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Salmon savers

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Articles - November/December 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013

Estuary Restoration
A Coastal Comeback

Development, diking and draining have gone a long way over the past 150 years to deplete important wetlands and estuary habitat along the Oregon Coast — habitat salmon need to thrive. The Tillamook Basin area alone has lost more than 80% of its estuarial lands and wetlands, according to Dick Vander Schaaf, associate director for the Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Marine Program.

To help correct that course, the Nature Conservancy and other organizations have been working to restore and protect salmon habitat on the coast. One project, near where the Miami River enters Tillamook Bay, restored more than 40 acres with native plantings and other efforts. Just two years later, salmon smolt were using the revitalized habitat. Another project in the works will tend to 66 acres along the Kilchis River.

1,000+ Number of permits for the salmon troll fishery in 2012

Vander Schaaf notes that estuary restoration isn’t limited to environmentalists. One of the previous owners of part of the restored land on the Miami was closely tied to the Tillamook Anglers, a fishery organization that runs a small hatchery in Netarts Bay.

“Fishermen are very much engaged in this,” Vander Schaaf says. “It’s very well understood that producing fish is good business in the basin.”

The Wild Salmon Center, a nonprofit headquartered in Portland, has also turned its attention to coastal areas, particularly in the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests, home to five salmon-rich rivers. The organization has been working with Gov. Kitzhaber and the Oregon Board of Forestry on setting aside conservation areas to help protect existing habitat.

“The exciting thing about Oregon is that we still have some healthy runs of wild salmon, and we have the opportunity to protect them,” says Guido Rahr, the organization’s president and CEO.



+2 #1 Great new issue!Guest 2013-10-30 23:40:47
Great new issue focused on salmon!

I’m surprised, however, that little mention was made of the impact on those who enjoy recreational salmon fishing.

After all, larger runs means more fun for tens of thousands of Oregonians each year, and a lot more revenue for small towns on the Oregon coast, along the Columbia River, etc.

I certainly didn’t mind spending money this past Saturday. In return? I have a great day of memories, including the 15 minutes it took to reel in the largest salmon I've ever caught.

Will I spend even more time and money salmon fishing again next summer? You bet!
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0 #2 writerGuest 2013-10-31 17:17:31
Thanks much for the comment, and glad to hear about your catch! We did touch on the aspects you're talking about in the "Slowly Rising" section about the economic benefits to tribes and small towns out along the Columbia, and also in the "Ranching and Restoring Together" section. And we'll of course be keeping an eye on future returns and the impacts they have on Oregon's angling towns and businesses. Jon Bell
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0 #3 RE: Salmon saversGuest 2013-11-02 19:10:05
This piece also points out the need to maintain a viable commercial salmon fishery so that people who don't sport fish also have access to fresh local salmon of the highest quality such as Lofgren wants to serve, thus maintaining a constituency for salmon recovery above and beyond sport anglers, which I am one of. Gill netting can be made less damaging to T&E stocks while still allowing some commercial harvest.
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