Crowd floods meeting with Chinook tidegate concerns

Last week- we had our monthly Sea Resources Inc Board of Directors meeting. We operate the Historic Chinook Fish Hatchery- the oldest Salmon Hatchery in Washington State.

I thought it was kind of unusual that a few neighbors showed up, then more.... and more.... hhmmm... what is going on? I am thinking that Kenny's posting of the meeting agenda at the local Post Office was receiving much attention.

Well... not exactly. Unknown to us.. the Corps of Engineers /Bonneville Power...and some other government agencies had done a press release...that found its way to our local paper. The headline read-
'Big money flowing to our estuary'

then here is the part that got everyone so upset.

"A $1 million project slated for 2010 aims to replace a culvert under U.S. Highway 101, reconnecting the Columbia with an interior wetland near Fort Columbia. This would provide additional rearing areas for Chinook and chum salmon, while improving the food web for all estuary creatures.

A second, larger project would revisit long-term agency aspirations to remove the Chinook River tide gate and restore natural functionality to the interior system of wetlands and woods. No price tag and timeline have been attached to this plan, which has proven controversial in the past."

Controversial? That doesn't begin to describe the situation.

I remembered that my little camera was in my purse...and snapped a photo to document the meeting. The next day I sent it off to the newspaper... partly- wanting to say, "Hey, what were you guys thinking...printing up such a thing!?!!"

The paper printed my photo with the above title and this caption.
'Brian Wirkkala, standing right, and other landowners from the vicinity of the Chinook River estuary attended the board meeting of Sea Resources this week to share their concerns about federal aspirations to remove the Chinook river tidegate and begin restoring the river's natural tidal functions. The issue proved to be a stumbling block to earlier restoration plans, which agencies envision as a way of bringing back up to 1,100 acres of prime salon habitat. Sea Resources is not directly involved in the recently announced revival of this strategy. Board member Ken Osborne stands to the left.'