Islanders noted for helping with salmon recovery.…

Posted March 14, 2009 at 1:53 pm by

You know, one of the rea­sons the local killer whales are on the endan­gered species list is a short­age of their main din­ner: salmon. Recov­er­ing the salmon’s pre­vi­ous num­bers is a key to restor­ing a healthy ecosys­tem… and sev­er­al islanders have been key to that recov­ery effort. Here’s more from Bar­bara Rosenkot­ter, who is the Lead Enti­ty Coor­di­na­tor for Salmon Recov­ery for our county:

San Juan Coun­ty Vol­un­teers Receive Salmon Recov­ery Cit­i­zens Awards
On March 10 at the State Capi­tol in Olympia, the Wash­ing­ton State Salmon Recov­ery Lead Enti­ty Pro­gram hon­ored out­stand­ing vol­un­teer cit­i­zens at the ten year anniver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of the Lead Enti­ty.  Eight cit­i­zens and groups from all over the state were select­ed for their ded­i­ca­tion and sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion toward salmon recovery.

The San Juan Islands com­mu­ni­ty was well rep­re­sent­ed among the win­ners with awards being giv­en to Jim Slo­comb of San Juan Island and vol­un­teer beach sein­ers from through­out the San Juans.

The first local win­ners were a group of over 44 vol­un­teer “Beach Sein­ers”. The beach sein­ers were rec­og­nized for out­stand­ing and ongo­ing vol­un­teer efforts sup­port­ing crit­i­cal salmon recov­ery projects that assess the use of the San Juan Islands’ nearshore envi­ron­ments by young salmon.

Many of the sein­ers are WSU Beach Watch­ers work­ing with Fish­eries Oceanog­ra­ph­er Dr. Tina Wyl­lie-Echev­er­ria to gath­er data crit­i­cal to the under­stand­ing of salmonid resources and habi­tat use. To do this work, they trav­el via a 20’ research ves­sel and, dur­ing the March through Sep­tem­ber sam­pling sea­son vis­it five or more sites, in all kinds of weath­er, ten times per month. They set over 500 beach seines on nine islands, sam­pling thou­sands of fish includ­ing pink, chum, Coho and Chi­nook salmon as well as impor­tant prey species for fish, marine birds and marine mam­mals such as sand lance, her­ring, surf smelt and shin­er surf perch.

Anoth­er group of beach sein­ers are a part of com­mu­ni­ty cit­i­zen sci­ence teams orga­nized by Kwiaht on Lopez and Wal­dron Islands. This group helped with the project described above and also con­duct­ed a study of the prey used by juve­nile salmon guid­ed by Rus­sel Barsh. These vol­un­teers, work­ing in small groups with micro­scopes on evenings and week­ends, iden­ti­fied and count­ed more than 4,000 bits of fish, crus­taceans, insects and oth­er prey items and devel­oped dig­i­tal tax­o­nom­ic keys and pho­to atlases for ref­er­ence and train­ing future vol­un­teers. More than 35 Lopez and Wal­dron vol­un­teers par­tic­i­pat­ed in exten­sive spe­cial­ized train­ing, field and lab work, con­tribut­ing over 1200 vol­un­teer hours.

Both high­ly ded­i­cat­ed teams plan to mon­i­tor juve­nile salmon abun­dance and prey use over the next few years.

The beach sein­ing vol­un­teers are: Marolyn Mills, Chuck O’Clair, Har­ry Dick­en­son, Rick Ekstom, Martha Dick­en­son,  Mike Kaill, Zach Williams, Mike Grif­fin, Chuck Rust, Mar­tye Green, Robin Don­nely, Tom Don­nely, Phil Green, Mar­ta Branch and Orcas Island stu­dents, Lor­ri Swan­son, Chris Davis, Mike O’Connell, Jim Pat­ton, Andria Hagstrom, Quinn Freed­man, Kim Secun­da, Don­na Adams, Fred Adams, Lance Brit­tain, Isa Delahunt, John Droubay, Lau­rie Glenn, Ann Gwen, Hol­ly Love­joy, David Loyd, Julie Loyd, Daphne Mor­ris, Diane Robert­son, Steve Ruegge, Josie Scru­ton,  Dan Silkiss, Elsie Silkiss, John Swan-Sheer­an, Lor­ri Swan­son, Gretchen Wag­n­er, John Waugh, Susie Waugh, Cathy Wil­son, Susan Wilson.

These 44 ded­i­cat­ed cit­i­zen vol­un­teers demon­strate that it tru­ly does take a com­mu­ni­ty to sup­port salmon recov­ery efforts and have pro­vid­ed over 2400 hours of vol­un­teer time.

Anoth­er San Juan Coun­ty award win­ner was Jim Slo­comb. He was hon­ored for his efforts as a ded­i­cat­ed salmon recov­ery project vol­un­teer. He began donat­ing time in 2001 with the For­age Fish Habi­tat Assess­ment project and has con­tin­ued ever since.  Slo­comb has recent­ly vol­un­teered hun­dreds of hours in order to com­plete the very com­plex Geo­graph­ic Infor­ma­tion Sys­tems (GIS) mod­el­ing required for the Salmon Habi­tat Pro­tec­tion Blue­print project.

“Many in our com­mu­ni­ty are grate­ful for all the time that Slo­comb ded­i­cates to marine resource pro­tec­tion efforts.  He has served on the coun­ty’s Marine Resources Com­mit­tee (MRC) for ten years and con­tin­ues to pro­vide count­less hours of vol­un­teer ser­vice to help the MRC achieve their goals and pro­gram objec­tives” com­ment­ed Bar­bara Rosenkot­ter, Lead Enti­ty Pro­gram Coor­di­na­tor for San Juan County.

Jim often donates the use of his boat for sur­vey and mon­i­tor­ing work. For the past two years, Slo­comb has also vol­un­teered hun­dreds of hours sam­pling water qual­i­ty in San Juan County.

Dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion event in Olympia, mem­bers of the pub­lic also had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn more about lead enti­ties, which are local, cit­i­zen-based orga­ni­za­tions that devel­op salmon habi­tat pro­tec­tion and restora­tion projects with the help of tech­ni­cal experts.   Lead enti­ty coor­di­na­tors and vol­un­teers from across the state were on hand to dis­cuss their work and projects.

Estab­lished by the state Leg­is­la­ture in 1998, the Lead Enti­ty pro­gram has grown to 27 lead enti­ties across the state and is con­sid­ered a nation­al mod­el for cre­at­ing effec­tive restora­tion projects at the local level.

“Salmon recov­ery and habi­tat restora­tion in our water­sheds would not be pos­si­ble with­out the part­ner­ships and com­mit­ment cre­at­ed through this crit­i­cal pro­gram,” WDFW Deputy Direc­tor Joe Stohr said.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Bar­bara Rosenkot­ter, San Juan Coun­ty Salmon Recov­ery Lead Enti­ty Coor­di­na­tor, 360–370-7593 or

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