Four conservation groups, including the Washington-based Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC), are urging the federal court to halt planned releases of hatchery coho and steelhead into the Elwha River until it can determine whether these actions comply with or violate the Endangered Species Act.
Plaintiffs say that hatchery output in the newly reopened Elwha River system would “overwhelm the fragile wild fish populations that remain, severely impeding and even preventing the full recovery of wild fish.”
According to the WFC: “The motion for a preliminary injunction asks the Court to stop planned releases of hatchery coho salmon and steelhead and stop the planned taking of threatened adult steelhead for use as hatchery broodstock. These planned hatchery activities threatened harm both to individual listed steelhead, Chinook and bull trout in the Elwha River and to the listed Puget Sound populations of which they are members. These activities and the hatchery programs they are part of lack the necessary ESA take coverage because NOAA Fisheries’ approval documents are unlawful and because the Elwha Defendants cannot comply with the terms and conditions of those approval documents.”
On Jan. 23, WFC also sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), alleging that the agency’s planting of “Chambers Creek” steelhead in Puget Sound watersheds violates the ESA.
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.