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This is a two-part interview.  Part 1 focuses on Dr. Scholz’s earlier years and his basic research in fisheries.  Part 2 covers his Eastern Washington University years, helping to build the foundation for restoring fisheries (including returning salmon to the Upper Columbia), teaching the current generation of fishery biologists in the region, and helping build tribal fisheries programs and the Upper Columbia United Tribes.

Part 1.  Salmon Science. 

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Allan Scholz – scientist, and pivotal figure in restoring fisheries in the Upper Columbia River region.

The basic scientific research into how salmon adjust from freshwater to saltwater, and then are able to return from the ocean to their home streams. Interview on January 7, 2015

John Osborn (JO).  Tell us about how you came to be a fisheries biologist.

Allan Scholz  My father was in the U.S. Air Force.  I was born in the Philippines at Clark Air Force Base, and spent my childhood moving around from place to place.  When we lived in Valdosta, Georgia, I spent a lot of time playing in the Okefenokee Swamp.  After my dad retired in Dover, Delaware, we moved back to my family home in Wisconsin – Mom and Dad were both from Wisconsin.

Path to Aquatic Biology

I spent my high school years in West Bend, Wisconsin. That’s actually where I developed a great interest in aquatic biology.  When I attended the University of Wisconsin for my undergraduate degree, I became involved with the limnology lab.  In charge of the lab was Arthur Hasler, a well-known limnologist and fisheries biologist.  I began working on tracking white bass on Lake Mendota.

Then I began working with crew from that lab tracking salmon all over the world.  We did a lot of our work in the Great Lakes (especially Lake Michigan and Lake Superior), San Juan Islands, the Dixon Entrance (off the coast of southeast  Alaska and northern British Columbia), and Otsuchi Bay in Japan.

Commercial fishing of sockeye salmon was heavily debated by fishermen in British Columbia and Washington.  We tracked sockeye through the San Juan Islands by ultrasonic telemetry.    We caught fish in reef nets on the southeast corner of Lopez Island near the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and tracked them to see how many went to the Fraser River and how many went to U.S. waters.  This would allow for determining how much catch could be done by the parties.  The Fraser River was producing most of the sockeye.  A few sockeye were being produced in southern Puget Sound.

We were doing similar work in Alaska.  At the Dixon Entrance, located between the Alaska and British Columbia, fish could migrate into the Skeena River or Nass River in B.C, or into smaller tributaries of the panhandle of Alaska.

Studying salmon migration on the West coast, Alaskan gyre

While our work was to help figure out how the catch would be partitioned, we were interested in basic science as well.  We wanted to know what cues salmon use to find their home stream.  One of the biggest things we noticed was these fish were impacted greatly by tidal currents.  During ebb currents, fish made most of their progress toward their home stream.  On flood tides, fish held their position.  So, we think when currents are ebbing, there is good directed flow carrying the odor from out of their home streams toward the ocean – and allowing fish to detect that odor.

JO  When were you doing this work?

Allan Scholz  – 1967, and ‘68.

I’m not sure how our work affected the catch –   the United States probably caught as much sockeye as they ever did.  While the U.S. was catching a lot of Canada sockeye, the Canadians were catching a lot of Chinook salmon from the Columbia River.   Those salmon migrate along the coast particularly along the west side of Vancouver Island, then along the coast to the Queen Charlotte Islands until they enter the Alaska Gyre.  The currents move clockwise, taking salmon out past the international dateline. The Chinook spend a couple of years in that gyre, break off, and return to the Columbia River.  On their return they migrate along the coastline.  When they are off of the west coast of Vancouver Island, a large number migrate into the Straits of Juan de Fuca, as far as the San Juan Islands.  They are intercepted by B.C. commercial fisherman.

We have this situation where U.S. fishermen are collecting a lot of Canadian sockeye, and the Canadians are intercepting a lot of Columbia River Chinook.  Some of the issues are still being resolved.  I’m not sure whether our study helped with resolving the conflicts, but our work did help further understand salmon migration in the north Pacific.

How salmon find their way home:  the olfactory hypothesis

Basically our studies supported the olfactory hypothesis for salmon homing.  This hypothesis has three main points.

First, young salmon, before they begin migrating to the ocean, form a long-term memory of the odor of their natal tributary.  This is called olfactory imprinting.  Konrad Lorenz won a Nobel Prize for his discovery of imprinting in geese.  It was well known that a gosling will follow its mother wherever she goes.  This was long thought to be related to genetics.  Instead, Lorenz showed that this was a learned behavior.  Lorenz removed the mother goose from her eggs.  As the eggs hatched, he waddled around in front of eggs.  The goslings formed a permanent attachment to Lorenz and followed him around.  There are famous photographs of him swimming in a pond or walking across a street in the city of Berlin with a dozen little goslings trailing behind him.  Thus, Lorenz had discovered a new type of memory, one that was rapidly learned and that the animal never forgot.  Contrast this with conventional memories that must be learned over time and are readily forgotten. Lorenz coined the term “imprinting” to convey both the rapid learning and permanent aspects of his “imprinted memory.”

At the end of World War II, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Arthur D. Hasler, had a job working for the U.S. military trying to recruit scientists.  He met Lorenz.  Hasler was always interested in fish, and homing in salmon particularly.  He became interested in imprinting and whether what Lorenz had seen was also true in other animals.  Hasler was the first to develop the hypothesis that each stream has a unique chemical composition detected by fish.  What gives each stream its unique chemical composition are the organic odors in the stream: the fauna and flora that give each stream a unique signature.

So the first element of Hasler’s hypothesis was that each stream has a unique signature.

The second element was that young salmon become imprinted to this odor when they   leave their natal stream.  This odor becomes a permanent memory the young salmon never forget.  After salmon migrate to the ocean, they subsequently use that odor for homing.   This involves two aspects: somehow they’re able to get from the ocean to the mouth of the river.  Then, as they near the mouth of their home river, they’re able to use the odor as a cue to migrate up it to their home tributary.

The home stream odor is a stimulus that elicits a stereotype behavior to swim against a current.  If odor is present, salmon migrate upstream.  If odor is not present, then salmon will migrate downstream until finding the odor.  Most salmon are able to find their home tributary in this manner.  They do this with remarkable accuracy:  90-99 percent spawn in the same tributary where they were born.

The work that we were doing in the San Juan Islands and British Columbia supported that hypothesis.   When the current along the coastline is ebbing, odors form distinct bands in the ocean and fish are able to track the odor.  Flood currents disperse odor plumes and don’t provide any direction for the fish to move.

