Illegal fishing, dry weather conditions threaten fish across the state

"These people may not know it, but the two fish they caught represent 10 percent of the wild chinook that have returned so far to the Dungeness, which has also suffered from low flows this summer," said WDFW Sergeant Phillip Henry. "Taking one of these fish is like shooting a bald eagle." 

Henry said fines for the offenses could add up for the poachers. Fishing in closed waters carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail. The maximum penalty for snagging alone is $5,000 and/or a year in jail. Snagging is an attempt to take fish with a hook and line in such a way that the fish does not voluntarily take the bait in its mouth. In addition, the two may face federal charges for taking protected fish.

WDFW is also stepping up enforcement patrols on other rivers in the state during the summer’s peak season, Henry said. On a recent patrol of the Skokomish River in Mason County, WDFW enforcement officers issued more than 50 citations for a variety of violations, including snagging, over-limits and fishing without a license. 

"Poaching is an annual issue, but with most of Washington experiencing the hottest and driest summer in years, low water levels are making fish more vulnerable to snagging and other illegal activities," Henry said. "We appreciate that most anglers follow the rules and hope others will act responsibly as well."
Henry asks that anyone who witnesses poaching violations to call WDFW’s confidential toll-free Poaching Hotline at (877) 933-9847.

The same weather conditions are causing additional problems for fish in other parts of the state. Low flows and elevated water temperatures forced the early closure of salmon fishing on Lake Wenatchee, where returning sockeye were experiencing high mortality rates. 

At the Fallert Creek Hatchery on the Kalama River, where surface water temperatures were elevated during the state’s recent heat wave, about 135,000 summer and winter steelhead – 96 percent of the facility’s steelhead – died after being infected by a parasite that grows rapidly in warm water. Elsewhere, about 200,000 coho salmon – 12 percent of the coho at the Washougal Hatchery – died from a bacterial infection after water temperatures reached 80 degrees at the facility.

Rock dams built by campers to create swimming areas in streams, also pose real problems for salmon and other migrating fish at this time of year, said Perry Harvester, a WDFW fish biologist.

Each year, WDFW staff dismantles dozens of these so-called "recreational dams," which can block passage to salmon, steelhead and bulltrout moving upstream to spawn, Harvester said.  In Yakima County, where Harvester is based, the problem is especially acute near campgrounds on Rattlesnake and Crow creeks, and the Teanaway River, American River, and the Little Naches River.

"It may seem like innocent fun, but building these makeshift dams can put entire runs of protected fish at risk especially during late summer when many fish begin their spawning runs," he said.  "It may be one reason why we’ve seen declining redd (egg-nest) counts for ESA-listed bull trout in some of these streams in recent years.

Harvester noted that building an unauthorized dam of any sort across a river or stream is a violation of the state hydraulics law, which is a gross misdemeanor.

WSDOT Survey Seeks WA Volunteers to Count Non-Motorized Traffic

“We had a great turnout of volunteers in 2008,” said Ian Macek, WSDOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator. “This effort can not be done without their help, so we hope to see an increase in volunteer support this year.”
WSDOT is doing this as part of the National Documentation Project, an annual bicycle and pedestrian count and survey effort that is sponsored by the Institute of Transportation Engineers Pedestrian and Bicycle Council, and to determine progress toward its goal of increasing non-motorized trips.
Cascade Bicycle Club is using its network of members and other volunteers to perform the counts in selected cities (Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Bremerton, Ellensburg, Everett, Issaquah, Kelso, Kent, Kirkland, Longview, Olympia, Redmond, Richland, Spokane, Tacoma, Tukwila, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima). Those who are interested in helping can learn more by visiting WSDOT’s Web site,, or by contacting Cascade Bicycle Club at or calling 206-957-0689.
A follow-up trends report will be available in January 2010 at
Note:  Communities that participated in the 2008 count included Bellevue, Bellingham, Bothell, Bremerton, Ellensburg, Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Longview, Olympia, Richland, Spokane, Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Wenatchee and Yakima. Communities added in 2009 include Issaquah, Kelso, Redmond  and Tukwila.

