2001 The Salvage Logging Rider To The 1995 Recissions Bill"):
FISH HABITAT IMPACTS
On October 3, 1995, William Stelle, Northwest Regional Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), wrote to the Bureau of Land Management (Elaine Zielinski) and the U.S. Forest Service (John Lowe), regarding the 318 sales that were released by the salvage logging amendment. In that letter, NMFS requested that all 318 sales be subjected to "aquatic screens" to ensure that proposed anadromous fish species would not be jeopardized. Where the screens indicate it is appropriate, the sales should be modified to minimize adverse affects to anadromous fish and other aquatic resources.
Said William Stelle in the letter:
NMFS does not have information on the exact locations and configurations of 318 timber sales other than the five Umpqua National Forest sales covered by the conference report. However, based on what we learned during that conference, NMFS assumes that if other 318 timber sales, particularly those located in tier 1 key watersheds established in the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), are not modified to minimize or avoid adverse effects identified in the screening process, then jeopardy to proposed species is likely to result.
Below is NMFS's listing of the watersheds and fish species of concern* on Forest Service and BLM land, affected by the sales as released by the salvage logging rider (attachment dated September 25, 1995, to William Stelle letter of October 3, 1995):
* Current status of fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act: Oregon Coast coho salmon is proposed by NMFS as threatened; Snake River chinook salmon are listed as threatened and proposed as endangered; Klamath Province steelhead trout are proposed as threatened, and Umpqua cutthroat trout are proposed as endangered.
NMFS Scientist Questions Proposed Sales: Below are portions from the sworn declaration of Jacqueline V. Wyland, Ph.D., Chief of Environmental and Technical Services Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, Portland, Oregon, on October 13, 1995:
Listed Snake River fall chinook salmon occur in the Grande Ronde River. Historic estimates for fall chinook salmon in this river are unavailable. However, current populations are below self-sustaining levels. Fall chinook spawning success in the Grande Ronde River probably is limited by sedimentation of spawning habitat, loss of pool habitat, and winter icing of the river. These effects are largely due to land management activities both within and outside of the national forest system. Forest management in headwater areas is likely to have increased peak flows and channel disturbance, degrading fall chinook habitat.
Since the Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon were listed as threatened in 1992, NMFS has conducted numerous consultations with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. One of the first formal consultations evaluated eleven timber sales in the Upper Grande Ronde River watershed. The Forest Service has identified nine of those same sales as ones that could be released with their pre- consultation terms [under the salvage rider].... By allowing these sales to be released with their pre-consultation terms, the level of incidental taking of these listed salmon species will be increased at a time when their condition is particularly precarious. If these nine sales are released with only their pre-consultation terms, their environmental effects could jeopardize the continued existence of the Upper Grande Ronde River populations of spring/summer chinook salmon. These salmon are an important component of the remnant population of Grand Ronde River spring/summer chinook, which would also be put at greater risk of extinction.
Regarding Chetco River sales:
Logging these sales as originally planned will likely result in significant cumulative adverse effects to adjacent and downstream habitats for KMP steelhead and coho salmon due to the small size of the watershed, the large number of timber harvest units in the watershed, the watershed's steep slopes and unconsolidated soils, and inadequate riparian protection provided by the original timber sale designs.
Regarding Umpqua River sales:
Stream buffers included in the timber sale layout for Dead Middleman [one of several sales] are inadequate to protect fisheries and aquatic resources. Unit 1 contains a 700-foot long segment of fish bearing (second order) stream that would receive only a 25-foot buffer. The seven total timber sale units also have approximately 10,000 feet of unbuffered first- and second-order streams. Although many are intermittent, some are very likely fish-bearing streams during part of the year. The fish-bearing streams contain resident cutthroat trout, which are included in the ESU proposed as "threatened."....The aggregate effects of this timber sale, when combined with the effects of other Forest Service and BLM 318' timber sales in the South Fork, would adversely affect the anadromous fish resources of the South Fork, particularly Umpqua cutthroat trout [emphasis added].
According to the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund:
...under the logging without laws rider, the Forest Service is defying the expert wildlife agencies and permitting logging that would not withstand scrutiny under our environmental laws. Before the rider, the Forest service took some care in developing salvage sales because it knew the public was watching and that it might have to answer for its actions to a court of law. While there were disputes over whether forest health would be served by logging in many instances, the Forest Service often provided that no roads would be built in roadless areas and only dead or significantly burned trees would be taken.
Under the logging without laws rider, the Forest Service is abandoning that sense of caution. For example, it has advertised the Thunderbolt timber sale on the Payette and Boise forests in Idaho to log an area that has long been off-limits to logging because the rivers are so heavily degraded. In the mid-1960's, as a result of past heavy logging, landslides destroyed the aquatic habitat of the South Fork of the Salmon River. Restoration is needed, not logging. Indeed, that is what both the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Environmental Protection Agency told the Forest Service when they reviewed the sale. The Forest Service, in blatant disregard of their expert opinions, plans to go forward with the sale in order to obtain some revenues to pay for restoration. Even the Forest Service admits, however, that it will obtain far too little money to pay for what is needed.