JO  So that’s how you became involved as a scientist with fisheries?

Allan Scholz   That’s how I got interested in salmon.  For my graduate work, I worked with Hasler to test the olfactory hypotheses for salmon homing.  Hasler had proposed that the best way to test the olfactory imprinting hypothesis was to expose the young salmon to an artificial (synthetic) chemical odor not found in nature, and then introduce that odor into a place where the adult salmon had never been when young, and see if it could attract them back to that place.  Since we were working in the Great Lakes, we had an ideal setup for the test.

Lake Michigan salmon studies

The Great Lakes had a lot of lake trout and smaller fish that the lake trout ate.  When they built the Welland Canal and Saint Lawrence Seaway, Atlantic sea lamprey came into the Great Lakes.  The lamprey wiped out the lake trout, and the fishery collapsed.  Part of the collapse was caused by overfishing, but the sea lamprey is what finally did them in.  Along with the sea lamprey came a small herring-like fish called the alewife.  Since there were no more lake trout, alewife became so abundant there were massive die-offs of fish along the beaches.  I remember dead alewives piled up waist-deep on the beaches in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Then, the Michigan and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources had the great idea to introduce Pacific salmon to forage on the abundant alewife.  The result was one of the most successful introductions of fish anywhere.  I normally don’t like to introduce fish to a place where they’re not native because it is a game of chance.  Often the introduced species will prey on or compete with native fish for food and space and often displace the native species.  The reason why the introduction of Pacific salmon from the West Coast into the Great Lakes was so successful was that the native species they were most likely to compete with, the lake trout, had been reduced below the carrying capacity of the environment for producing them by the combination of overfishing and sea lamprey predation.  Additionally, the stocked Pacific salmon readily ate the alewife, which was also a non-native fish to the Great Lakes, and thereby prevented the alewife die-offs on the beaches.  Also, the salmon provided a new sports fishery for the people of Great Lakes.

We saw a chance to perform Hasler’s experiment.  Wisconsin was the best of all places for the study.  About half of the state’s rivers flowed into Lake Michigan and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean;  half flowed into the Mississippi River and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.

We reasoned if we took fish, exposed them to these synthetic chemicals in hatcheries associated with the Mississippi River drainage and then stocked them directly into Lake Michigan, they never would have experienced cues learned from the lake’s tributaries.  Then we could drip the chemical into a lake tributary and see how many fish came back there.  That’s the experiment.

We found two synthetic chemicals, morpholine and phenylethyl alcohol.  Both are synthetic, and not naturally found in the environment.  Morpholine is used occasionally in the cleaning of pipes in power plants, is really foul smelling – like horse urine.  Phenylethyl alcohol is used as a base in perfumes, sweet smelling . . . disgustingly sweet.  If you spilled a drop on your pants and did not wash them for two weeks, you would still be able to smell the phenylethyl alcohol on them.  The chemical makes perfumes long-lasting.  A big advantage to using both chemicals is they are artificial (synthetically manufactured) and could be detected by fish in low concentrations.  The amount fish can detect is about a drop in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  Since we didn’t know what these two chemicals would do to a natural environment, we wanted to use small amounts to minimize any damage.

We think that the time imprinting takes place is when the fish smolt.  That’s when the fish migrate to the ocean.  The reason we thought this was because in studies where Pacific salmon were raised in hatcheries in one river but then were transported to a different river where they were released as smolt, adults returned to the second river and not the river that contained the hatchery. Fish learn rapidly to recognize these odors. Two hours to two days exposure is sufficient for them to become permanently imprinted to them. We used three raceways at the fish hatchery:   we dripped morpholine into one raceway, phenylethyl alcohol into the second; and the third we left unchanged as a control.  We loaded the fish on a hatchery truck, and released the salmon directly into Lake Michigan.  These fish never had any experience with a Lake Michigan tributary.

Most of the fish were released midway between two streams that we’d later treat with morpholine and phenylethyl alcohol.  Because we were concerned that the salmon might learn cues about one or the other of those streams at the time they were released, we did another experiment.  We got the salmon to shore, loaded them onto a Coast Guard helicopter with a Forest Service fire bucket, flew them about 10 or 15 miles offshore, lowered the bucket, and allowed the fish to escape that way into Lake Michigan.

What we had done in the hatchery was to mark each group of fish.  The fish exposed to morpholine had one kind of mark, phenylethyl alcohol another, and the control group another mark.  We allowed the fish to live in the Lake Michigan for one and a half years, until sexually mature.

During the spawning migration period, we metered morpholine into one of the stream and phenylethyl alcohol into the second stream. Then we sampled the stream, and not only those two streams but also all of the tributaries of Lake Michigan to find where our fish came back to.  The return of fish to Lake Michigan tributaries was monitored by conducting electrofishing surveys and/or trapping fish in weirs (then seining them out) as they came back to the tributaries.  Also, many fish were caught by anglers so we conducted creel surveys (talked to anglers to determine how many of our marked fish had been caught by them).  We found that 95% of the morpholine exposed fish came back to the morpholine-scented stream, about 90% of the phenylethyl alcohol came back to the phenylethyl alcohol-scented stream. In contrast, the control fish returned to several tributaries within about a 40 mile radius of the location where they were stocked.  We repeated this experiment again and obtained similar results.

The experiments at Lake Michigan lasted for about six years.  The main species we studied was coho salmon, but also brown trout and steelhead trout were tested.  Both the coho and steelhead came from the West Coast.  Brown trout historically came from Europe, and is not native to the U.S. The results cited above were for our studies using coho salmon but results for all three species were similar.

That these fish had homed back to streams where odors had been placed strongly supported the olfactory hypothesis.  We published a paper about this in Science Magazine in 1976.  That was my Masters thesis research.

How smolts migrate to the ocean and then adjust from freshwater to saltwater

For my PhD research the question that I had was what actually stimulates the imprinting process.  When I was a graduate student, I became interested in hormones and worked with an endocrinologist, Robert Goy, at the University of Wisconsin  primate laboratory learning how to do radioimmunoassays.  Rosalyn Yalow earned a Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1977 for the development of her radioimmunoassay technique, which allowed us for the first time to measure small titers of hormones in blood.

One of the things I knew was the salmon smolting process is stimulated by hormones.  What happens with salmon when they smolt is they first detect a change in day length.  As the day length becomes long in the spring signals are sent to the hypothalamus.  The hypothalamus begins to secrete a variety of releasing factors that affect the anterior pituitary gland.

