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Update posted 5 hours ago

Petition to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind

Protect Puget Sound Juvenile Steelhead

Photo of juvenile steelhead courtesy of Bill McMillan Puget Sound Steelhead were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as Threatened on May 11, 2007. A threatened species is defined as "any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range." Since 2007, populations have continued to decline. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently assessed twenty Puget Sound wild steelhead stocks and found that twelve have a "high" risk of extinction. The current population is estimated to be less than 4% of what it was prior to the turn of the 20th century. Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species. The difference is rainbow stay in freshwater their entire lives, while steelhead go to sea and return to fresh water as adults to spawn. Most juvenile steelhead go to sea at age 2 or 3. Until then they are vulnerable to fishing in our local rivers and streams. Steelhead and salmon that are headed to sea are referred to as smolts. Smolts become silvery in color and their physiology changes as they migrate from fresh water to salt water. Steelhead face many challenges such as climate change and habitat destruction as they attempt to recover from their current depleted population status.  A challenge that is relatively simple to mitigate is the number of fish allowed to be caught by anglers in our local waters. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) regulations currently open fishing in the majority of Puget Sound rivers and streams on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend (late May), Regulations also state that in the majority of Puget Sound rivers and streams juvenile rainbow trout and steelhead must be a minimum of 12" to be kept, and fishing with bait is allowed. There is overwhelming evidence in studies of hooking mortality that juvenile steelhead and rainbow trout caught using bait sustain a much higher percentage (30-50%) of mortalities when released than those caught on artificial tackle such as flies and lures (5-10%). Hook location is the primary reason for this. Hook location when using bait is typically in critical areas such as the gills or deep in the esophagus. Hook location using flies and lures is typically in non-critical areas such as the jaw or corner of the mouth. The vast majority of juvenile rainbow trout and steelhead are less than 12" and are therefore required to be released. The 30-50% mortality figure applies each time a fish is hooked and released.  We propose that WDFW change their regulations to: Ban the use of bait in all streams and rivers in the Puget Sound Basin. Delay the opening of fishing to the middle of June or later in order to allow all out-migrating steelhead smolts to fully vacate freshwater habitats and hopefully make it safely to the sea. The current WDFW regulations allow bait even though the vast majority of fish are required to be released because they are under the 12"minimum size limit. This makes no sense and what is even more troubling is that the fish that are impacted are ESA listed and at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. The regulations we propose will prevent countless thousands of juvenile steelhead and rainbow trout from being killed annually! If you support our petition please let WDFW Director Kelly Susewind know by signing and forward our petition to others who may be interested. Thank you. Sam Wright and Larry Lowe Retired Washington State Fisheries Biologists  

Larry Lowe
562 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Environmental Protection Agency

Manatees starving to death due to EPA’s lack of water quality standards

How you can help: Show your support for biodiversity and the reinitiation of the EPA’s water quality standards of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon to save the manatees main food source to keep them from starving to death. Please share and encourage your family and friends to sign this petition, a little effort can go a long way. If you can, please donate to to help initiate the efforts of the law suit against the EPA for neglecting these manatees. Background: The EPA abandoned manatees to Florida's inadequate water quality measures.  Florida has repeatedly failed to rein in sources of pollution that cause algae outbreaks, such as wastewater-treatment plants, leaking septic systems, and fertilizer runoff.  The algae outbreaks kill off the seagrass that manatees eat. The EPA approved the state’s water-quality standards, concluding they would not “adversely affect” manatees. Under the Endangered Species Act, the EPA must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to approve state water-quality measures to ensure they protect threatened and endangered wildlife. In December 2021, after hundreds of manatees died from starvation, conservation groups threatened to sue the EPA if it didn't reinitiate consultation over the measures (it didn't). Without their main food source, Florida’s iconic manatees have been dying. Excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from pollutants killed thousands of acres of seagrass in Indian River Lagoon last year. Manatees return to the lagoon’s warm water each winter to feed on seagrass. The lagoon is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America. In a Band-Aid effort, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced emergency plans to feed the manatees romaine lettuce last winter and set up a temporary field response station at the Indian River Lagoon. Conservation groups are demanding that the EPA fulfill its responsibility under law to protect the manatees. Earthjustice is representing three conservation groups in this case: Save the Manatee Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Center for Biological Diversity. These groups are pushing the court to make EPA restart consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to reassess its approval of Florida's water quality measures for the Indian River Lagoon. "Manatees need clean water to live in — it's that simple,” says Earthjustice attorney Elizabeth Forsyth. “The pollution in the Indian River Lagoon is preventable. We're asking EPA to step in and ensure the protection of the Indian River Lagoon and the species that depend on it.” This section was pasted from Earthjustice’s post on LinkedIn titled “We’re Suing: Manatees Need More than Lettuce from our Leaders”

Karis Polfer
330 supporters