Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

By CVN Staff 

Logging, fish decline well-documented


January 13, 2011

In response to Dave Werner, clearly dams, bad fisheries management, high seas gillnets, etc. caused serious harm to salmon in the Pacific Northwest. So have bad logging practices. Federal fisheries scientists investigated this issue decades ago. They found that "declines in fish habitat capability occur when about 25 percent of the timber base within a watershed has been clearcut." (Reeves, et al, 1993; Anadramous Fish Habitat Assessment, Report to Congress 1995.) More than double this amount of cutting was exceeded many years ago in the Kelsall Valley. Scientists with the Alaska region of the U.S. Forest Service also stated in the 1995 Report to Congress, "The cumulative effects of frequent (logging and roadbuilding) disturbances in the Pacific Northwest have been shown to substantially reduce the quality of freshwater fish habitats resulting in negative consequences for species, stocks and populations of fish that depend on them, even if coniferous cover is left in buffer strips along the fish-bearing streams."

Having walked the Kelsall and Tahini Rivers counting kings for a decade, I am astounded that Mr. Werner says the Kelsall shows no signs of logging damage. Also, the fact that the Tahini River, just up the Chilkat from the Kelsall, has had steady returns of kings for 20 years while the Kelsall has declined drastically makes it unlikely that factors other than logging have caused the decline.

Once again, the goal is not blame but rather understanding the problem and restoring the most important king run in northern Southeast.

Eric Holle



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