Three main changes occur during smoltification.  The first of these is the ability of the fish to osmoregulate and survive in salt water. Young salmon, before they smolt, cannot survive in salt water.  If removed from their freshwater environment and placed in a tank of full-strength seawater they are not able to osmoregulate and accumulate salt ions until they die.  After they pass through smolt transformation they are able to osmoregulate in full-strength seawater, do not accumulate salt ions, and survive when placed in a tank of full strength seawater.

During the time the salmon is a freshwater resident, prolactin is important.  In amphibians and fish, if you remove the anterior pituitary gland, the fish or amphibian in freshwater will just absorb freshwater until they die (their osmotic concentration is much less than it’s supposed to be).  If you give different types of hormones as replacement therapy, none have any effect unless you give prolactin.

Prolactin given to hypophysectomized fish allows them to live in freshwater just fine. They don’t swell; their body fluids don’t become too dilute.

One thing we know during smoltification, is that prolactin is a freshwater hormone.  For salmon to switch to saltwater, prolactin has to go away.  One of the thing that happens during prolonged daylight is a signal goes the hypothalamus to release a prolactin inhibiting factor.  Prolactin inhibiting factor travels to the anterior pituitary to shut down the prolactin producing cells there.

When salmon return to freshwater from the ocean, prolactin cells cannot be reactived.  Without prolactin, the fish cannot maintain osmotic balance – their flesh becomes mushy, so in attempting to jump waterfalls and while traversing rapids, big chunks of flesh are ripped from their bodies.  These factors contribute to their eventual post-spawning death.

The change in day length also turns on other hormones.  Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) releasing factor and ACTH releasing factor are released from the hypothalamus, travel to anterior pituitary gland where they stimulate the release of TSH and ACTH.  TSH travels to the thyroid gland where it stimulates production of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).  ACTH travels to the interrenal glands (equivalent to human adrenal glands), stimulating the release of cortisol.

In freshwater, fish never drink freshwater since they can absorb water through their gills and skin.  The fish kidney has a high GFR [glomerular filtration rate].   Fish urine is dilute because the fish kidney does not have a loop of Henley. (In contrast, mammals have a loop of Henley and form concentrated urine.)  What happens is that in freshwater, the kidney produces dilute urine to maintain osmotic balance.  When the fish migrates to saltwater, the kidney shuts down (the GFR is extremely low), which is probably caused by a shift in the balance of osmoregulatory hormones.  After the kidney shuts down, the fish begins to drink salt water and excretes salts across the gills.  Cortisol is the main hormone involved with this.  Cortisol travels to the gills and activates sodium-potassium ATPase, which is an enzyme in the gill membrane that functions as an outwardly directed sodium-ion pump.  These changes allow salmon to osmoregulate and survive in saltwater.  In both freshwater and saltwater the salmon maintain an internal osmotic concentration of their body fluid at about 300 milliosmols per liter –or about one third of the concentration of full strength seawater.  For comparison, full-strength seawater has an osmotic concentration of 1000 milliosmols per liter and freshwater has an osmotic concentration of about 25 milliosmols per liter.

The second of the changes that occurs during smoltification is a color change in the animal.  Before fish smolt, they have a lot of dark markings call “parr marks.”  In Europe, young salmon before smolting are called parr.   Parr marks are caused by chromatophores in the skin.

Salmon have two ways they can alter their coloration.  One is by hormonal or neural stimulation of the chromatophores.  Salmon have a second cell called iridocytes that secrete large amounts of different colored crystals.  One type of iridocyte produces silver guanine crystals.  In skin of salmon, guanine crystals superimpose over the parr marks, and mask them.  The fish turn silver on the sides.  While in streams, parr marks act as protective coloration allowing fish to blend in with vegetation and the sides of streams.  Predators can’t see them.  Once they enter the ocean, the silver color provides protection.  Predators looking up can’t see the fish as well because they blend in with the spectral points of light on the surface.

The third change that occurs during smolt transformation is a distinctive change in their behavior.  Parr hanging out in a stream are territorial and defend their feeding territory from encroachment by other fish.  They are oriented upstream, feeding primarily on insects drifting past them on the surface or crawling along the bottom beneath them.  During smoltification, territorial behavior ceases.  Smolts form large aggregations, and en masse migrate to the ocean.  The downstream migration isn’t an active migration but a passive drift.  These smolt-stage salmon migrate primarily at night, drifting just as fast as the water is flowing.

We think that thyroid hormones affect both the silvering and the downstream migration.  We know that thyroid hormone binds to the iridocytes in the skin, stimulating the release of guanine crystals, causing the silver color.   To study this, we injected exogenous thyroid hormone into presmolts and they became silver very shortly afterwards.

How the thyroid hormones affect behavior is really interesting.  Salmon have two sets of visual pigments in their eyes:  rhodopsin, and a second pigment called porphyropsin.  When the young fish are in freshwater, they have a lot of porphyropsin and not much rhodopsin.   Because the color of water has a brown tint compared with the ocean, this balance of pigments is a better fit for them.  When they have a lot of the porphyropsin in their eyes, they can maintain visual contact with the bottom during both the day and the night.

Pigments allow smolts to maintain their station in freshwater.  For a salmon to orient upstream or to maintain the same place in a stream, it needs to be able to see the bottom.  The porphyropsin allows that.  Thyroid hormones change the balance of visual pigments to more rhodopsin.  During the day, they have rhodopsin and are able to see the bottom and see their station.  At night, they can’t see the bottom and drift downstream with the water current.  You can study downstream migration using traps placed at upstream and downstream locations: salmon will drift between the traps just as fast as the water current is moving at night.

We know that the thyroid hormones and cortisol affect these transitions during smolt transformation.   I became interested in whether these hormones affect the imprinting process.  I had some inkling that thyroid hormones were the most important from the work of French scientists.  They studied neonatal rats born prematurely (rat brains are not functional until 10-14 days after birth).  What stimulates rat brains to develop is a surge of thyroid hormones between 10 to 14 days after birth.  The scientists looked at brain development.  By staining brain tissue using Golgi silver stain they could see axons and dendrites.  At day 10 after birth, the different layers of cerebral cortex are not linked up.  By day 14 arborization of axons and dendrites occurs and the different layers of the cerebral cortex beome linked to each other.  The French scientists assumed it was the thyroid hormones doing this.  To demonstrate, they took neonatal rats defective in thyroid hormone production:  for those rats, neurons did not differentiate.  Brains looked the same at 10 and 14 days.  Then, the scientists took some of these neonatal rats, injected exogenous thyroid hormone between days 10 and 14, and the rat brains developed normally.

