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April 3, 2020

2/19/2020 3:10:00 PM
Corps of Engineers: Fix Jetty Fishway to save salmon

This is a follow up on the Jetty Fishway. As I discussed in my previous letter, the fishway in the McGlynn-Goat Island rock jetty was built too shallow for passage of salmon fry on any tide less than four feet.
Washington law was violated by the Corps of Army Engineers during construction. Since RCW 75.20.060 states, among other things, that every obstruction across or in any stream shall be provided with a durable and efficient fishway (which shall be maintained in a practical and effective condition) it shall be kept open, unobstructed and supplied with sufficient quantity of water to freely admit passage of fish through the same. Every owner, manager, agent or person in charge of such an obstruction, who fail to comply with the provisions of this section is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
The Director of Washington State Fisheries bears the burden of enforcement of this and the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers is responsible to fix it.
Like the La Conner marina, which has to be dredged every few years to keep it open for pleasure boats, the same might be required for the fishway with a narrow channel north of it for a hundred yards or so and south of it upstream to Bald Island.
State Law RCW 75.20.090 says if a fishway is impractical fish hatcheries may be provided in lieu. That’s the reason Marblemount hatchery was built, but if a large percentage of their production is lost on the other end due to an inadequate fishway – then it’s time somebody goes back to the drawing board.
I watched the release of 400,000 King salmon fry from the Marblemount hatchery last year, all about four inches long with their adipose fin clipped to mark them as hatchery raised salmon. I wondered what percentage of them would go through the fishway to their usual channels for time to grow and adjust in Telegraph Slough and others north of La Conner and how many would arrive at the fishway when the tide was below four feet and be washed into Skagit Bay and Deception Pass to feed the cod fish.
Denny Sather

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