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Mon Jun 10, 2019, 02:07 PM

Fishing, mining are preventing winter steelhead recovery

SULTAN — A threatened fish species is in trouble, and scientists think some human-caused harm is entirely preventable.

The number of wild winter steelhead in the Sultan River, north of the Skykomish, has steadily declined since the early 1990s. Last year, just 28 of the fish were counted.

Natural resource scientists at the Snohomish County Public Utility District have watched the trend with concern — and they believe the timing of the fishing season and suction dredge mining in the upper Sultan are contributing to the stock’s decline.

Puget Sound steelhead were federally recognized as threatened in 2007.

https://www.heraldnet.com/news/pud-fishing-mining-are-preventing-winter-steelhead-recovery/

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Reply Fishing, mining are preventing winter steelhead recovery (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Jun 2019 OP
pscot Jun 2019 #1

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Mon Jun 10, 2019, 03:30 PM

1. Suction dredge mining? WTF?

Suction dredge mining is a type of recreational gold mining that uses a vacuum to suck up the bottom of rivers and streams to look for gold, according to Fish and Wildlife. It can kill young fish and eggs and disturb spawning gravel.

Between spawning and rearing, steelhead are now in the upper Sultan all year long.

The idea of allowing suction dredge mining in that area is counter to protecting threatened and endangered fish, said Andrew McDonnell, senior environmental coordinator with the PUD.

A bill that was introduced in the state senate this year, but did not pass, would have heavily restricted suction dredge mining throughout state.

“It’s an interesting mix, the world of science and the world of policy,” Lowe said.

In the 1980s, Snohomish County set a steelhead escapement goal, the number of fish that make it to the ocean and back to their spawning grounds, of 6,500 for the entire Snohomish Basin. That goal was last met in 1981, McDonnell said.

https://www.heraldnet.com/news/pud-fishing-mining-are-preventing-winter-steelhead-recovery/

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