RESPONSE TO LEGISLATION
Environmental groups charged that the rider is a blatant attempt to override current law protecting old growth habitat. It has become referred to as "logging without laws." Following the court decisions, it became clear that the salvage rider could pose possible harm to anadromous fish habitat and listed species. Support for its repeal has grown considerably. Below is a sampling of some of the opposition to the salvage logging law:
Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations:
Section 318 sales are "clustered" in areas where coho salmon, searun cutthroat and steelhead stocks are the most seriously depressed and are ESA candidate species, including several runs of vital importance to both commercial and recreational fisheries. The US government as well as the State of Oregon is spending tens of millions of dollars trying to rescue these fish from extinction while simultaneously several "section 318" sales will likely seriously damage or utterly extinguish some of these remnant runs [emphasis added]. If these sales proceed it will make a coastwide ESA listing of coho salmon far more likely, and recovery efforts far more difficult, which will mean more coastal fishing closures in order to protect these weak stocks, and tens of millions of dollars more loss to our [fishing] industry.
Representative Elizabeth Furse (D-Ore.):
"Momentum is growing in opposition to the havoc that the rider is causing in our forests nationwide. I hope Congressional leaders and the Administration take note of the widespread support for repeal."
Jennifer M. Belcher, Commissioner of Public Lands, State of Washington (Letter to President Clinton dated 1/16/96):
The rider effectively shifts the burden of protecting listed species (and as yet unlisted species such as salmon) onto non-federal lands and forces your administration to review its promise to provide the bulk of protection on federal public lands. The rider creates a double standard that exempts the federal agencies from complying with the ESA and all other environmental and public land laws, while continuing to hold non-federal landowners to the highest conservation standards. The rider may have the effect of causing the downlisting of spotted owls and marbled murrelets and, with fewer protection options and a more critical listing status, a species recovery will be more difficult and state lands will be even more heavily burdened than before.
Vera Katz, Mayor, and members of the Portland City Council, (Letter to President Clinton dated 12/13/95):
Over the past few months, the atmosphere surrounding the issue of federal forest management has taken on the same kind of divisiveness, animosity and confusion that prevailed when you visited Portland in 1993 to convene the Forest Conference. We believe that the remarkable promise that your Forest Plan held for a workable resolution was critically undermined by the extraneous provision in this year's recissions bill that exempted numerous controversial timber sales from applicable environmental laws.
NOW WHAT: Legislation to repeal the rider (H.R. 2745) has been introduced in the House by Representatives Elizabeth Furse (D-Ore.) and Constance Morella (D-MD). The "Restoration of Natural Resource Laws on Public Lands Act of 1995" would totally repeal, if passed, the salvage rider. As of February 15, 1996, the bill currently has over 122 sponsors. West Coast sponsors include:
George Brown D CA Jim McDermott D WA Nancy Pelosi D CA Maxine Waters D CA Robert Matsui D CA Howard Berman D CA Ron Dellums D CA Lynn Woolsey D CA Sam Farr D CA Julian Dixon D CA Jane Harman D CA George Miller D CA Pete Stark D CA Henry Waxman D CA Anthony Beilenson D CA Lucille D CA Roybal-Allard Anna Eshoo D CA Xavier Becerra D CA Bob Filner D CA Zoe Lofgren D CA Tom Lantos D CA Matthew Martinez D CA
***** AS WE GO TO PRESS ***** In the Senate, on March 5, Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), citing that the current salvage law is "overkill", introduced her version of a salvage logging repeal bill. Reportedly this more moderate bill would allow court challenges under environmental law, allow substitution of timber from less sensitive areas, and allow buyout of federal contracts. It could be attached as a rider to FY 1996 appropriation legislation. Legislation similar to the Furse bill was introduced from Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) on March 6.
President Clinton said on February 24, 1996 that his Administration supports repealing the law's provisions that reopened old-growth logging in Oregon and Washington. President Clinton said, "The timber rider, as it applies to old-growth forests, has...undermined our balance approach to growing the economy, having responsible logging, and preserving the environment."
On February 28, 1996 Senators Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) and Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) announced that they would seek an extension of the salvage-logging law. The reason for the extension is that timber companies claim they do not have enough time to harvest the sales before the Salvage Rider deadline of December 31, 1996 expires. The Senator's plan also would give the Clinton Administration the option of buying out old growth sales or replacement wood if the timber companies involved agree. Moneys for buyouts will reportedly come from existing the U.S. Forest Service budget. In other words, no new appropriations will be included.
The Hatfield/Gorton salvage language could be attached to an appropriations bill.
On a somewhat positive note, some timber companies have said they will refrain from logging the controversial sales if they are allowed to cut in areas less sensitive to logging.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Providing wood products to timber mills to employ timber workers is important. However, it is short sighted to allow timber harvest activity in areas where fish stocks are either listed or proposed to be listed as endangered or threatened species -- this is true especially when biologists from numerous federal agencies advise against these sales. Riparian protection zones as outlined in PACFISH and the Clinton Forest Plan must be left in place.
Write Your Congressperson: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515; and U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; or call the House of Representatives switchboard at (202) 225-3121; and the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
To register your opinion on the salvage program or any other issue, you can call the WHITE HOUSE COMMENT LINE at (202) 456-1111.
For Further Information Contact: the Association of Forest Service Employees For Environmental Ethics at (541) 482-2692; Pacific Rivers Council at (541) 345-0119, or the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations at (541) 689-2000.