I had been reading about this prior to doing my work, and thought something similar might be happening with salmon.

One other study that I had been reading about had to do with imprinting with geese.  Goslings, when forming their permanent fixation on their mother, have a similar    surge of thyroid hormones just as they are hatching from their eggs.  The surge increases arborization of the brain when imprinting is taking place.  Studies showed thyroid hormones bind to receptors in the nucleus of brain cells, and stimulate the production of nerve growth factor proteins, causing arborization of brain neurons.

Basically what I decided to do was inject thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) into a group of fish.  I also injected ACTH into another group of fish. For a control, saline was injected into a third group.  Thyroid hormone levels in the fish were monitored.  Just enough TSH was injected to stimulate thyroid hormone levels that occur in smoltification.  (I was well aware that if you inject too much, it has opposite effect and tried to get physiologic levels of hormone in fish.)

I took presmolts, six months before smoltification occurred, and injected them with TSH until their thyroid hormone – levels approximated those of natural smolts.  Then I simultaneously exposed those fish to the two synthetic chemicals, morpholine and phenylethyl alcohol.  Next I tested the fish to see if they would respond to those synthetic chemicals.  The fish that received the TSH did imprint to the synthetic chemicals, whereas the saline-inject control fish did not.  I was able to essentially show that thyroid hormones are involved in this imprinting process for salmon smolts.

Then I moved to eastern Washington.


Part 2.   The EWU years.  

Teaching biologists, building a foundation to restore fisheries in the Upper Columbia (including returning salmon above Grand Coulee dam) and Upper Columbia United Tribes.  Interview on January 10, 2015

JO  What attracted you to Eastern Washington University?

Allan Scholz   When I was in junior high or high school, I read a science fiction book by Raymond F. Jones, The Year when Stardust Fell.  As comet passed over the earth, the comet’s dust made engines (including those in automobiles) and turbines (such as those at hydroelectric dams) nonoperational.  Our world had to live without electricity and motor cars. The setting was a little university town in Colorado, and the plot was about the scientists who figured out the comet was causing the problem and how to fix the problem.  They employed hypothesis testing to figure this all out.  Ever since then I’ve wanted to teach and conduct research to a small university like Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

After completing my PhD program in Wisconsin, I looked around for jobs and was interested in small colleges for two reasons.  In a curious way, The Year when Stardust Fell had impacted me.  And I always wanted to come to a small university where the emphasis is on teaching more than just research.  My degrees were from the University of Wisconsin.  My professors were often gone.  When I started teaching at Wisconsin, I really enjoyed working with students.  So that was a big reason I came to Eastern:  to teach, while still being able to do some scientific research.

When I first moved to Eastern, I came to recognize the role that a university like Eastern plays in the educational system.  This is not the greatest setting for basic research;  rather, its strength is in applied research.  We take the basic research that has been learned at the research universities and apply it to solving problems.  Most of my students were interested in completing a Bachelor of Science degree or a Masters degree then going out and getting jobs in fisheries, rather than continuing their education and obtaining Ph.D. degrees.   So I’ve tailored my goals at Eastern to working with graduate and undergraduate students in preparing them for those jobs.

We get a lot of students interested in fish and wildlife jobs, so I’ve tried to prepare my student to work in fisheries or aquatic ecology jobs.  My students have gone on to jobs with the Tribes, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Ecology, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Cramer Fish Sciences, and others.  Fundamentally I’ve seen my role as preparing my students for their work in the environment.

Northwest Power and Conservation Council

Shortly after I arrived at EWU, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council was just getting started.  When that law was passed, Congressman John Dingell from Michigan came out to the Pacific Northwest and he took a raft trip on the Deschutes River in Oregon.  Rep. Dingell wanted to catch a steelhead – but got skunked.  He wanted to know why.   He was informed that all of these dams put on the Columbia River had basically destroyed the Columbia’s salmon and steelhead runs.  So he developed a rider to the Northwest Power Act.

The reason for enacting the Power Act was because the people responsible for energy forecasting in the Northwest were doing a terrible job.  They forecasted too much power would be needed, with the result they built WPPSS nuclear reactors.   This occurred during the Three Mile Island accident.   Much of WPPSS was mothballed, and we’re still paying for the nuclear reactors in our electric bills.

A main goal for legislation was to create a public entity to forecast power needs rather than relying on power-producers to do the forecasting.

With Dingell attaching a rider, not only did the Power Council have to develop a power plan (that produced power both reliably and economically) for the region, but the Council must account for all of the damage to fish and wildlife caused by the construction and operation of these hydropower facilities in the Columbia Basin.  As a result, Congress charged the Northwest Power and Conservation Council with developing the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.

No mitigation in the Upper Columbia for Grand Coulee dam

One of the first activities of the Council was to formulate what this fish and wildlife program was going to look like.  The Council recognized that most of the damage to fish and wildlife resources had been caused upriver.  Grand Coulee dam had blocked the runs of salmon and steelhead to half of the Basin.  But all of the mitigation went downriver.

One mitigation program was called the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project and started when the dam blocked runs of anadromous fish commencing in 1939.  By then most of the tributaries in the mid-Columbia – rivers including the Methow, Wenatchee, Entiat, and Okanogan – had been totally trashed.  Agriculture had withdrawn almost all of the water out of the creeks for irrigation (98 percent of all water was withdrawn from them to irrigate orchards).  Salmonid resources in those rivers were just about wiped out.

Almost all chinook, steelhead trout, sockeye salmon, and coho migrating upriver were headed for areas above Grand Coulee dam.  The Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project intercepted those returning fish that were migrating through fish ladders at Rock Island Dam just below Wenatchee.  The project took those fish out of river, and placed them in holding ponds in the tributary rivers – Methow, Wenatchee, Entiat, and Okanogan – or in hatcheries.  They allowed some fish to spawn naturally;  others they took for to raise in hatcheries that they had constructed on those rivers and then stocked the hatchery juveniles into those rivers.

All of the mitigation for the loss of fish above Grand Coulee dam went into the mid-Columbia.  Nothing was done for the Upper Columbia.  On the Snake River, a similar thing happened.  The damage from all those dams on the Snake was mostly mitigated with hatcheries on the Lower Columbia River.

When the Power Act was implemented, people recognized the injustice but didn’t require anything be done.  But they did recognize Indian tribes, and these tribes had never been consulted by anybody for constructing Grand Coulee dam.  I’ve looked at the historic record extensively and I can’t find a single document where tribes were consulted about the Grand Coulee Fish Maintenance Project.  They just took the fish from the tribes.

