SHORTS: New Public Power Council Director; Ocean Fishing, Good Coho Numbers; Using Drone To Document Fish Barrier Removal; 5,000 Trout Per Mile; Grizzly Bear Removal At Whitefish Lake; New Book On Salish Sea Fishes

* BPA Communications Director Selected As New Executive Director Of Public Power Council

The Public Power Council announced this week that Scott Simms has been selected as Executive Director, effective August 12. Simms will be the ninth Executive Director in the 53-year history of PPC.

“We are fortunate to have Scott as the next leader of PPC, an organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the benefits of the Federal Columbia River Power System for consumer owned utilities and their ratepayers,” said Debra Smith, PPC Executive Committee Chairwoman, and CEO and General Manager of Seattle City Light.

Simms is currently the Communications Director at the Bonneville Power Administration.

He also held other leadership positions within BPA, including Manager of Long-Term Power Planning and Secretary to the U.S. Entity for the Columbia River Treaty negotiation process. Prior to joining BPA in 2006, Simms held senior communications positions at Portland General Electric.

“It’s an honor to be selected by Northwest public power leaders to serve as PPC’s Executive Director,” said Simms. “I was born here in the Northwest and I have spent my whole life and career here, so supporting the region’s public power interests in this capacity is a tremendous opportunity.”

The Public Power Council, established in 1966, is an association that represents over 100 consumer-owned electric utilities in the Pacific Northwest. For more information, go to


* Recreational Salmon Fishing Opens Saturday In Washington’s Ocean Waters, Increased Coho Quota

Sport anglers will have the opportunity to reel in salmon off the Washington coast starting Saturday, June 22.

That’s when all four marine areas open daily to fishing for chinook and coho salmon, said Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Anglers can expect some great opportunities to fish for coho this summer,” Beeghley said. “With increased numbers of coho projected to return, we have a much higher catch quota for coho this year in comparison with the last few years.”

The coho quota for 2019 is 159,600 fish, up 117,600 over last year. Meanwhile, the chinook catch quota is 26,250 fish, which is 1,250 fewer fish than 2018’s quota.

In marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport), anglers can retain two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. Anglers fishing in marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) will have a two-salmon daily limit. In all marine areas, anglers must release wild coho.

Anglers should be aware the daily limit for the section of Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line is listed incorrectly for June 22-July 31 in 2019-2020 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. The daily limit for the area during that timeframe is two salmon.

Although all four marine areas are scheduled to close Sept. 30, Beeghley reminds anglers that areas could close earlier if the quota is met. A section of Marine Area 3 will re-open Oct. 1 through Oct. 13 or until a quota of 100 Chinook or 100 coho is met.

Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at for updates

More information about the fisheries can be found in the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available at license vendors and sporting goods stores and online at


* WDFW Uses Drone To Document Fish Barrier Removal Project

Scientists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife flew a drone over the Johnson Creek fish passage barrier removal project located in the Hoko Watershed in Clallam County this week.

WDFW is documenting what the creek looks like before construction begins to remove fish passage barriers, which will open up 6.2 miles and 25 acres of high-quality fish habitat.

“By using a drone, we can document one of the first projects funded by the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board. This project will remove a deteriorating pipe that is a complete barrier for fish to swim upstream during low flows,” said Gina Piazza, WDFW biologist. “Video and imagery from the drone will be used to showcase what we can achieve through strategic state funding for fish passage.”


* Henry’s Fork River Box Canyon Has 5,000 Trout Per Mile

To determine the number of trout in the Box Canyon section, Idaho Fish and Game biologists recently conducted the annual electrofishing surveys on this section of the Henry’s Fork River in Eastern Idaho.

“We marked fish on May 13 and recaptured fish on the 15,” says F&G Fisheries Biologist John Heckel. “Based on the number of trout marked and recaptured, the estimated number of rainbow trout larger than six inches for this year (2019) was 4,924 per mile.” This is an increase over Fish and Games’ 2018 survey that estimated rainbow trout populations at 2,796 per mile. Heckel was also able to estimate the abundance of mountain whitefish at 3,201 per mile.

The average size of rainbow trout increased .2 inches in 2019 as well. “The population size structure is encouraging, given that two size classes of trout near 6 inches and 12 inches are present and recruiting to the fishery,” explains Heckel. The largest rainbow trout surveyed in Box Canyon this year was 20 inches long.


* Grizzly Bears Captured, Killed Near Whitefish Lake After Livestock Depredation, Property Damage

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks captured a pair of young grizzly bears near the north end of Whitefish Lake and removed the animals due to food conditioning, livestock depredation, and property damage.