WHAT IS SALVAGE LOGGING
Excerpted from an article by Tim Foss, a wilderness ranger in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness based out of Cle-Elum, Washington. (Source: Inner Voice, Volume 8, Issue 1, published by the Association of Forest Service Employees For Environmental Ethics):
When the huge fires of 1994 were finally mopped up and the last of the emergency rehabilitation projects were completed, many shell-shocked national forests settled down to the work of forest recovery. They faced an important first choice: get on with traditional timber salvage, or wade into the fuzzy world of ecosystem restoration. Straight timber salvage represents a comfortable, well-worn approach. You gear up a timber sale organization just like in the good old days, cut as many dead trees as economically feasible, and reforest. Simple. But it's highly contentious, and there are a lot of nagging questions about what effect it really has on the ecosystem.
We [interdisciplinary team for the recovery of the Tyee fire on the Wenatchee National Forest] discussed ecosystem management at some length, finally groping our way to the following set of concepts, much like other western forests:
In a study released in March of last year, entitled "Wildfire and Salvage Logging", a scientific team assembled by the Pacific Rivers Council, concluded that:
There is no ecological need for management treatments after fires, there is generally no need for urgency, nor is there a universal, ecologically-based need to act at all. By acting quickly, we run the risk of creating new problems before we solve the old ones. Ecologically speaking, fires do not require a rapid human response. We should not talk about a "fire crisis" but rather of managing the landscape with the anticipation that fire will eventually occur. Given the high degree of variability and high uncertainty about the impacts of post-fire responses, a conservative approach is warranted, particularly on sites susceptible to on-site erosion.
Salvage logging should be prohibited in sensitive areas.
Logging of sensitive areas is often associated with accerated erosion and soil compaction (Marsten and Haire 1990), and inherently involves the removal of large wood which in itself has multiple roles in recovery. Salvage logging may decrease plant regeneration, by mechanical damage and change in micro-climate. Finally, logging is likely to have unanticipated consequences concerning micro-habitat for species that are associated with recovery, e.g., soil microbes. Salvage logging by any method must be prohibited on sensitive sites, including: in severely burned areas (areas with litter destruction), on erosive sites, on fragile soils, in roadless area, in riparian areas, on steep slopes, any site where accelerated erosion is possible, and watersheds with existing serious sedimentation problems (e.g., South Fork Salmon River, Idaho).
STUDY LINKS SLIDES TO
ROADS AND CLEARCUTS
Recent flooding in the Northwest caused mud slides, sending torrents of debris and silt down many Northwest streams. Numerous reports are associating increased slide activity with clear cuts and road building. The Pacific Rivers Council, in association with Pacific Watershed Associates of Arcata, California, recently released a preliminary assessment entitled "Post-Storm Aerial Reconnaissance of the Middle Oregon Cascades and Middle Coast Range" (prepared by William Weaver, Ph.D.) Below are some excerpts from that report:
On February 14-15 Pacific Watershed Associates of Arcata, California, conducted an aerial survey of storm damage in the Middle Oregon Cascades and Middle Coast Range. The purpose of the reconnaissance was to provide an immediate post-storm assessment of the nature, magnitude and spatial distribution of watershed erosion and impacts to stream channels which serve as habitat for anadromous salmonids, resident trout and other riparian resources.
Rivers and watershed areas reviewed in the Cascades included portions of the North Fork Willamette River, the McKenzie River and the Santiam River basin. In the Coast Range, a number of mountainous areas were also reviewed, including portions of the Smith River basin, the Siuslaw River, the Alsea River, the Yakima River and several small coastal watersheds which drain directly to the Pacific Ocean between Reedsport and Waldport.
Damage is widespread and highly variable from watershed to watershed and is not limited to the human infrastructure. Many rivers and stream channels have received extensive new deposits of both organic debris and fresh sediment. Some streams have been impacted much more than others. Some new organic debris may be beneficial in the long run, but the heavy sediment deposition in some rivers and streams is likely to affect channel morphology and aquatic habitat for decades.
The cause of variations in the extent of watershed damage from basin to basin is under investigation. The greatest concentration of landsliding and watershed damage occurred or originated in recently clear cut areas and in areas with logging roads built on steep slopes. However, not all managed areas were heavily impacted.
It appears that the greatest damage occurred in watersheds with a combination of steep slopes and/or unstable bedrock geology, recent harvesting, high road densities (or roads built on steep slopes) and within an altitude range where precipitation intensities were probably the greatest (1500 feet for the Coast Range and 3000 feet for the Cascades). In the absence of recent land management (roads and clear cutting), it appears that similar watershed areas experienced much less severe damage.
In some watersheds, stream channels have been heavily impacted with sediment and logs.
Wilderness areas and unmanaged slope areas showed comparably little storm damage and impacts.
Land use (clear cutting and road building) in some areas and sub-basins has a high risk of resulting in landsliding and stream channel damage. Some types of land use activities may be inappropriate in these areas.
Road construction by side casting on steep slopes is hazardous and will result in greatly increased rates of landsliding and stream sedimentation.
The impacts of coarse sediment introduced into streams and rivers by landsliding and road failures may persist for decades, depending on transport rates.
The impacts to lower, larger streams and rivers may actually increase over the near term (next several years) as sediment from the headwater areas is moved downstream and deposited in lower gradient reaches.
Many road systems and road segments that have not yet failed can still be proactively treated (upgraded or decommissioned) so they do not fail during future storms.
Prevention of landslides from harvested (clear cut) slopes is dependent on the recognition and avoidance of sites with high risk characteristics.
