Squaxin Island Tribe: coho salmon after the removal of Goldsborough Dam
Just a couple of short notes that are related to this talk. According to the original agenda, Jeanette Dorner, salmon restoration manager for the Nisqually Tribe, is supposed to be talking now. But, she’s up at a Pierce County Council meeting helping to save the Pierce Conservation District. They slotted John Konovsky into her spot.
Also, I just spoke with Joe Peters, the fisheries management biologist for Squaxin. Coho runs have been very depressed this year in southern Puget Sound, despite the success in the following presentation. The tribe’s catch this year is only 10 percent of historic numbers.
John Konovsky, the environmental program manger for the Squaxin Island Tribe is presenting on the impacts of the removal of Goldsborough Dam.
Jim Peters, NWIFC staffer and former Squaxin Island Tribe staffer is starting out John’s talk giving the background on the removal of the Goldsborough Dam. For decades, the tribe would request the removal of the dam, with no response.
“If you tear it down, they will spawn,” John Konovsky says when he starts out his talk. The removal of the dam resulted in increase by an order of magnitude the coho production in the creek, going from thousands to tens of thousands. Unlike other South Sound coho populations, Goldsborough coho populations are now increasing.
The Goldsborough Creek watershed has a very low amount of imperverous surface.
I just remembered, a lot of the ground Konovsky is covering here is also covered in a presentation he gave last year to a fishing club. You can see that presentation here.
Goals of restoring the Goldsborough Creek watershed:
- Increase coho population by 15 percent by 2020.
- Also, by 2020, healthy shellfish harvest throughout of Oakland Bay.
UPDATE: From the Q&A:
With the miles of habitat being restored, what does that mean for tribal fishermen?
Joe Peters responds for tribe: doesn’t impact the fishery too much, because the tribe manages for hatchery fish, they keep their fishery out of the inlets where returning wild fish return. 98 percent of the fish are hatchery stock.
Another update via email from Joe Peters: Something to keep in mind when you can view Konovsky’s presentation. Coho production numbers in 2003 was the first year that represents progeny of coho that made it past the dam after it was removed in August of 2001. 2001 adults (or 2001 brood year) overwinters in the fresh water before leaving as smolt in 2003.
Peters also mentioned the tribe’s use of smolt traps to monitor coho production.