Monday, April 30, 2007

Coastal hatcheries?....Close 'em !!!

I've touched on this before and apparently the spectre of the Trask and Salmon River hatcheries closing has raised it's head again.
Oh those harvest minded folks in Tillamook county and participants of the most popular gear fishing website will cry "foul". No doubt certain Tillamook county good old boys will try to rally the troops against these closures because it may interfere with their pet projects....well to damn bad!

Coastal hatcheries, specifically the ones in Tillamook county are the models of waste and inefficiency. The deferred maintenance costs have made these hatcheries outdated and obsolete and they should be razzed into non-existence. This is the opportunity to finally rid ourselves of the stream polluting money holes these facilities have become.
Remember the cry and outrage from a few years ago about these same hatcheries? This time let's close them and if Tillamook county just has to have it's hatchery raised salmon and steelhead then those eggs can be reared by some other facility.
Myself, I would like to see an end to all hatcheries on the north coast and the wild spawning populations given a chance to rebound so this may be the opportunity for those wild fish to do just that.
I would rather see that Oregon general fund money that was spent on these wasteful hatcheries be spent on wild fish enhancement projects and habitat restoration instead of making sure guides have fish to harvest during the later winter months where historically they've never fished before until the steelhead broodstock programs were started. Let's close the coastal rivers in the heat of the summer and put an end to the ridiculous summer steelhead hatchery plants where the vast majority of fish go unharvested and so since that is the case then why even bother to keep pouring money into that program?
When you get right down to it the selfishness and greed of some is what keeps these programs afloat and it's my opinion that it's time to end it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Earth Day

Here we are some 37 years after the first earth day in 1970. Have we made progress in those 37 years? Maybe some but it's for sure that we have a long ways to go. Face it folks global warming is a fact! It's inescapable and irrefutable and most of all it's not political. Unfortunately those who believe that the earth is our "whore" to screw at our pleasure will not accept the fact that we have contributed greatly to global warming. Why is it we, as Americans, think we have all the answers and we know what is best for the entire world? Surely there must be other smart people in other countries! Well the Bush administration made it very clear from the beginning that our environmental laws are fine as long as they don't keep multinational corporations from making billions.

Oh they use cute sayings like "Clean Water Initiative" and other deceptive sayings but the fact remains that this administration continues to try to water down the ESA, propose the opening of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling and open national forest for logging and roads not to mention not listening to sound environmental science.
The battle for the Metolius is just another example of what is happening for the sake of profit.
I happen to think out rivers and lakes and wilderness areas are our gift to our children and grandchildren and so doesn't it make sense to do all we can to protect them? We owe it to them.

The Quiet Pool Moment of Adorable

I've been pretty preachy as of late because of the various issues that are important to me so it's time for a moment of unadulterated cuteness.
Here are two of my grandchildren. Conner Allan Stewart and Heidi Anne Stewart who is proudly wearing the family tartan by the way. They live in far off Medford, Oregon and we don't get to see them as much as we would like but this coming Memorial Day we will.
I'll bet those of you that know me think that there is nothing that can melt my gruff old heart..... Well these two can

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Our Responsibility

North Fork Umpua River looking upstream from Mott Bridge

I've been thinking about this topic for quite awhile and just couldn't get into words what I wanted to say.
Do we, as anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, have a responsibility to be good stewards over the natural resources we enjoy? Or are we just users of that resource, never putting anything back.
I know as for myself I could do a lot more than I do. I could spend the day cleaning up stream side garbage or donating money to groups that fight for what we take for granted. I, as a retired person, could volunteer more of my time to the things I hold dear.
I believe we Americans have what I call the "Costco" mentality. Those of you that have shopped at Costco know what I am talking about if you've ever been there on a busy Saturday afternoon. We see aisle after aisle of all this merchandise and it's too much for our senses to take in. We feel we better push and shove in order to get all we think we need or are entitled to because it just may not be there next week.
I see the same type of behavior when it comes to our rivers and lakes. We feel entitled to what is there like it's owed to us or something and therefore it's ours to plunder. Forget about doing anything to actually makes things better because it's our God given right to take all the earth has to offer.
That type of thinking is abhorrent! Anyone who thinks that has no soul as far as I'm concerned.
So go ahead and call me a salmon hugger or tree hugger or whatever but I happen to think that we have some places in this country and this world that are worth saving! Places that should be preserved and not looked upon as a way to generate revenue and make some international corporation wealthy.
Ask yourself you have just a little time or even money to give back to the things in the outdoors that mean so much? Or are you just a user and feel it's all owed to you?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Save The Metolius....Update

I wrote my state senator Bruce W. Starr and asked him to support SB30 which would prohibit the construction of destination resorts within the Metolius basin and here is the response I got from him.