For a Copy of the Preliminary Assessment, contact the Pacific Rivers Council at (541) 345-0119.
GROUPS CALL FOR HALT TO LOGGING
Pacific Rivers Council (PRC) and the Pacific Federation of Fishermen's Associations on February 26, 1996 called for an emergency halt to road building, timber harvest, grazing, mining, and other activities on public lands. The groups said watershed damage, caused by recent floods, washed out logging roads and caused landslides on clearcuts on Northwest national forests. According to PRC Executive Director Bob Doppelt:
We call on the President, Congress and the Northwest Governors to declare a state of emergency on our public lands and to institute an immediate moratorium on future activities until a scientifically credible forest and watershed restoration program is adopted. The recent storm unveiled the severely degraded conditions of the public lands. Forest hillsides and roads blew out, streams and fish habitat are hammered, and water pollution and sedimentation is excessive. The Forest Service's own study and an assessment done for PRC by a top scientific consulting firm, confirm this.
According to Glen Spain, NW Regional Director of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations:
Our watersheds have been devastated by the recent floods and most salmon recovery efforts have been set back for years. In the mean time, we have things going on in the forest such as salvage sales, that will just make things worse. The only thing that makes sense is to take a deep breath and halt all activities until we know how bad the damage has been.
For Further Information Contact: Pacific Rivers Council at (541) 345-0119; Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (541) 689-2000.
ADFG QUESTIONS FOREST PRACTICES
This past January, the Alaska Departments of Fish and Game (ADFG), Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Natural Resources (Division of Forestry) (DNR/DOF) gave their annual reports to the Alaska Board of Forestry (Board). The purpose of these reports was to update the Board on how the Alaska Forest Practices Act (FPA/AFRPA/Act), passed in 1990, is working. In section 41.17.115 of the FPA, "Intent For Riparian Areas", the following is stated:
Sec. 41.17.115. Intent For Riparian Areas. The commissioner shall protect riparian areas from the significant adverse effects of timber harvest activities on fish habitat and water quality. The management intent from riparian areas is the adequate preservation of fish habitat by maintaining a short- and long-term source of large woody debris, stream bank stability, channel morphology, water temperatures, stream flows, water quality, adequate nutrient cycling, food sources, clean spawning gravels, and sunlight. The commissioner shall adopt regulations for the protection of riparian areas; the regulations may include higher standards of protection for fish and other public resources on land managed by the department than on other public lands or private land. The regulations may vary by region of the state and must take into consideration reasonable classification of water bodies and the economic feasibility of timber operations.
Unfortunately, it appears that forest practices on state and private lands in Alaska may be falling short in protecting aquatic resources. In their report to the Board, ADFG said the following:
After more than five years of trying to implement the Act successfully, and now several years with regulations and other procedures in place, ADF&G staff are uniformly of the belief that the implementation of the FPA remains seriously deficient [emphasis added]. By this we mean that there are sections of the Act and Regulations that work against each other, or simply do not provide what we believe was the level of protection originally envisioned by the Act's authors. This is particularly true for fish habitat in riparian areas. We believe this is because a lack of funding for day-to-day field participation and lack of monitoring make it difficult to assess the FPA's effectiveness to protect the resources (especially fish and wildlife) for which ADF&G has statutory authority. This is true under all land ownerships.
Under the FPA, we can anticipate a continued degradation in the abundance, quality, and availability to humans of non-timber resources. Although fisheries issues are better addressed than wildlife, the risks to fisheries on private lands (where some channel types of some anadromous streams receive only partial buffers) still remain high. In fact, even on federal lands, where fisheries protection measures are more stringent than those on private lands, a panel of experts has recommended "additional measures to reduce the risk to fish habitat capability on the Tongass National Forest" (Anadromous Fish Habitat Assessment, U.S. Forest Service, January 1995) [see Habitat Hotline Number 19].
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation also raised concerns about Alaska Forest Practices:
DEC has major concerns relating to the effectiveness of the state forest practices program that needs attention and action by the Board of Forestry. DEC concerns relate primarily to reduced staff and fiscal resources to the state resources agencies, from 1991 levels, that compromise the ability of the agencies to fully carry out AFRPA provisions and requirements.
DEC's primary concern is that full effectiveness of the AFRPA, as envisioned by the authors and supporters of the law, cannot be fully realized unless there is appropriate state resources agency field oversight. While BMPs [Best Management Practices] are designed to meet state water standards, limited resource agency field presence results in limited and selective enforcement of the AFRPA requirements, and begs the question on whether all AFRPA resource objectives are fully being met in the field.
For example, the DEC's ability to determine the effectiveness of the AFRPA in protecting water quality on private and state lands was significantly compromised in the 1993, 1994, and 1995 field seasons by the fact that the DEC does not have sufficient forest practices field personnel to verify if water quality objectives are being met.
The report does not come as a surprise to those familiar with Alaska forest management on Alaska's state and private lands. According to Riki Ott, Habitat Chair of the United Fishermen of Alaska:
Since passage of the act, there has been little attention to implementation in the field, to monitoring compliance on individual timber sales where it really matters. Do the current required logging practices actually protect fish and wildlife habitat? Water quality? Nobody knows. Without information, we cannot practice sustainable forestry.
The Department of Forestry does not seem to share AKDEC and ADFG concerns, in their 1995 Forest Practices Compliance and Enforcement Report they state:
Only four violation actions occurred this year, down from nine in 1994...No elevations [a process where a timber cut can be contested] occurred, indicating that there is strong agreement among the resource agencies on policies and procedures for implementing the Act.