This was a time when Indians were still subsistence fishing for salmon.  Tribes were salmon fishing at Kettle Falls, in the Spokane River below Little Falls, and elsewhere.  The Power Act required the Council, in developing the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Program, to consult with impacted Indian tribes.  So now, the Council had to pay attention to the recommendations of the Indian tribes.

The Council was the first group that ever consulted with these Indian tribes.  As a result, the Upper Columbia United Tribes got some funding from the Council and Bureau of Indian Affairs to hire consultants.  And that is how I got involved in the program.

Upper Columbia United Tribes:  getting started

I happened to see a job announcement in The Spokesman-Review that Indian tribes were trying to hire someone to represent them.  On a lark, and really just wanting to find out more, I applied.  At the time there were four tribes:  Coeur d’Alenes, Kalispels, Spokanes, and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.  And they offered me the job.

When I went for my interview, I could tell that they didn’t have any tribal fish and wildlife programs on the reservations.  There was no equipment to do the kind of work that had to be done.

So I proposed that instead of hiring me directly, that they contract with Eastern Washington University, and develop the UCUT [Upper Columbia United Tribes] Fisheries Research Center at EWU.   This was in 1984.  By then, I had gotten some grant money, and had the equipment to do the studies that would be needed.

The other big advantage to having the tribes work through EWU:  we could actually train Tribal members.  I went out to the reservations – and was just aghast at the extent of the unemployment.  These were people who had had a full-employment economy based on the salmon.  When I first went out and visited, unemployment rates were at 40%.  One of the things I thought would be neat to try was restoring salmon – and also to get tribal people employed in fish and wildlife jobs.  One thing I wanted to do was to train enough Indians with Bachelor of Science and Masters degrees so they could go back to their reservations instead of the Tribes having to rely on consultants.

Mitigating salmon losses in the impacted area:  the Upper Columbia

The first step was we had to draft a legal statement for the Upper Columbia explaining to the Power and Conservation Council what resources we had up here, and what fish were lost.  I led a team of 11 people, collected all kinds of data, and a lot of historical evidence that showed what the fish runs were up here.  We estimated how many fish were harvested here, and the runs that would have supported that kind of harvest.

We estimated that a minimum of about 1-3 million salmon and steelhead migrated above the Grand Coulee dam site every year, of which the tribes harvested half.

Another thing that was impressive was the time involved.  Based on the record and anthropologic literature, Indians had been harvesting salmon for at least 2,000 – 4,000 years before whites ever came to the region — and maybe for a lot longer than that.  (Beyond that, the evidence is sparse.)  But this much we do know:  in the Upper Columbia there was a major salmon harvest for a very long time.

There were times when the salmon weren’t harvested in the larger numbers.  But Indians never drove the salmon to extinction like the development of the commercial salmon fishery in the lower river that whites caused.  And it’s easy to understand why.  What happened was that Indian tribes in the upper basin were fishing what are called known stock terminal fisheries.  When fishing was poor in one river, Indian people stopped fishing in that river and just fished in a river where the fish were coming back.  That allowed the weak run to recharge itself.

When the commercial fishery developed below Celilo Falls, down to the mouth of the Columbia, they were fishing all stocks.  This is what is called a mixed-stock interception fishery.  They fished the biggest fish first for the first 20 years of that fishery.  The only thing they harvested were Chinook because they were the biggest fish.  Because they didn’t know which stocks were being depleted, they continued to fish, driving weak stocks to extinction or close to extinction.

What we did point out to the Power Council was that for any kind of mitigation to occur for these upriver tribes, we needed to have mitigation in upriver areas.  After we made those arguments to the Council, we put together a 165-page report in support.  We gave that document to the Power Council in December, 1985.

When the Power Council opened up the fish and wildlife program to take new amendments, our next step was to prepare amendments for the 4 UCUT tribes.

Establishing Kokanee and Rainbow Trout Fisheries

So I began to write proposals.  For an amendment to the Fish & Wildlife Program, you have to write a proposal justified with the best scientific evidence you can provide.  For the Spokane Tribe of Indians, because Grand Coulee dam had effectively blocked salmon (and had blocked salmon for close to 50 years at that point), and because I was not sure whether fish with genetics to come this far upriver still existed in the Columbia River, and because it would cost enormously to ladder Grand Coulee dam and Chief Joseph dam (and dams on the Spokane River and in British Columbia would also need ladders), at the time we decided to replace the anadromous fish with resident salmonids.

There were historical reports that kokanee were abundant in the reservoir behind Grand Coulee dam, Lake Roosevelt.  The reservoir acts as a nursery for sockeye.  One of the things that happened when Grand Coulee dam went in was to switch the food base from one that primarily consisted of insects larvae along the bottom to one that is based on zooplankton.  And kokanee love zooplankton.  We found historical reports of abundant kokanee after Grand Coulee dam first went in.  We had one report of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service catching 20,000 kokanee using purse seines set in the dam’s forebay. There were other reports of people going below the dam and picking up apple boxes full of kokanee.

These kokanee weren’t in Lake Roosevelt when it was still the Columbia River.  But after the dam went in, and the water behaved more like a lake, then the kokanee could use it as a nursery lake.  Things were good for a long time — until they constructed the third power house at the dam.  Up until then they rarely drew the lake down more than 30 feet.  Afterwards, they take it down 40-80 feet.  One impact of these deep drawdowns was to deplete the kokanee.  The reason the kokanee were able to exist in there prior to the third power house was because they were spawning along the shoreline.  After the third power house, they drew the reservoir down so much they exposed the redds, desiccating the kokanee eggs.

To get around that problem we proposed developing kokanee hatcheries.  We suggested they develop a kokanee production hatchery on the Spokane Indian reservation, and a kokanee egg collection facility at Sherman Creek near Kettle Falls, Washington.  We got the funds to build the two hatcheries.

While we were studying the kokanee, the person who got the Seven Bays Marina started, Winn Self, was experimenting with rainbow trout.  He got a net pen and put rainbow trout in it to try and develop a sport fishery for trout.  We talked and I agreed to tag the rainbow trout raised in the net pens with EWU tags.  Those rainbow trout in the net pen produced enormous angler catches.  About 15-20% of the fish that we had tagged in the net pen were returned by anglers.

It was apparent that rainbow trout would do well in Lake Roosevelt.  As we were developing the plans for the kokanee hatcheries, we included raising about 500,000 rainbow trout to supply the net pen program in Lake Roosevelt.  That proposal was the first thing funded.

