Smoke signals. (Grand Ronde, Or.) 19??-current, February 15, 2012, Page 10, Image 10

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    10 FEBRUARY 15, 2012
Smoke Signals
Fish and Wildlife
The Fish and Wildlife Department manages native fish and wildlife and
their habitats to provide opportunities for sustainable cultural and recre
ational uses for current and future generations of Tribal members.
The management covers a broad range of actions, including replacing
culverts to open up fish habitat and spawning grounds; working with the
Timber and Roads Department to ensure stream protections are met; com
pleting water quality tests and strategically placing trees in the streams;
researching fish populations; and dumping salmon carcasses to enrich
nutrients for different fish species.
The Tribe cooperates with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to
manage fish and wildlife in Oregon and on Reservation land.
Under the Natural Resources Division's 10-Year Management Plan,
the Fish and Wildlife Department developed guidelines indentified as
important in achieving a high standard of natural resources manage
ment. These guidelines continue to shape the management practices on
the Reservation.
In addition to Natural Resource's 10-Year Management Plan, the Fish
and Wildlife Department is nearing the completion of a department-specific
plan, which has outlined management goals and objectives for species found
on and near the Reservation. This document will guide fish and wildlife
management practices and provide structure on how to meet those goals.
This is different from defaulting to the state fish and wildlife plans and is
an important step in Tribal sovereignty.
Habitat Management
Habitat management is a key component in achieving a high standard
of natural resources management and maintaining sustainable fish and
wildlife populations.
The Fish and Wildlife Department works collaboratively with the Tim
ber and Roads Department to ensure water resources and wildlife habitat
components are protected on the Reservation. This is done through envi
ronmental compliance, assisting in timber sale planning and monitoring
before, during and after cutting takes place.
Stream buffers leave trees between timber cutting and the stream and
help keep water systems in good condition for aquatic life. Wildlife trees
(trees left standing after harvest), snags and down logs provide structural
diversity in animal and insect habitat.
Stream Health
Water quality studies are done both on the Reservation and in the sur
rounding Grand Ronde community. Monitoring changes in stream health
helps meet fish management goals, protect recreational use and improve
the overall biological and chemical health of local water systems.
Streams are sampled monthly for bacteria, nutrient, temperature,
turbidity and conductivity levels. This data helps identify problem areas
that need restoration, as well as monitors the before and after effects of
restoration and management activities.
The Natural Resources Division has done restoration work to improve
stream health. Previous to Natural Resource's 10-Year Management Plan,
10 culverts were replaced on the Reservation; the plan set a goal for another
three culverts to be replaced, totaling 13 culvert replacements that have
resulted in opening up 20 miles of fish habitat and spawning grounds.
Within these opened stretches, 150 logs have been placed to increase
large woody debris habitat and salmon carcasses are placed seasonally to
enrich aquatic nutrients for fish species.
The results of these efforts can be seen with the annual fall Coho salmon
return. Agency Creek in Grand Ronde is 3l,000th of the total Willamette
sub-basin watershed and it currently receives more than 4 percent of the
total returning Coho salmon to spawn. The returning salmon are counted
at the Agency Creek fish weir, which monitors fall salmon and winter
steelhead runs to help provide population estimates and develop fish
management goals.
During the spring, a smolt trap is placed in Agency Creek upstream from
the weir and is used to count fry (newly hatched fish) and smolts (year-old
fish). These counts help predict future adult spawning returns as well as
play a part in developing management goals.
Pacific Lamprey
Pacific lamprey is a culturally significant species to the Tribe and is
also found in Agency Creek. For reasons unknown, they are in declining
in abundance.
The Tribe is working collaboratively with Oregon State University and
Cramer Fish Sciences to conduct behavior research on the species. It is a
four-year study that began in 2008.
Adult lamprey are caught below Willamette Falls, implanted with radio
tags and released above the Falls into the main stem of the Willamette
River. The Tribe has tagged about 120 lampreys each year from April
through August and more were tagged by Cramer Fish Sciences.
The Tribe uses radio-telemetry to track tagged fish behavior and move-
1 0 -yea
The Agency Creek Fish Weir was constructed in
2006 and began operations in 2007.
It is designed to capture migrating adult salmonids
and is in operation from mid-October through early
The weir has given Tribal biologists the opportunity
to gain valuable information on the number, health,
gender composition, age structure and migration
timing of salmonids in Agency Creek.
The weir is likely to remain an important tool Qtr
the long-range goals of steelhead restoration ifS
Tribal waters. ,V
ments within the Willamette River. Receivers that track and record the
radio-tagged lamprey movements are placed throughout the main stem
of the Willamette River and major tributaries.
The Tribe now manages 22 receiver sites on the main stem and tribu
taries from the McKenzie River in Eugene up through the Tualatin River
in West Linn. The data records year-round and the sites are maintained
monthly. Collaborative efforts have been made to analyze this data and
develop more information on the species.
The Fish and Wildlife Department is conducting genetic studies on both
Coho salmon and Pacific lamprey. The salmon study is to determine the
genetic origin of Coho on the Reservation.
Genetic samples are collected during the fall salmon run at the fish
weir by snipping a small section of the tail and sending it for laboratory
Lamprey genetics are taken while radio tagging adults at Willamette
Falls and aim to determine if they, like salmon, return to the same stream
they were born in to spawn.
Big Game
Black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk hunting are popular and active cul
tural and recreational pursuits on the Reservation. The Tribe has dedicated
substantial resources to enhance conditions for these species.
A management goal for Natural Resource's 10-Year Management Plan
was to create 78 acres of elkdeer meadow habitat. The 78 acres have been
created, along with 22 acres created previous to the plan, to total 100
elkdeer acres on the Reservation.
Disease testing is done on black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk through
hunter participation. Hunters who wish to participate in the research
study bring in the animal and, as an incentive, are entered into a season
end drawing for a gift card. The lymph nodes and brain stem are collected
and sent to the state for Chronic Wasting Disease testing. Additionally,
the lower front teeth are collected and sent in to determine the age of the
animal and assist in developing population estimates.
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