However, The Alaska Department of Forestry reported some good news in that the number of variations applications received in 1995 declined by 44 percent statewide. Variations can be requested for a timber harvest activity when the timber operator wishes to remove trees in the riparian zone, for example.
NOW WHAT: In response to the meeting, Alaska Governor Tony Knowles created a Forest Practices Task Force to help "provide policy direction on implementation of the Forest Practices Act." The Board of Forestry has also set up a committee to review fish habitat issue concerns. A report is due from this committee by July 1, 1996.
GROUPS CALL FOR TIMBER MONITORING
In Related News, United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) and the Alaska Forum For Environmental Responsibility recently released their proposal entitled "Timber Observer Program: A Proposal For Monitoring Timber Harvests on Public and Private Lands." Below are some excerpts from their proposal:
When the Forest Resources and Practices Act (FPA) was amended in 1990, it was heralded as a great piece of consensus legislation. For two years, major stakeholders, including the forest products industry, the seafood industry, the tourism industry, recreational and subsistence users and environmentalists, had worked to craft a bill that was acceptable to all. There were major compromises at the time and, in retrospect, there were serious oversights. Resource management would benefit from another major overhaul of the act based on our collective experiences since its reform.
Until the FPA can be updated to meet current needs, at a minimum, the law should be fully and properly implemented. A significant failing of the FPA is that the consensus process ended with passage of the bill: there was no follow-through process to ensure that implementation of the act met the expectations of all parties involved in amending the law. Unfortunately five years after passage, there is a great difference of opinion on the successes of the FPA. While the forest products industry seems to think the FPA is working fine, the other stakeholders do not.
One of the central problems for many of the dissatisfied parties is that the monitoring regulations of the FPA are not being fulfilled.
To address this concern, the United Fishermen of Alaska recommended creation of a Timber Observation Program as a first year priority to the Knowles Administration. In January 1995 the Fisheries Policy Transition Team adopted this recommendation, specifically establishing "a Timber Observer Program to train observers to monitor timber industry operations as a first-year action to protect fisheries habitat statewide."
In the year since this recommendation was made, the Alaska Forum and the UFA have developed the "Timber Observer Program" into a proposal for improving monitoring of timber harvest operations on all lands to ensure short and long term protection of fish habitat, water quality and wildlife. Key elements of this proposal are:
The overall goal of this paper is to have the Alaska Department of Fish and Game be fully funded to be the lead agency in the design, implementation, and monitoring of these programs for compliance with the FPA. ADF&G should seek input from ADEC as the lead agency on protection of water quality, and USFS, DNR/DOF, ADGC and the Boards of Fish, Game and Forestry.
For Further Information: Riki Ott, United Fishermen of Alaska Habitat Chair at (907) 424-3915; Alaska Forum For Environmental Responsibility at (907) 835-5460. Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Habitat and Restoration Division at (907) 465-4105.
TRINITY RIVER FLOW EVALUATION FLOW STUDY PUBLIC MEETINGS
In October 1984, a 12-year study was begun to investigate the effectiveness of increased flows and other habitat rehabilitation measures for restoring fish populations on the Trinity River.
The draft Flow Evaluation Study report will soon be distributed to the public.
Meetings on the Trinity River Restoration Program's Flow Evaluation study are scheduled for March and April (see page 14). The meetings will give the public a chance to provide feedback on the draft report. (A summary of the findings will be provided to meetings attendees.)
For Further Information Contact: Bernice Sullivan of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 916-979-2745, ext. 346; Friends of the Trinity River at (415) 389-1300.
In Related News: Legislation reauthorizing the Trinity River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management Act of 1984, (H.R. 2243), sponsored by Rep. Frank Riggs (R.-Calif.), passed the House by a vote of 412 - 0 on December 12, 1995. This legislation would reauthorize funds used for restoration of fish and wildlife in the Trinity River basin over the next three years. H.R. 2243 makes some changes to the law. For instance, the bill would clarify that the program is meant to restore fish in the ocean, as well as in the Trinity River basin.
For Further Information Contact: Friends of the Trinity River, (415) 389-1300.
Trinity River Flow Meeting Schedule
DATE TIME LOCATION CITY ADDRESS March 25 10:00 am Karuk Tribe Orleans, CA March 25 6:00 pm - 8:00 Eureka Inn Eureka, CA pm 518 Seventh St. March 26 6:00 pm - 8:00 Neighborhood Facility Gym Hoopa, CA pm Highway 96 March 27 6:00 pm - 8:00 Victoria Inn Weaverville, CA pm Highway 299 March 28 6:00 pm - 8:00 Elk Lodge Willows, CA pm April 2 6:00 pm - 8:00 Ramada Inn Fresno, CA pm 324 E. Shaw April 3 6:00 pm - 8:00 Corps of Engineers Sausalito, CA pm Bay Delta Model Facility April 4 6:00 pm - 8:00 S.W. Oregon Community Coos Bay, OR pm College Empire Hall
WASHINGTON DAMS UNDER SCRUTINY
The future of two Washington State watersheds impacted by hydroelectric projects are currently being debated. The Elwha and Glines dams and Cushman Project (Skokomish River) have significantly impacted anadromous fish.