Monitoring fishery restoration

The second thing funded was a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of the hatchery.  We wanted to construct these hatcheries not only to provide a food fish that Indians could use for subsistence, but also fish for a sports fishery, and fish that would be good for the ecosystem.  I thought kokanee would be good because they form large concentrations when they migrate up tributaries, and they also can provide food for black bears, eagles, river otters, coyotes, osprey, great blue heron, and a variety of other species.  I have observed all of these species feeding on kokanee in Lake Roosevelt.  So we were trying not only to provide subsistence and sports fisheries, but to restore an ecosystem.

When we first started our work, there were one or two pairs of bald eagles on the entire lake.  After we started our hatchery production, the bald eagle nests increased to 23 or 26, and started to hatch a lot more young.  Other people did a study on the amount fish delivered to the eagle nests, and found something like 20% of the fish were kokanee and 20% rainbow trout – fish that we had a hand in trying to enhance.

Another thing we tried to get at in the Lake Roosevelt monitoring program was to avoid overstocking the lake.  These fish feed on zooplankton.  Too many fish will over-consume their food source, just like cattle overgrazing pasture.  If that happened, then the growth rate of the fish would decline.  The zooplankton population could collapse, and not effectively feed the fish population any more.  What we’ve found so far is that the level of stocking kokanee and rainbow trout is not affecting the zooplankton that much.  We’re stocking at a fairly low level at this point.

Another kind of study that this monitoring program performed has been to tag the kokanee and rainbow trout released, and see what happens.  The purpose is to see how many fish are caught by anglers, how may are returning to egg collection sites, and how many go below the dams.

We originally planned to stock kokanee fry in Lake Roosevelt.  We put about 700,000 tags on these fry.  (Fry are small fish; maybe 30-40mm long, that’s about 1.5-2 inches.)  We ended up with 28 fish back in Lake Roosevelt, and 76 below the dam.  We think the explanation for so many fish going below the dam is that when they get to 5-6 inches long they become smolts and migrate downstream.

We began stocking residualized smolts, much bigger than fry at about 5-6 inches in length.  The fish pass through the smoltification process in the hatchery and are adapted to saltwater.  After they adapt to saltwater, they pass through that phase and readapt to freshwater.  That is what is called a residualized smolt.

When we stocked residualized smolts, we found just the reverse was true:  more fish were remaining in Lake Roosevelt than were going over the dam.

Predators are also a worry, including walleye and smallmouth bass predators.  We don’t know who stocked them originally but they eat large numbers of kokanee and rainbow trout.  We’ve done studies showing how many kokanee and rainbow trout are eaten by walleye and smallmouth bass.  For example in the Sanpoil River where the Colville Confederated Tribes is trying to restore kokanee and rainbow trout, we know how many fish are migrating out of the river.  In 2010, between March 24 and July 14, we estimated that populations of 12,257 walleye and 49,241 smallmouth bass occupying the Sanpoil River Arm of Lake Roosevelt, combined, ate:  94.7% (558,464 of 589,580) age 0 kokanee and 40.1% (4,038 of 10,080) of age 1 kokanee; 24.0% (3,499 of 14,578) age 1 rainbow (redband) trout and 27.4% (6,504 of 23,738) age 2-3 rainbow (redband) trout that emigrated out of the Sanpoil River.

Restoring habitat in tributaries

The third aspect of Lake Roosevelt we got the Power Council to fund was restoring habitat in the tributaries.  These tributaries still supported rainbow trout.  Genetically these are mostly pure redband rainbow trout — the kind that were historically abundant in the Upper Columbia River.  We knew that there were many problems in the tributary streams because habitat had been degraded.  So we made an effort to restore the habitat.

Based on these activities we were trying to enhance the kokanee and rainbow trout fishery by rearing hatchery fish and stocking them into Lake Roosevelt and we are also trying to restore habitat for native redband trout in tributaries.  For rainbow trout going into the net pens, we clip the adipose fin.  Anglers can tell immediately whether they’ve caught a hatchery or wild fish.  We think that harvesting hatchery fish is not that big a deal, we’d rather have people harvest hatchery rather than wild fish.  By clipping the fin, we make it clear which is which.  We’re trying to convince the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to prohibit anglers from keeping  wild fish,  and keep only hatchery fish.

Training Tribal members to manage the fishery

At the same time we were doing this work, I was trying to get Indians kids at EWU to run these projects.  For the Spokane Tribe’s hatchery, I worked with Tim Peone, a Spokane Tribal member.  Tim completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Eastern and then got funding from the Bonneville Power Administration to send him to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service courses that would train him to operate a hatchery.  By the time the kokanee/rainbow hatchery was constructed on the Spokane Reservation, Tim was ready to run it.  As far as I know, this is the only hatchery in the Columbia Basin that is run entirely by Tribal members from the top on down.

At the same time I was training another Spokane Tribal member, Milo Thatcher, to direct the Lake Roosevelt monitoring program.  I also trained another student, a Colville Tribal member, Joe Peone, to direct the tributary enhancement studies done on Lake Roosevelt.  And I trained another Spokane Tribal member, Rudy Peone, who did the habitat improvement on Blue Creek, tributary to the Spoke River and located on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Another Colville Tribal member I trained was Ruby Peone, to work on aspects of the Lake Roosevelt monitoring program.  As part of the monitoring program we do creel surveys to determine how many of our hatchery fish were caught.  She was involved in that program for a while.

Pend Oreille River and the Kalispel Tribe

In addition to the work on Lake Roosevelt, I also got some funding for the Kalispel Tribe.  The Kalispel Tribe has to contend with multiple dams built on the Pend Oreille River.  Almost no data had been collected on the impacts of dams on the Pend Oreille River, so we recognized that we would have to do some survey work.  We performed a 3-year survey on the Pend Oreille River, making recommendations for improving the river.

White sturgeon, Kootenai River, and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

For the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, we were able to review work already done by state and federal fish agencies.  It became apparent to me that the white sturgeon population on the Kootenai River was in severe decline and probably warranted being listed as an endangered species.

The problem on the Kootenai River was that ever since Libby dam had been completed in 1972, there hadn’t been any natural reproduction occurring.  Libby dam inverted the natural hydrograph of the river:  instead of floods in the spring, the highest flows came in the winter months, pumping water through the turbines generating electricity.  The lowest flows came in the spring because water was being stored in the reservoir.  Sturgeon typically spawn in the late spring or early summer.  Sturgeon spawn right around peak flows in spring, about the beginning of June.  Flow was insufficient to stimulate sturgeon to move to their spawning grounds.  As a result sturgeon were not spawning anymore.

