Clallam Bay: Huge fish kill spurs residents to open river mouth


Peninsula Daily News

CLALLAM BAY -- After at least 2,000 trapped salmon and steelhead smolts died high and dry at the Clallam River mouth late last week, residents and fisheries officials found only one option to save thousands more:

Dig a trench to artificially breach a natural sand spit between the slow-flowing river and bay.

``It was pretty clear that the river mouth was closed earlier than normal,'' said Bill Freymond, state Department of Fish and Wildlife district fish biologist for the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Normally, the river's mouth closes in June after salmon smolt migration. This year it closed April 10.

Freymond said state fisheries officials agreed to declare the coho, chum and steelhead smolt situation an emergency to put the hydraulic permit process on the fast track.

That allowed the timely digging of a six-foot-wide, 100-foot-long trench from the river through the spit to Clallam Bay.

An emergency situation allows for verbal approval from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, ``so we were able to do that,'' Freymond said.

Normally, the river's mouth naturally closes in its low flows of June, Freymond said.

But even the year's highest tide on Thursday could not breach the state-owned spit.



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site