The Elwha River was once considered the most productive anadromous fish river on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. That changed in 1911 when the Elwha dam was built. This facility did not include fish passage and blocked most of the drainage's spawning habitat. Because of the loss of 93 percent of its historic habitat, populations of Elwha River salmon have been severely reduced, and in some cases lost entirely.
In 1992, Congress passed the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. The purpose of the act is to undertake the "full restoration" of the ecosystem and anadromous fish runs that historically inhabited the Elwha River. Because habitat above the dam is in the Olympic
National Park and is therefore in excellent condition, dam removal was thought to have a great potential for increased salmon production.
Following the 1994 congressional election, the chances of returning the Elwha River to its natural condition seemed remote. However, with the June 1995 release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (the programmatic FEIS), the impending release of the draft implementation EIS, as well as continued advocacy by a broad coalition of tribes, environmental, commercial and sport fishing groups, the companies that own the dams and use their power, and the State of Washington, the issue of removal is still on the table. However, despite this support, project removal is still in question.
According to the "Elwha River Ecosystem Restoration" FEIS:
...the Department of the Interior finds, consistent with congressional intent expressed in the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102-495)..., a need to fully restore the native anadromous fisheries and Elwha River ecosystem. For the purposes of Elwha River restoration, "full restoration" is interpreted by the Department of Interior to mean re-establishment of natural physical and biological ecosystem processes, including recovery of the terrestrial and riverine habitat currently inundated by the reservoirs. Since the wildlife habitat and river upstream of the dams are in nearly pristine condition, removing the dams and fully restoring the 10 runs of salmon and trout would fully restore the Elwha River ecosystem [emphasis added].
APPROPRIATIONS: Restoration of the Elwha River will depend on sufficient funding for purchase of the dams which is estimated at $29.5 million dollars. Full restoration, including dam removal, is expected to cost $75 to $101 million. It is crucial that money be appropriated to at least purchase the dams in the President's FY 1997 Department of Interior budget proposal.
Below are excerpts from three February 1996 letters to President Clinton expressing concerns over the Elwha River restoration.
American Rivers, Friends of the Earth, Olympic Parks Associates, the Seattle Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and the Northwest Region Trout Unlimited:
We are writing to express our deep concern regarding implementation and funding of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102-495). It is crucial that funding for the next phase of Elwha restoration be included in the Administration's Fiscal Year 1997 Interior Department budget request.
There is an urgent need for your administration to maintain the federal government's commitment to the people of Washington state on this issue. A broad-based coalition of environmentalists, fishing interests, Native American Tribes, local government, and the mill and dam owners came together to support passage of the Elwha Act. We now need your assistance to ensure the goals of the Elwha Act are realized.
Frances G. Charles, Chairperson, Lower Elwha Tribal Council:
There will not be another opportunity to accomplish this worthy goal. We will all be forced to live with whatever choice is made this time around. The Elwha represents the best place anywhere to restore salmon. This least-cost solution provides substantial economic and environmental benefits to everyone, even those who oppose it. Restoration of the Elwha is an urgent issue which calls for the continued leadership and commitment of your administration.
We have noted your commendable emphasis on restoration of the Everglades as a national environmental priority. We believe we have a similarly profound and rare opportunity here in the Pacific Northwest. The widespread support found throughout Washington state and the Pacific Northwest for this effort is one of the many reasons to continue forward as strongly as possible.
Washington State Governor Mike Lowry:
In recent days I have become extremely concerned over reports that implementation of the Elwha Act is no longer a priority of the Department of Interior, and that the agency does not plan to request any substantial funding -- $7-10 million -- for Elwha Act implementation and river restoration during the federal [fiscal year] 1997. I am, therefore, asking that you evaluate this situation, consider the many values of Elwha funding and river restoration, and include substantial fiscal support for the timely implementation of the Elwha Act in your administration's 1997 budget request to the Congress.
NOW WHAT: Dam removal advocates hope that the Clinton Administration and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt will put funding into the FY 1997 budget for Elwha restoration purposes.
The appropriations process may be influenced by Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), who has apparently reversed his earlier support for removal (he was originally a co-sponsor of the 1992 Act). According to Jeff Bohman, the River Restoration Coordinator with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe:
Senator Gorton has gone on the record as being concerned about the total cost (currently estimated at $112 million) and a fear of this precedent (for what is unclear). Instead, he has warned the many parties who came to agreement on this complex, negotiated settlement that they need to identify a "solution" to the problem that is less costly and does not involve dam removal. In fact, lengthy, careful and repeated analysis has demonstrated that any other approach will, over time, cost more than dam removal.
Larger dams (whether your measure is dam height, reservoir size, or generating capacity) have been removed. And dams have been removed to, in part, improve (or restore) fisheries. Over 80% of the watershed is pristine and protected in Olympia National Park and there's little impact on the remainder of the watershed -- so there's no doubt that the fish can be successfully restored. The dams and their energy are off the grid (can't be used for other needs), serve only one user (the Daishowa Pulp Mill in Port Angeles), provide only about 40% of that user's energy needs (so it's easily replaced by the same BPA source that supplies the other 60%), and are barely economically viable now, without the added costs that fish passage would entail. The dams' owner (the James River Corporation) and Daishowa both support the Elwha Act. The lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has its reservation at the mouth of the river and has been culturally and economically linked to the watershed for centuries.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: According to Jeff Bohman, the following actions are needed:
The Skokomish River Basin was once the biggest producer of salmon in the Hood Canal Basin of Puget Sound. These stocks have been reduced to critically low numbers and some have been lost forever. The South Fork Skokomish watershed has been seriously degraded by forest practices. The North Fork, historically the most productive, has been impacted by hydroelectric development. In 1995 the Skokomish River was one of the top 25 threatened and endangered rivers in North America, according to the environmental group American Rivers.