We could tell that was happening because the data collected showed the fish getting larger each year — which meant there weren’t any juveniles recruiting to the population.  And we also had some population estimates.  The Idaho Department of Fish and Game indicated that there were 1500 sturgeon left when we first started.  There have since been other studies, with sturgeon numbers down to 1000, then 800.  Now only about 500 are left.

The project we proposed for the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho was to establish a white sturgeon hatchery so we could collect eggs and sperm from adult fish in the river and raise the young sturgeon to a size in the hatchery that would survive after they were released back into the Kootenai River. If the hatchery reared fish survived after they were stocked back into the wild, they would eventually replace some of the older fish and help to maintain the Kootenai River white sturgeon genome over the long term. We had some genetic modeling done (by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service geneticist) to determine the best way to operate the hatchery in order to maintain the current Kootenai River white sturgeon genetic diversity.  The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho is now doing that work and following these genetic guidelines.

Cutthroat, Bull Trout, and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe

For the Coeur d’Alene Tribe I proposed doing some baseline surveys on their reservation to determine how cutthroat trout and bull trout were doing in some of their creeks.  Eventually all of those projects were funded by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Columbia River Sturgeon

Several years later, in about 1992 or 1994, the Power and Conservation Council revised its Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Plan and accepted new amendments.   I prepared an amendment for the Spokane Tribe of Indians to investigate sturgeon in the Upper Columbia River.  I put together extensive work done by others showing sturgeon in steep decline in the Columbia River — just like Kootenai River sturgeon.

We wanted to collect better information to see if sturgeon size was increasing (as with Kootenai River sturgeon), collect any sturgeon eggs by putting out egg mats, and collect sturgeon larva by putting out larval drift nets.  The Spokane Tribe of Indians is overseeing that project, working closely with the Colville Confederated Tribes and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Results so far show very little natural reproduction of sturgeon taking place in Lake Roosevelt or in Canada upstream from Lake Roosevelt.  We do know that the sturgeon are spawning successfully because eggs are being collected each year on egg mats and larva are being collected in the drift nets, but the larva don’t recruit to the adult populations.  Just like the Kootenai River, Columbia River sturgeon are growing larger each year, so there is no recruitment of juveniles to the adult population.

For Lake Roosevelt, fisheries agencies in both the United States and British Columbia have begun collecting eggs and sperm from adult fish, rearing them in a hatchery to a size they can survive, then stocking them back into the reservoir.  All of the hatchery sturgeon going back into the reservoir are marked with passive integrated transponder tags (PIT tags) as well as given external marks, so you can tell immediately if they are hatchery or wild fish.  Studies conducted by the Spokane Tribe, WDFW, Colville Confederated Tribes, and fish agencies in British Columbia, have attempted to catch juvenile sturgeon after stocking hatchery-raised fish.  Nearly all (about 98 %) of the fish that have been recovered in these studies that are less than 24 inches in length, have been PIT tagged, indicating their hatchery origin. Here is evidence that no naturally reproduced juveniles are recruiting to the population anymore.

One concern we have about putting hatchery fish back into the population is they might be altering the genetic makeup of the population because so many brothers and sisters are released.  The plan was to take six adult males and females in B.C. waters, and six of each sex out of Washington waters, and then spawning one male with one female to create twelve families of fish.  Before those adult fish are released back into the Columbia River they are marked by giving them PIT tags and external tags so that they’re never used for hatchery production again.  The next year, another six pairs in Canada and six in the United States will be used.

We only stock a limited number of each family group:  about 200 from each family group are stocked into Lake Roosevelt.  These sturgeon produce about 300,000 to several million eggs.  We start out with many, but we never stock more than 200 because we don’t want to influence the genetics of the wild population.

One of my students, Jason McClellan, found a better way to protect the genetics.  Rather than collect adult fish, this involves collecting larval fish and rearing them in the hatchery up to 12-24 inches. At this size, the sturgeon are big enough to survive in the lake.  It’s a lot better system to protect the genetic diversity.  Genetic studies have confirmed that collecting and releasing larvae back into the river protects the genetic diversity of the population better than releasing 200 brothers and sisters in each of 6 – 12 families, i.e., the larvae contain more genetic diversity than the hatchery-raised fish.

Northern Pike threatens fishery

I will frankly admit, I’ve trained a lot of people more deserving of this award than I am, who are doing the work out there.  Eastern Washington University’s role for the last several years has been doing applied research to help direct some of the Tribal fisheries management programs.  One example is the northern pike removal project being conducted by the Kalispel Tribe.

From 1987 – 1992, EWU sampled fish in Pend Oreille River between Box Canyon and Albeni Falls dams and found no northern pike.  In 1996 and 1997 we had big flood events that washed northern pike from the Flathead River through the Clark Fork River, Lake Pend Oreille, and into the Pend Oreille River.  The first pike we saw were in 2003 and 2004.  With the Kalispel Tribe we were studying bull trout below Albeni Falls dam on the Pend Oreille River.  In 2004 the Kalispel Tribe collaborated with WDFW in performing a fish survey of Box Canyon Reservoir, in which EWU participated.  Several northern pike were observed in this survey.

During the next several years, the Kalispel Tribe contracted with EWU for two of my graduate students to investigate what northern pike were eating in Box Canyon Reservoir. Nearly all of the species in the reservoir were being consumed by northern pike, including, native salmonids (e.g., mountain whitefish, cutthroat trout), native minnows (e.g., northern pikeminnow, peamouth), native suckers, and non-native species (e.g., yellow perch, tench, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass).  Some of their stomachs contained as many as 20 -40 fish per stomach.

At that point we assisted the Kalispel Tribe with doing a population estimate, concluding that the number of northern pike had dramatically increased in just a few years.  The first population estimate came out over 1,000 fish;  the second was 5,000.  The number of pike was increasing exponentially.

What concerns me is the progression of northern pike downstream.  The Canadians have already seen 250 northern pike in the Columbia River.  The Spokane Tribe of Indians have collected about 20 northern pike from Lake Roosevelt in the vicinity of Kettle Falls.  These fish are voracious eaters.  As Lake Roosevelt and Rufus Woods reservoir have little habitat that will hold northern pike, and as Lake Roosevelt experiences deep drawdowns that will flush northern pike out of the reservoir, it is simply a matter of time before they get into Wells reservoir, and then have access to the Methow and Okanogan river salmon.  As they move further downstream they’ll become predators of salmon in McNary and John Day reservoirs and in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.  If you think you’ve seen predators of salmon, you’ve not seen anything until you see what northern pike can do to salmon.

