Celebrate International Beaver Day April 7, 2011!
Help people learn about these amazing animals on International Beaver Day, Thursday, April 7th. International Beaver Day is a fine time to hike to a beaver pond, arrange a display of books in your library, show a beaver video, and/or otherwise spread the word about nature’s engineer.

It’s all about the dams
Remember beavers are more than fascinating watchable wildlife; learning to coexist with this species can help solve major environmental problems. By building dams beavers restore the land’s most valuable ecosystem, wetlands. Not only are wetlands havens of life with biodiversity comparable to tropical rain forests, they also provide essential services, such as water cleansing, climate regulation, and moderating the flow of streams.

We now have 10% or less, of North America’s beaver population prior to Euro-American colonization. (A much smaller percentage of the original Eurasian beaver population remains.) As beavers were eradicated in past centuries, their dams no longer filtered silt from streams, and kept water on the land longer. As beavers were wiped out, the majority of wetlands were drained, and waterways became disconnected from their floodplains. Rivers became more like canals or sewers, leading to today’s problems with water pollution, erosion, and escalating damage from regional floods and droughts.

Luckily effective, economical methods of coexistence exist that allow beavers to be our allies in restoring a healthy environment. Today, manmade (mitigation) wetlands cost from $10,000 to 100,000 per acre to build, while each beaver family creates and maintains several acres of wetlands—for free.

Public meeting on salmon forecast kicks off season-setting process
February 18, 2011
Contact: Pat Pattillo, (360) 902-2705

© 2011 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

OLYMPIA – Anglers, commercial fishers and others interested in Washington state salmon fisheries can get a preview of this year’s salmon returns and proposed fishing seasons during a public meeting here March 1.

Kicking off the annual salmon season-setting process, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will present initial forecasts compiled by state and tribal biologists of 2011 salmon returns. The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the General Administration Building Auditorium at 11th Ave. and Columbia St. on the Capitol Campus. Those attending the meeting will have an opportunity to talk to fishery managers about the pre-season forecasts and participate in work sessions focusing on key salmon-management issues in the region. “Public input is an important part of the season-setting process,” said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW. “We encourage anyone who has an interest in salmon populations and recreational and commercial salmon fisheries to get involved in these discussions and take part in the development of upcoming fishing seasons.”

WDFW has also scheduled additional public meetings focusing on regional salmon issues through early April. A meeting schedule and more information about the salmon season-setting process is available on WDFW’s website at

Public review of the pre-season forecasts traditionally marks the start of the North of Falcon process, which brings state, tribal and federal fishery managers together to establish salmon seasons for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and the Washington coast.The North of Falcon process is held in conjunction with public meetings conducted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.

Final adoption of the 2011 salmon fisheries is scheduled for April 14 at the PFMC meeting in San Mateo, Calif.

Salmon recovery goes digital

Salmonscape is an interactive mapping application designed to display and report a wide range of data related to salmon distribution, status, and habitats. The data sources used by Salmonscape include stream specific fish and habitat data, and information about stock status and recovery evaluations.

SalmonScape, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s interactive, computer mapping system, is one of the most important tools created thus far to deliver scientific information to those involved in on-the-ground salmon recovery projects.

SalmonScape delivers the science that helps recovery planners identify and prioritize the restoration and protection activities that offer the greatest benefit to fish. The site also offers a significant environmental education tool for middle school and high school students.

Found at on the WDFW website, SalmonScape merges fish and habitat data collected by state, federal, tribal and local biologists and presents it in an integrated system that can be readily accessed by other agencies and citizens.

The site features multi-layered maps containing information on fish stock distribution and status, juvenile fish monitoring, habitat characteristics and stream blockages that impede fish passage. The various map views allow users to see data by watershed, county boundary and user-defined areas. Data can be displayed against background images that include shaded relief and aerial photos.

With SalmonScape, natural resource biologists in various public and private agencies can access an array of previously scattered data pertinent to salmon and fish habitat. The site’s maps can help planners pinpoint priority habitat restoration projects that will do the most good in recovering salmon populations. For example, SalmonScape allows viewers to see layered maps of salmon status and barriers to fish migration. Barriers that block access of critically depressed stocks to additional habitat may be a priority target for removal.

In a similar manner, SalmonScape offers transportation planners important information that can help them identify the most favorable locations for mitigation projects intended to off-set the habitat impact of new road construction. For example, local governments involved in growth management planning may wish to the learn the species of salmon, their status, distribution, and the habitat areas most important to maintaining salmon production when reviewing critical area ordinances.

In addition, SalmonScape allows students to visually grasp the relationships among habitat features, human development and fish stock status within a watershed or geographic area.

Selected map layers can be downloaded from the SalmonScape site and can be integrated with information collected and managed by government, industry and citizens.

SalmonScape maps were created with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, a computerized mapping system that displays and analyzes geographic features and other data.

The biological data contained on the SalmonScape site was collected by state, federal, tribal and local biologists as well as Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups (RFEGs) and watershed partners in the course of monitoring salmon and watershed health across Washington state. Fish distribution and use data were provided by the Stream Net, Limiting Factors Analysis and Salmonid Data Information Integration projects; salmonid stock status came from the Salmonid Stock Inventory (SaSi), and core habitat variables were provided by state and tribal Salmon and Steelhead Analysis Inventory and Analysis Program (SHIAPP). Over the coming year, additional data on stream features and fish passage barriers statewide will be added to the site.

SalmonScape was developed with funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Washington Legislature and a federal grant.

SalmonScape was developed for Internet Explorer, version 5.5 or newer, and may not work with other browsers. The IE security setting must be set to “Medium”. SalmonScape works best with screen resolutions of 1024 X 768 or 800 X 600.

Make sure to check out SalmonScape Help for FAQs and other information.

This application is graphics intensive and contains extensive javascript. On slower dial-up internet connections, the initial screen may take several minutes to load.

Browser Requirements:
SalmonScape was developed for Internet Explorer 5.5 or newer and may not work with other browsers. The IE security setting must be set to “Medium”. SalmonScape works best with screen resolutions of 1024 X 768.

Internet Explorer 7 or recent releases of other browsers may not allow SalmonScape to display map coordinates in the Status Bar. To do so, a browser option setting must be modified. See SalmonScapes’s FAQ for instructions on changing you Status Bar settings.

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