In 1930, the City of Tacoma completed two dams which blocked fish passage to 84 percent of the North Fork Skokomish watershed (the Cushman Project). Until 1988, the project diverted the entire North Fork to a remote power plant. Since 1988, the project has released flows of only 30 cubic feet/second (cfs), or about 4 percent of the river's natural average annual flow.
The application renewal process for Cushman goes back to 1974, when Tacoma Public Utilities submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Now 22 years later, FERC is in the final stages of evaluating the Tacoma Public Utilities' major license application for the Cushman hydroelectric project.
FERC released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on December 4, 1995. The four alternatives* of the DEIS are:
Alternative 1 (No Action): Continue current operations in which all but 30 cfs flow is diverted out of the North Fork. Under this alternative, 96 percent of North Fork flow would be diverted out of the watershed.
Alternative 2: A combination of the City of Tacoma's proposal with recommended operations and enhancement measures from the Joint Resource Parties (fish and wildlife agencies) and the Skokomish Tribe. Flow in the North Fork would be expected at an average flow of 762 cfs.
Alternative 3 (recommended by staff or preferred by FERC): A combination of the City of Tacoma's proposal and a FERC staff-developed operations and enhancement measures. Flow in the North Fork would be expected at an average of 229 cfs. Under this alternative, 78 percent of North Fork flows would be diverted out of the watershed.
Alternative 4: Decommissioning the project -- includes options of with or without dam removal. Flows would be 762 cfs with dam in place and 784 cfs with dam removed.
*Note: The City of Tacoma also has a proposal, and though it is not an alternative under consideration, it is repeatedly cited in the DEIS. Under Tacoma's proposal, 87% of North Fork flow would be diverted out of the watershed.
From the outset, The Skokomish Tribe, state, federal and local resource agencies, as well as conservation group and fishing groups have recommended to FERC that any future project license require substantial restoration of flow to the Skokomish River and estuary on Hood Canal. This is required, say the groups, to restore ecosystem functions, reduce flood hazard, and to bring the project into compliance with today's laws and standards. Detailed studies have determined that restoring near natural flow is practical and that power could be economically developed from water releases to the channel.
The law requires that the project provide for fish habitat protection. According to the DEIS:
The [Federal Energy Regulatory] Commission, pursuant to the Federal Power Act (FPA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) Organization Act, is authorized to issue licenses up to 50 years for the construction and operation of nonfederal hydropower developments subject to its jurisdiction, on the necessary conditions: That the project adopted...shall be such as in the judgment of the Commission will be best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or developing a waterway or waterways for the use or benefit of interstate or foreign commerce, for the improvement and utilization of water power development, for the adequate protection, mitigation and enhancement of fish and wildlife (including related spawning grounds and habitat), and for other beneficial public uses, including irrigation, flood control, water supply, and recreational and other purposes referred to in section 4(e)...
The coalition of private groups supporting substantial restoration of river flow includes the:
According to the Skokomish Tribe, the alternatives provided in the DEIS are unacceptable and need to be rewritten. Below are some excerpts from their January 31, 1996 public testimony in Hoodsport Washington:
The primary - over-riding - issue is that the DEIS reads as if it were written by the City of Tacoma's business agent. Not by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is charged with protecting the public interest, and which is charged with a fiduciary responsibility to the Skokomish Tribe.
The DEIS makes it explicit: FERC's bottom line is protecting Tacoma Public Utilities' bottom line. FERC proposes to protect the public interest only up to the point that the cost of power produced from the Cushman Project would begin to approach the cost of replacing it by other means.
For all practical purposes FERC proposes no mitigation or enhancement for the Cushman Project's devastating impact on salmon and shell fish habitat and the impact on fishermen. FERC's proposed wildlife enhancement falls far short of what is required to off-set project impacts.
In conclusion, the Cushman Project is perhaps the most egregious national example of well-intended hydropower development gone wrong. FERC now has the opportunity and obligation to bring the illegal, unlicensed Cushman Project into line with contemporary law and socially responsible behavior.
As presently written, the DEIS in many important respects misleads the public and decision-makers. It is a prescription for further conflict. The Skokomish Tribe respectfully urges you to go back to the drawing board, reformulate your assumptions and analysis, and quickly issue a supplemental DEIS as soon as possible.
On the other side of the issue, the City of Tacoma believes that if too much water is put back into the stream, power rates will rise too much for Tacoma's customers.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Public comment on the DEIS will be crucial to ensure a decision consistent with public interest in fish restoration.
****COMMENTS ARE DUE****
MARCH 29, 1996
For A Copy of the DEIS call the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at John Blair, FERC E.I.S. Coordinator at (202) 219-2845.
For Further Information Contact: Vic Martino, Skokomish Tribe at (206) 842-5386; American Rivers at (206) 323-8186; John Blair, FERC E.I.S. Coordinator at (202) 219-2845.
