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Latest QDNR News

Natural Resource News, Information and Resources from Around the World

Coming to Terms with Species Invasions

Species invasions have contributed to the extinction of many species world-wide. Believe it or not, fish don’t care what we call them. However, terminologies associated with certain species can affect how society perceives their importance and impact. Naturalists have been interested in the effects of species introductions just as long as we have been moving species around. In that time, species introductions have had a variety of consequences—sometimes the alteration of entire ecosystems, but often with little appreciable effect. This has led to a numerous terms associated with non-native species, some of which overlap and some which are belligerent...

Salmon Fish Traps the Future?

Back in the 19th century, salmon fish traps brought in big hauls of Columbia River salmon. Retooled for the 21st century, could they be part of a more sustainable future for commercial harvests?  CATHLAMET, Wahkiakum County — More than eight decades after their demise, salmon fish traps are getting a fresh look from researchers convinced they offer a more sustainable way to catch Columbia River salmon. These traps are formed by nets attached to pilings that gently guide the fish into a kind of underwater corral. Wild fish protected under the federal Endangered Species Act can be released to...

State Greenlights 1 Million Farmed Salmon for Puget Sound

The WA Department of Fish and Wildlife has quietly given a permit to Canada-based Cooke Aquaculture to raise an additional one million farmed Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound, despite an August mishap that saw thousands of the firm’s salmon escape. Eric Kinne, manager of WDFW’s hatchery division, said the permit is not related to the company’s Cypress Island net pen facility in the San Juan Islands, where on August 19 one of Cooke’s pens collapsed and more than 100,000 farmed salmon escaped. Atlantic Salmon Operations Cooke, which operates net pens at eight locations in Puget Sound, applied in late...

Bill Introduced to Protect Grizzly Bears

WASHINGTON – To respond to the Department of the Interior’s controversial decision to remove endangered species protections for grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act (H.R. 3894) at a press conference today surrounded by Tribal leaders and environmentalists. This bill would ensure that grizzly bears are permanently protected for their ecological and cultural value and guarantees Tribes have a role in conserving and managing the species. Grizzly bears are considered sacred by many Tribes, but today only a small fraction of the historic grizzly populations exist in the lower 48 states.   The...

Company Behind Farmed Fish Escape to Move More Salmon

SEATTLE (AP) — A company whose collapsed net pens released thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound is planning to move juvenile fish into another aquaculture facility over objections by the governor. The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday that Cooke Aquaculture received a permit to transport one million juvenile farmed Atlantic salmon from its hatchery to existing net pens in waters off Bainbridge Island. Gov. Jay Inslee and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz said in a joint statement that they were concerned about the move. Inslee said he asked the company to withdraw its request and...

Scientists Count Nearly 300 Hitchhikers From 2011 Japanese Tsunami

Researchers say nearly 300 species of fish, mussels and other sea critters hitchhiked across the Pacific Ocean on debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, washing ashore alive in the United States. The researchers and outside experts say it the largest and longest marine migration ever documented. The scientists and colleagues combed the beaches of Washington, Oregon, California, British Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii and tracked the species to their Japanese origins. Study lead author James Carlton at Williams College says this could be a problem if the critters take root, pushing out native species. He calls it “ecological roulette.” Scientists found...

WDNR Eases Campfire Restrictions

With rain and cooler temperatures easing fire danger across Washington, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is lifting campfire restrictions for recreational use. Effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, campfires will be allowed in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds Washington lands protected by DNR. Because forests and rangelands remain dry from the summer’s low precipitation totals, other forms of outdoor burning, such as debris burning, remain prohibited under the burn ban ordered by Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “We’re thankful to have rain help wet our landscapes, but as we saw with a quick moving...

Warm Waters off West Coast has Lingering Effects for Salmon

SEATTLE (AP) — The mass of warm water known as “the blob” that heated up the North Pacific Ocean has dissipated, but scientists are still seeing the lingering effects of those unusually warm sea surface temperatures on Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead. Federal research surveys this summer caught among the lowest numbers of juvenile coho and Chinook salmon in 20 years, suggesting that many fish did not survive their first months at sea. Scientists warn that salmon fisheries may face hard times in the next few years. Fisheries managers also worry about below average runs of steelhead returning to...

Forest Service spends record $2B battling forest fires

WASHINGTON (AP) — The US Forest Service has spent more than $2 billion on fire protection while battling forest fires around the country — a record as wildfires blacken the American West in one of the nation’s worst fire seasons. Wildfires have ravaged the West this summer with 64 large fires burning across 10 states as of Thursday, including 21 fires in Montana and 18 in Oregon. In all, 48,607 wildfires have burned nearly 13,000 square miles (33,586 square kilometers). The fires have stretched firefighting resources, destroyed more than 500 homes and triggered health alerts as choking smoke drifted...

Fish and Wildlife Commission Takes Action on Protective Status of 8 Species

  The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission took action on the protective status of yellow-billed cuckoos, loggerhead sea turtles, fishers and five whale species at its Sept. 8-9 meeting in Port Angeles. The commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. During the meeting, commissioners agreed to list yellow-billed cuckoos as an endangered species in Washington and elevate the level of state protection for loggerhead sea turtles from threatened to endangered. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distinguished the cuckoo in western North America as a...