4th Annual Spring-run Chinook Symposium
Salmonid Restoration Federation and Salmon River Restoration Council (SRRC) hosted the 4th Annual Spring-run Chinook Symposium following the annual Salmon River Spring Chinook and Summer Steelhead Dives. This was a truly collaborative educational event with diverse symposium co-sponsors including the Salmon River Restoration Council, Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa and Klamath tribes, the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC), US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
The Symposium offered workshops, field tours, and presentations on problems and solutions specific to Spring-run Chinook. The event kicked off with a dive safety training on Tuesday, July 21st, followed by participation in the actual dives or an alternate Salmon River Education and Exploration workshop on July 22nd. A locally organized event, the dives bring together a coalition of agency personnel, tribal members, and concerned citizens who form small teams to dive the entire Salmon River in order to get the best possible estimate of salmonids holding in the Salmon River. The Salmon River surveys are a focal point in the effort to protect and restore Klamath Spring-run Chinook, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders in a cooperative approach to recovery. The Symposium began on Thursday, July 23rd with an opening welcome and blessing by Karuk Tribal representatives. SRF and SRRC then provided an overview and orientation for the rest of the symposium. The first session began with a Klamath Chinook stock identification research status report presented by Dr. Amy Sprowles and Andrew Kitzinger from Humboldt State University. Immediately afterwards, the Klamath Basin Spring Chinook Monitoring Program was discussed by Nat Pennington (SRRC Fisheries Program), LeRoy Cyr (US Forest Service, Ukonom Ranger District), Mike Belchik (Yurok Tribe Fisheries biologist), and Sara Borok (CDFG fisheries biologist). Toz Soto and Will Harling discussed juvenile winter rearing monitoring efforts on the Mid-Klamath and Salmon Rivers.
The symposium also featured Mid- Klamath and Salmon River fish passage improvement projects and off-channel habitat enhancement work. Presenters included Will Harling (MKWC), Toz Soto (Karuk Tribe), and Tom Hotaling and Nat Pennington (SRRC). Phd. Frank Lake, US Forest Service, presented on the relationship between fire and Klamath Basin spring-run Chinook. Andy Baker from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and Lyra Cressey from SRRC presented on the benefits for springrun Chinook under TMDLs. Ron Reed of the Karuk Tribe will provided a cultural perspective on Chinook, and Petey Brucker, Leroy Cyr, and Toz Soto provided a broad look at spring-run Chinook habitat restoration. Other sessions included harvest management and monitoring of spring-run Chinook in the Klamath basin, as well as potential ESA listing of spring-run Chinook. After dinner, there was a panel discussion on spring-run Chinook Recovery, including discussions about the Klamath Settlement.
Friday’s portion of the Symposium began with an orientation by Petey Brucker and several local tribal speakers, followed by three concurrent field tours. The Karuk Tribe hosted the Traditional Management Practices and Current Restoration Techniques tour, including road decommissioning, riparian restoration, and forestry management for fire fuels reduction. Toz Soto, Leroy Cyr, and Will Harling led a Mid-Klamath Mainstem Fish Passage Improvement and Offchannel Habitat Enhancement Float, with a discussion of refugia use and importance, creek mouth enhancement, and salmonid identification. Nat Pennington and Tom Hotalling of the Salmon River Restoration Council led the Salmon River Sampler workshop and tour, highlighting restoration efforts in the Salmon River Basin. Petey Brucker and Mark Garza will hosted an Upslope Restoration tour, including emphasis on topics such as road stewardship, noxious weed control, and fire, fuels, and forestry. Family activities for folks with children were provided by SRRC staff. Following the day tours and dinner there was a “Springer Soirée,” an evening gathering with live music by some fishy superstars, campfire revelry, and star-filled skies at a nearby campsite.