EPA WATER QUALITY VIDEOS
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a new video tape on the water quality standards program entitled "Developing Site-Specific Criteria". The video discusses the development of site-specific numeric criteria for aquatic life and the role they play in the water quality standards and criteria process. This new video, along with videos previously released, are available on loan for use by various organizations in conferences, workshops, academic settings, and other forums. The video productions are part of the EPA's efforts to inform individuals about some of its important programs, their role in environmental clean-up and the role citizens may play.
The titles of the previously released productions are as follows:
These 10 videos are available on loan from the U.S. EPA, Water Resource Center (4101) Room G99-B, Washington, DC 20460, or call 202-260-7786. You may also obtain the videos from one of the EPA's Regional offices at the following addresses:
Phil Woods Lisa Macchio WQS Coordinator WQS Coordinator EPA Region 9 EPA Region 10 Water Division Water Division 75 Hawthorne Street (WS-139) San Francisco, CA 1200 Sixth Avenue 94105 Seattle, WA 98101 415-744-1997 206-553-1834
ENDANGERED SPECIES POSTER
Trout Unlimited has produced a poster documenting the trout and salmon species that are listed as "threatened" or "endangered" under the federal Endangered Species Act. "Threatened & Endangered Trout & Salmon of North America", a full-color, double-sided, 18" x 24" fold-out poster features Endangered Species Act success stories, eight beautifully rendered illustrations of threatened and endangered trout and salmon by famed fish artist Joseph R. Tomelleri, a color map depicting their habitat ranges, an explanation of how a species is determined to be endangered, and more.
Individual copies of the poster may be ordered for $6.95 plus $1 shipping and handling. Write to Trout Unlimited, ESA poster, 1500 Wilson Boulevard, #310, Arlington, VA 22209-2310, or call 1-800-805-4607 to order. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery. Proceeds benefit Trout Unlimited's conservation programs. Educational groups who require quantities should contact Chris Marshall at (703) 284-9424.
HOTLINE SURVEY RESPONSE
The November issue of the Habitat Hotline (Number 22) included a reader's survey. Responses to some of the survey questions can be found below. Ninety (90) readers responded to the survey.
1. Do you feel current state and federal regulations protecting fish habitat (i.e., pollution laws, forest practices and wetlands regulations) are:
ANSWER PERCENT Too Lax 77% Too Strong 1% About Right 19% No Opinion 3% Totals 100%
2. Please indicate your opinion regarding the following statement:
Present habitat protection laws and regulations, such as the Clean Water Act, wetlands laws, and the Endangered Species Act must be adjusted to accommodate economic growth (new houses, schools, roads).
ANSWER PERCENT Strongly Agree 6% Agree 7% Strongly 54% Disagree Disagree 31% No Opinion 2% Totals 100%
3. Please indicate your opinion regarding the following statement:
Economic growth (new houses, school, roads, factories) must take into account the protection of water quality, preservation of wetlands, and general watershed health, even if it means an increase in costs to tax payers
ANSWER PERCENT Strongly Agree 85% Agree 12% Strongly 1% Disagree Disagree 1% No Opinion 1% Totals 100%
4 Please indicate your opinion regarding the following statement:***
We need stronger laws (in addition to what is already contained in the United States Constitution) to protect private property rights.
ANSWER PERCENT Strongly Agree 8% Agree 9% Strongly 45% Disagree Disagree 30% No Opinion 7% Totals 100%
5. Please indicate your opinion regarding the following statement:
While fish habitat protection and restoration are important, without a significant reduction in the number of salmon harvesters (all gear types and users), we will never realize salmon recovery.
ANSWER PERCENT Strongly Agree 17% Agree 22% Strongly 22% Disagree Disagree 30% No Opinion 9% Totals 100%
6. Please indicate your opinion regarding the following statement:
We are spending too much money and manpower on Idaho salmon recovery and restoration; more dollars are needed to go to protecting healthy stocks and coastal salmonids.
ANSWER PERCENT Strongly Agree 13% Agree 22% Strongly 16% Disagree Disagree 19% No Opinion 30% Totals 100%
7. Please indicate your opinion regarding the following statement:
As a taxpayer, I would be willing to pay the following amount of money per year that would go towards a salmon recovery fund.
ANSWER PERCENT $0 1% $1-10 10% $10-25 23% $25-100 36% $100+ 30% Totals 100%
***** AS WE GO TO PRESS, GOP leaders on the Senate Appropriations Committee are reportedly drafting a bill which would replace $240-$352 million of EPA's budget in addition to the $5.7 billion. The Senate bill also de-funds Americorps. The Senate bill is expected to go to the floor the week of March 11. The House bill reportedly contains $300 million more. However this is still well short of the President's request. The House bill could go to the floor as early as March 7. For further information contact the Clean Water Network at (202) 624-9357.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We welcome information on habitat news in your area. Information should pertain to habitat of marine, estuarine, or anadromous fish or shellfish. Feel free to fax us newspaper articles, copies of letters, public hearing notices, etc., to (503) 650-5426. Funding for this publication comes in part from Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration. If you have any questions regarding the contents of this publication, or about our habitat education program, please contact: Stephen Phillips, Editor, Habitat Hotline, 45 SE 82nd Drive, Suite 100, Gladstone, Oregon 97027-2522. Phone: (503) 650-5400, Fax: (503) 650-5426. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Layout by Liza Bauman. Printed on 100% recycled sheet with minimum 50% post consumer fiber. Date of Issue: 3/8/96.
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