The yearlings were accompanying an adult female grizzly bear that was also involved in the livestock depredations and property damage. FWP personnel captured the yearlings June 7 and held the bears onsite in an attempt to capture the adult female. The bears, each weighing approximately 120 pounds, were provided food and water inside the culvert traps until the decision was made to humanely kill them with a euthanasia drug at a local veterinary clinic on June 12.

FWP removed the bears in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines.

Efforts to capture the adult female near Whitefish Lake were unsuccessful.

The three grizzly bears were captured last fall near Whitefish after killing chickens and were moved to the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage. Within a week, they returned to the valley and killed additional chickens and caused extensive property damage along Whitefish Stage Road and then Farm to Market Road.

FWP is monitoring increased grizzly and black bear activity across northwest Montana, including the Ferndale and Whitefish areas, and personnel are actively working to reduce conflicts in collaboration with landowners.

The incidents demonstrate that wild animals can lose their natural foraging habits once they become food conditioned, and this poses a serious risk to public safety and the animal. When responding to a conflict involving bears, FWP follows guidelines associated with the incident that inform an appropriate action. These factors include the potential human safety threats, the intensity of the conflict and the bear’s history of conflicts.

The Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem is home to more than 1,000 grizzly bears. The NCDE is a designated grizzly bear recovery zone that spans Glacier National Park, parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations, parts of five national forests and a significant amount of state and private lands.

FWP maintains a population monitoring program and follows protocols and management objectives designed to maintain a healthy grizzly bear population in the NCDE. This includes tracking known mortalities, whether bears are killed or removed from the population, and notifying the public.

So far in 2019, there have been 16 grizzly bear mortalities in the NCDE.

Residents are asked to remove or secure food attractants such as garbage and bird feeders and bird seed. Chickens and livestock should be properly secured with electric fencing or inside a closed shed with a door. Recreationists are urged to “Be Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts. Bear spray is an effective deterrent and everyone is encouraged to carry it in the outdoors.


* First Book To Document All Fishes Of Salish Sea

The first book documenting all of the known species of fishes that live in the Salish Sea is now available.

“Fishes of the Salish Sea” is a three-volume book and is the culmination of more than 40 years of research by authors Theodore W. Pietsch, curator emeritus of fishes of the Burke Museum and University of Washington professor emeritus of aquatic and fishery sciences, and James W. Orr, a scientist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and a former graduate student of Pietsch’s and affiliate professor and curator of fishes at the Burke Museum.

The 260 fish species recorded in the book is a new record for the Salish Sea, representing a 20% increase from the last survey about 40 years ago.

 “Fishes of the Salish Sea” is the first book to document all of the known fish species in the Salish Sea.University of Washington Press.

In 2015, Pietsch and Orr published an initial report as part of their research for this book, updating the last compilation of Salish Sea fishes from almost four decades ago, which provided brief descriptions, but no illustrations. The “Fishes of the Salish Sea” is part of current efforts to protect and restore the Salish Sea, an inland waterway shared by Washington and British Columbia, which includes Puget Sound.

“It’s quite astonishing to think that people haven’t really known what’s here in any detail,” Pietsch said. “In preparing this book, we’ve really turned over every stone to make sure we have every fish species ever recorded from our inland marine waters.”

Beginning with jawless hagfishes and lampreys and ending with the distinctive Ocean Sunfish, Pietsch and Orr present the taxa in phylogenetic order, based on classifications that reflect the most current scientific knowledge. Illustrated taxonomic keys featuring striking illustrations by Joseph R. Tomelleri facilitate fast and accurate species identification.

Included in the “Fishes of the Salish Sea” book:

•Comprehensive accounts of 260 fish species

•Brilliant color plates of all species

•Illustrated taxonomic keys for easy species identification

•In-depth history of Salish Sea research and exploration

“Fishes of the Salish Sea” will be useful for scientists, anglers, educators and others in identifying Salish fishes, tracking the distribution and abundance of known species, assessing the health of their habitat and determining when these populations might be in danger of disappearing.

“We’ve provided a baseline of the fishes in the Salish and areas needed for future studies,” Orr said. “The first step in understanding an ecosystem is to identify the elements within it. No matter how closely related, each species has its own life history trajectory ― its development, reproduction and ecology ― that makes its contribution to an ecosystem unique and, if lost, irreplaceable.”

Pietsch and Orr scoured multiple sources to determine whether each species listed in the book lives or was known to live in the Salish Sea region. Their primary source was the vast fish collection of the Burke Museum — which contains more than 12 million specimens — and they looked also at other major fish collections along the West Coast, including those at the University of British Columbia, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, B.C., and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Each species described in the book had to have a corresponding specimen or a good-quality photograph to ensure its existence, past or present. The Burke Museum contains archived specimens of nearly all of the 260 species.

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