Dear Shane,
Thank you for the email.
I am hesitant to support SB 30 and bypass the local process that
is currently underway. I appreciate your writing and will watch the
bill. It may be amended and I could modify my view of the bill.

Bruce W. Starr
Oregon State Senate
District 15

Here is my response back to him

Thank you for responding Sen. Starr but I cannot agree that this should be handled on the local level. Apparently the local county government is the one trying to push these zoning changes in order to accommodate the construction of these destination resorts. The Metolius is one of the real special places in Oregon and it would be a shame to see it ruined for the sake of a golf course and resort. The general public in Oregon cannot afford to stay at Central Oregon resorts like Sun River or Black Butte Ranch but the natural beauty of the Metolius basin is something everyone can enjoy. I urge again to please consider supporting SB30.
Shane Stewart
Hillsboro, OR.

Being the son of a former republican state senator Charles Starr and land owner here in Washington County I did not expect much from Sen. Starr and so I was not disappointed. His father did a lot of zoning law hocus-pocus and I expect no different from the son.
By letting the local Jefferson County government settle this he is basically giving his blessing to what they are trying to do.
Any of you that love this river and wilderness area should contact your state senator and express your concern.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

No More Wild Fish?

Were you guys aware of that? Gee I wish someone would have informed the rest of us ignorant people

Here are some quotes from gear/bait oriented NW fsihing website that shall remain nameless.

As far as I'm concerned, the descendants of the hatchery fish in the rivers are natives once again. I don't know that we should take fish from one river and put them in another, but I don't know how much that would hurt, either. I'm sure some natives find new rivers to spawn in naturally

It gets better folks! Here is more brilliance

So we should let all fish spawn in the rivers, triple our hatchery output and start eating everything. I can tell you fish with fins taste just like the ones without.

Then these pearls of wisdom

The hippies like to say wild fish are genetically different, and their right! boys and girls are genetically different, everybody is genetically different, but we are all the same species! its just a way to split hairs, and spin the truth. saying that hatchery fish are inferior and should be destroyed is insane, it just pushes an agenda. funny thing is if you look carefully their beliefs parallel those who want a "pure" or "superior" race, the same who believe people who suffer from genetic defects such as retardation do not deserve a chance. don't get me wrong, I'm in no way putting the same value on fish as humans, just trying to illustrate the same flawed thinking! but then again I know a few people lower than squawfish!!!

Forunately there are people out there that know better and are the voice of reason. The quote below is from someone within the same thread. It shows that there are some that believe in the importance of strong native fish populations.

Too imply that there are no longer native fish, is also pushing an agenda.

There are still native fish. There are watersheds/tribs that were never stocked. There are creeks and streams with wild native spawning fish.

And, you didn't say just salmon. There are most definitely native trout in this state and they are amazingly different and adapted to their river system.
If you stay focused only on the biggest rivers, the biggest producers, you might see more hatchery fish, cause that's where we focused hatcheries. The little waters are still there. They still have natives. I hope we will always have native fish.

So what point am I trying to make? Simply this! There is a lot of ignorant and uncaring people out there that think any natural resource is just ours to plunder as we see fit. That kind of thinking has gotten us to the where we are today. We are perched precariously on the cliff of extinction of native fish runs...sorry for the pessimism but there it is. If not for groups like Native Fish Society, Oregon Trout and others we would be plunging headlong over that cliff and into the abyss.
There are also a lot of uneducated folks out there that just don't know what is true or false.
We need to do our best to inform them and not let them fall for the lies those "arm chair" biologists try to spread.
Sorry for the preaching but this kind of stuff really get's my blood up.