This is an archived article.

March 9, 1999

Puget Sound salmon runs among those considered for Endangered Species Act listing

News and Information

The National Marine Fisheries Service is expected later this month to announce its decision about listing more than a dozen West Coast salmon and steelhead populations under the federal Endangered Species Act. The announcement could come as early as March 16.

Contact: NMFS’s Brian Gorman, (206) 526-6613 or Janet Sears, (206) 526-6172

University of Washington experts may be able to help reporters with general information on such things as salmon health and how human activities impact salmon habitat.

Contact: UW’s Sandra Hines, (206) 543-2580, shines@u.washington.edu, for information about reaching UW researchers who can talk about:

Habitat – streams and rivers
Factors contributing to degradation, the “promise” of stream restoration

Susan Bolton
Associate professor, forest resources
Effects of road building, timber harvesting and other land uses on surface water quality and stream habitat; water flow and temperature in headwater streams; how to prioritize stream restoration; Bolton is director of the UW Center for Streamside Studies.

Rick Edwards
Research assistant professor, forest resources
Stream ecology; how forest practices, urbanization and other land use affect streams; difficulties of stream restoration; if our population doubles in 30 years, what are the chances we’ll have salmon in the future.

David Montgomery
Associate professor, geological sciences
How rivers work; geomorphology; how different stream channels serve different kinds of wildlife; importance of woody debris and pools for salmon; amounts of sediment in waterways and influence on spawning; history of Washington rivers.

Derek Booth
Research assistant professor, civil engineering
Urban streams; when such things as road building, new construction and storm runoff damage urban streams and how to correct those situations; Booth is director of the UW’s Center for Urban Water Resources Management, which provides information and conducts research for counties, cities and agencies in the state, mainly in Western Washington.

James Karr
Professor, fisheries and zoology
Health of rivers and streams; need to avoid narrow efforts aimed at increasing the number of salmon — instead need to protect and improve waterways for a wide array of insects, plants and animals which, in turn, will help salmon; protecting healthy waterways and establishing intelligent controls on development should take priority over efforts to restore degraded areas; more than 100 years of watershed degradation can’t be repaired in five to 10 years.

Chris Foote
Assistant professor, fisheries
Evolutionary biology: what’s a species, what’s a subspecies, what are the key building blocks that must be preserved to keep runs from going extinct, the success of the Endangered Species Act at protecting those building blocks; ways salmon biology influences behavior (especially spawning) and, in turn, how behavior can cause divergence on the genetic level; what salmon contribute to ecosystems, such as the nutrients they leave behind in streams after they spawn, die and their bodies decay; effects of hatcheries on wild salmon.

Thomas Sibley
Associate professor, fisheries
Potential causes for declining salmon populations in Lake Washington, such as food availability for salmon fry or predation by other fishes; effectiveness of stream restoration projects for creating salmonid habitat

James Anderson
Associate professor, fisheries
What have we learned about recovery programs for Columbia River salmon that might be applicable to salmon runs elsewhere in the state, especially the use of computer models to understand current problems and monitor results; what are the processes and how is science involved in listing species under the Endangered Species Act.

Thomas Quinn
Associate professor, fisheries
Salmon behavior, ecology and genetics/evolution; human activities and fish habitat; differences between wild and hatchery-produced salmonids; ways hatcheries may indirectly contribute to declines of wild salmon.

Robert Wissmar
Professor, fisheries
Watershed histories, for example, land use in Cedar River watershed (includes Lake Washington); fish forage, habitat, competition; encouraging natural habitat recovery processes.


Habitat – bays, estuaries and saltwater wetlands
Importance of these areas to young salmon, factors that impact these areas such as dredging, development and pollution

Charles Simenstad
Senior fisheries biologist, fisheries
Importance of saltwater estuaries, wetlands, river mouths to young salmon; measuring health of saltwater wetlands; factors causing degredation of intertidal wetlands; the “promise” of wetland restoration.

David Armstrong
Professor, fisheries
Overview of a research program now underway to assess ecosystem change in the Pacific Northwest that can be attributed to natural processes and variations, such as shifts in ocean temperatures, from those that are human-caused, such as siltation from dredging, landfills and increased nutrient loads; Armstrong is an expert on shellfish, not salmonids, but this research program encompasses them all; he also can talk about degradation of estuaries and bays; Armstrong is the director of the School of Fisheries.

Habitat – climate and ocean conditions
What climate cycles impact salmon abundance, what other natural factors are at work

Robert Francis
Professor, fisheries
How fish are affected by ocean conditions triggered by such things as El Nino/La Nina events and by decades-long climate cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation,which may be one of the key factors in salmon abundance in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska; hatchery skeptic.

Nate Mantua
Research scientist, Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean
How a decades-long climate variation in the Pacific Ocean may explain changes in salmon harvests off the U.S. West Coast and Alaska over the course of a century – climate phenomenon is known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation; effects of El Nino/La Nina on coastal oceans and fisheries, particularly Pacific salmon.

Kate Myers
Biologist, fisheries
High seas salmon: growth, food habits, survival; how many fish can oceans carry; what happens to endangered runs while at sea for one to five years of their lives; illegal high seas salmon fishing, bycatch in U.S. fisheries and interceptions in foreign fisheries.


Steven Hare
Affiliate UW faculty member and quantatative biologist for the International Pacific Halibut Commission
How populations of Pacific salmon are influenced by changes in marine climate such as the decades-long Pacific decadal oscilation and the much shorter El Nino/La Nina events cycle.

Hatcheries
Hatchery and wild fish interactions, fishing problems, appropriate uses of hatcheries,

William Hershberger
Professor, fisheries
Hatcheries to supplement natural runs; genetic consultant for captive breeding program for last sockeye from Red Fish Lake, Idaho; fish breeding and genetics.

Walt Dickhoff
Professor, fisheries
Rearing hatchery smolt that migrate faster and are less likely to stray and, thus, compete less with wild fish for habitat and food; understanding differences between survival rates of wild fish and hatchery-reared fish.

Chris Foote
Assistant professor, fisheries
Evolutionary biology: what’s a species, what’s a subspecies, what are the key building blocks that must be preserved to keep runs from going extinct, the success of the Endangered Species Act at protecting those building blocks; ways salmon biology influences behavior (especially spawning) and, in turn, how behavior can cause divergence on the genetic level; what salmon contribute to ecosystems, such as the nutrients they leave behind in streams after they spawn, die and their bodies decay; effects of hatcheries on wild salmon.

Thomas Quinn
Associate professor, fisheries
Sal