Free Services Available at Upcoming Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day offers workshops providing assistance to legal permanent state residents eligible for naturalization. The Washington New Americans Program promotes successful immigrant integration by connecting Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) to the information and services they need to successfully pursue citizenship and become active members of our community. This partnership expands AILA's annual Citizenship Day to include three dates in 11 cities. This event follows last year's workshops, at which approximately 270 individuals received assistance with their applications for U.S. citizenship. The goal this year, through the new partnership with the Washington New Americans program, is to assist 600 people with filing naturalization applications by June 30. After the first Washington Citizenship Day by AILA in 2006, the concept has been replicated in 25 states.

Offered at four locations on April 18 (see below), Citizenship Day will be staffed by volunteer immigration attorneys, paralegals, interpreters and other community members. These teams will prepare naturalization applications at NO COST.  Applicants will be able to consult with professionals and ensure that their documentation is complete.

Citizenship offers enormous benefits, including access to better jobs, safety and security, and the right to vote and be fully involved in our democracy.  Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants, from all corners of the globe, embrace the ideals of freedom and democracy and become United States citizens.

April 18 Citizenship Day
Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM

(360) 736-9391, ext. 696
Centralia Community College
Kirk Library Building
600 Centralia College Blvd.
Centralia, WA  98531

(509) 665-7022 or
1 (888) 273-2219
Chelan Public Utilities District
327 N. Wenatchee Ave
Wenatchee, WA 98801

(509) 248-1911
St. Joseph's Catholic Church
212 N. 4th St.
Yakima, WA 98901

(206) 587-0234, ext. 103
Showalter Middle School
4628 S. 144th Street
Tukwila, WA  98168

Upcoming Citizenship Day:

May 30, 2009

  •      Pasco/Tri-Cities
  •      Vancouver, WA
  •      Mt. Vernon
  •      Lacey

About Washington New Americans

The Washington New Americans (WNA) program is a partnership between the State of Washington and OneAmerica, a non-profit dedicated to advancing justice and equality.

Our goal is to promote successful immigrant integration by connecting eligible Legal Permanent Residents ("green card" holders) to the information and services they need to successfully pursue citizenship and become active members of our community.

We work in partnership with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and community organizations across Washington to provide the following FREE services:

  • Information about the naturalization process
  • Citizenship application assistance (N-400 forms only)
  • Legal review of applications by a volunteer attorney or accredited representative

Additionally, we provide FREE workshops to help you prepare for the citizenship interview and learn about
community engagement.

To find out about events and service providers in your area, please call  877.926.3924 or sign up here.

  What to bring to Citizenship Day:

  • Green Card
  • List of home addresses and dates from past five years
  • List of employers (names and addresses) and dates worked from past five years
  • Dates and itineraries of trips outside of U.S. since becoming a permanent resident
  • Children's complete names, birthdates and A#'s, if applicable
  • If you think you have been arrested or detained, or if you appeared in court for any reason in the last five years, bring ALL certified court & police documents

Full List

Benefits of Citizenship

  • Right to vote
  • Sponsor family members to immigrate to the United States
  • Automatically gain United States citizenship for children who are under 18 years old
  • Travel and live overseas without worrying about losing your legal status in the United States or obtaining a reentry permit
  • No fear of deportation
  • More employment opportunities

Full List of Benefits

Gov. Gregoire announces certification for 138 transportation projects

Infrastructure project certifications enable the governor to confirm to the federal government that construction projects ― roads, water systems and others ― have received the review required by law and represent an appropriate investment of taxpayer dollars.

Washington expects to receive more than $4.5 billion from the federal stimulus package that will be used to modernize Washington’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, increase access to health care and provide tax relief. The White House estimates the package will sustain or create nearly 75,000 jobs in Washington state.

In addition to the certification of the 138 transportation projects, the governor announced that the Federal Aviation Administration has provided stimulus funds to four Washington airports:

-Bellingham International Airport ($800,000)
-Paine Field in Snohomish County ($11.3 million)
-Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake ($2 million)
-Pangborn in Wenatchee ($1 million)

Gregoire also announced that $38 million in economic stimulus funds will be distributed soon to make improvements to Washington’s water systems. To see the list of projects under consideration, visit:

To date, the state has distributed approximately $177 million of its federal economic stimulus money, most in Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding.

Washington state is administering the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments with an unprecedented level of transparency and accountability. Gregoire created a new Web site,, so every Washingtonian can see where tax dollars are going and hold government accountable for the results. On the federal level, President Obama has appointed Vice President Biden to oversee all states’ recovery efforts and to root out waste and fraud. This combined oversight will ensure taxpayer dollars are put to good use and recharge the economy.