Squaxin Island Tribe seeks more science on Johns Creek

The Squaxin Island Tribe has filed a petition with the state Department of Ecology (DOE) to stop all new water withdrawals, including permit-exempt wells, in the Johns Creek watershed near Shelton.

“Summer flows on Johns Creek are already below the minimum required by state rules to protect salmon spawning” said Jim Peters, chairman of the Squaxin Island Tribe. “The responsible thing to do is for everyone to stop new water withdrawals and figure out what’s really going on with the creek, especially because the impact of over 270 exempt wells drilled in the last 25 years has never been quantified.”

Squaxin Tribe Finds High Rate of Coho Mortality

KAMILCHE (September 17, 2007) – Juvenile coho salmon are disappearing before they can migrate out of deep South Puget Sound, according to results of a three-year acoustic tracking study by the Squaxin Island Tribe. Only 6 of 175 young wild and hatchery coho fitted with acoustic tags were tracked beyond the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

“That is an incredibly high drop off,” said Scott Steltzner, fisheries research biologist for the tribe. “Three to 4 percent of all South Puget Sound coho survive their entire three-year life cycle. We know that some juvenile salmon die along the way, but there shouldn’t be this drastic of a drop so soon.”

Sediment, Wind Could Contribute to Bacteria Pollution In Oakland Bay

Harmful bacteria leaking from failing septic systems and other animal sources may be getting trapped in the top layer of tideland sediments in upper Oakland Bay. The bacteria may be growing stronger especially during the warm, summer months.

“Bacteria feeding on nutrients in the sediment can amplify the actual pollution problem,” said John Konovsky, environmental program manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe.

DNA Study Points To Human Sources Of Pollution In Oakland Bay

SHELTON (January 9, 2007) – Human waste is an ingredient of increasing pollution in Oakland Bay, according to a cooperative study that examined the makeup of fecal coliform found in two corners of the bay.

Human waste is somehow directly contributing to rising pollution in Oakland Bay, an important shellfish area for the Squaxin Island Tribe and commercial shellfish growers. The study was conducted well away from the Shelton Wastewater Treatment Plant, so that is not the pollution source.

Successful Squaxin Appeal Protects Streamflows For Salmon

LACEY (October 20, 2006) – A proposal to use groundwater to compensate for the impacts of new wells near Woodland and Fox Creeks was rejected by the state Pollution Control Hearings Board. The ruling upheld an appeal by the Squaxin Island Tribe, challenging two Department of Ecology water right permits, allowing Miller Land and Timber LLC to drill two wells in the Woodland Creek watershed.

The hearings board said that in this case, state law does not permit adverse impacts to streamflows necessary for the preservation of fish and wildlife species.