Based on the data that EWU provided, the Kalispel Tribe developed a program to remove these northern pike while they’re still in Box Canyon reservoir.  This was done primarily to protect resident fish resources that have historically been utilized by tribal members.  But also this will help to prevent or at least reduce further colonization of the Columbia River by northern pike, which will protect anadromous salmon and native resident fishes in downstream areas.

The tribe is taking a lot of heat from the general public.  What the anglers don’t realize is that the northern pike are becoming more stunted because they’ve eaten everything in the reservoir.  As food is less, they’ll migrate down the Columbia River and cause all kinds of trouble for both anadromous and resident fish.  The Kalispels are acting responsibly in trying to eliminate northern pike from the Pend Oreille River.  The Kalispel Department of Natural Resources – taking all the heat – are the real heroes and are doing this critical work.

JO  What about returning salmon above Chief Joseph dam and Grand Coulee dam?

Allan Scholz  The kokanee restoration in Lake Roosevelt is meeting with only limited success.  Kokanee have helped restore connectivity with terrestrial wildlife, like black bears and bald eagles.  Kokanee have provided some minimal subsistence and sports fishing.  But one of the problems is that Grand Coulee dam is managed mainly for power, with deep drawdowns.  The dam is also managed for downstream anadromous fish.  In late summer, they drawdown the reservoir for anadromous fish in the lower Columbia.  How Grand Coulee dam is managed limits what you can do for resident fish.  This leads to the conclusion that we really must restore anadromous fish to Lake Roosevelt.

To restore salmon above Grand Coulee dam, I’ve been working on behalf of the Tribes.  So far we’ve identified about 200 individual fishing spots where the Tribes above Grand Coulee Dam fished for anadromous fishes.  At many of these locations I’ve compiled data on how many fish were caught either daily or annually. We are building the case for why we need to bring anadromous fish back to this area above Grand Coulee dam.

JO  The United States and Canada have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.  The Regional Recommendations from the U.S. Entity (BPA and Army Corps of Engineers) include adding a third co-equal purpose to the Treaty:  Ecosystem-based Function.  This results from tremendous and historic work by the Tribes as well as many others.  Why is this important?

Allan Scholz  For a couple of reasons.  One has to do with water temperature in the Columbia River.  Most of the cold water is in Canada.  These fish have to have access to the cold waters in Canada for them to make it in the long run.  The Columbia River is warming up:  1/10th of a degree every year.  The Columbia River is the most southern river with a lot of salmon.  The Sacramento River has some, but nothing like the Columbia.  All those dams are warming the water temperature.  Global warming is warming the river.  To survive this warming trend, we have to return anadromous fish to Canada where the cold water is.

Remember, these Tribes depended on salmon for 50% of their caloric intake.  These people were never consulted when Grand Coulee dam went in — or any of the other dams.  The fish and the river were just taken from them.  As a result, we owe it to these Tribes to restore salmon to their native areas.

JO  Anything further you’d like for people to know?

Allan Scholz  My main contribution has been to train students and get them out into the field.  When I first arrived at EWU in 1980, there were few fish biologists in the Upper Columbia River region beside me:  John Hisata and Bob Peck, Ray Duff, and Jerry Marco at the Colville Tribes, and a few others.  We were the only fish biologists in this upper quadrant of Washington State.  We now have four new tribal fish and wildlife agencies on the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Kalispel and Kootenai Indian Reservations that EWU had a hand in creating.  At the Colville Tribes, more people are working in fisheries.  Part of this has been positions that I’ve helped create through the Power Council’s amendment process.  There are probably at least 50 or 60 fisheries biologists working in northeastern Washington now.  Probably more than that if you include biologists working for private consulting firms in Spokane and throughout the Pacific Northwest.  We have a lot more people looking out for these natural resources, and that’s a good thing, especially since the county governments don’t seem to be very aware of environmental problems.

JO  My perception is that with cutbacks at the state and federal level that Tribes, while protecting the interests of their people, are increasingly finding themselves protecting the greater public interest in water, fish, and other resources. 

Allan Scholz   That’s generally true.  WDFW has quite a few more staff working on fish problems than they used to have.  But then, part of the reason is that the state agency has contracts with a lot of the tribes.

Since our initial work, the Power Council has gone through two more amendment cycles.  The Tribes have built up enough credibility to write their own amendments.

While all of the salmon bearing tributaries below Grand Coulee have been extensively surveyed by fisheries agencies commencing in the 1930’s, member Tribes of the Upper Columbia United Tribes recognized there were no surveys of any kind done on most of the tributaries above Grand Coulee dam.  So the tribes put together a program where they’d conduct these surveys, and determine what is there now.  They included the WDFW in that amendment.  So now the WDFW, the Colvilles, Spokanes and Kalipsels are all collaborating on this study to collect baseline data.

The Spokane Tribe surveyed tributaries on the Spokane River; Colville Tribes, Columbia River; WDFW, Little Spokane River, Latah (or Hangman) Creek, and another couple of creeks on the Spokane River.   The Kalispels did baseline surveys on the Pend Oreille River and its tributaries.   WDFW was able to hire a fulltime biologist and two part-time biologists.  The surveys have been funded for the past 8-10 years.  It was not WDFW that thought to put that together – it was the tribes.  But the state agency benefited from the tribes work.

I’ve trained 48 graduate students.  Almost all are working for federal, state or tribal agencies, or private consulting firms. A lot of them are with the Tribes.  I’ve trained about 110 undergraduate students who have gone on and worked for these agencies as well.  What I’ve been doing in my old age is writing books – a Field Guide to the Fishes of Eastern Washington published in 2009, a 4-volume series called Fishes of Eastern Washington: A Natural History that’s being printed now.  The four volumes total 2,089 pages.  With this writing what I’ve attempted to do is talk about all of the fishes in all of the basins. I also included a summary of all the limnological studies and fish habitat improvement work that has been accomplished in the Columbia River Basin. The bibliography alone is about 300 pages long.   In addition to the printed copies, I’m also making these books available on the EWU John F. Kennedy Library’s Digital Commons website, so that anybody can access the information free of charge.  These documents, and several others which I’ve had a hand in writing, are currently available on that website.

JO  Any closing words?

Allan Scholz  It’s been an amazing journey.  Along the way I’ve been blessed to interact with some great students with whom I have shared many memorable true life adventures. Many of them have stepped forward and are continuing with this work.


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