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OREGON FOREST INDUSTRIES COUNCIL ISSUES STATEMENT ON OREGON SALMON

OREGON FOREST INDUSTRIES COUNCIL ISSUES STATEMENT ON OREGON SALMON
 SALEM, Ore., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Oregon Forest Industries Council:
 Permissive salmon management policies, overfishing, major irrigation, hydropower and flood control projects, intensive land use practices, predation and even "El Nino" have all contributed to the decline in Oregon's salmon population, a comprehensive scientific review revealed today.
 "It should be apparent that significant water use impacts have occurred as part of our society's development, and that these developments have seriously reduced the number of native salmonid populations and limited the potential recovery of our remaining wild salmonid stocks," the study concluded.
 The Oregon Forest Industries Council last year commissioned the intensive review of scientific data compiled from more than 20 federal, state and provincial agencies and technical journal articles on the subject of the declining fish runs.
 "It couldn't be clearer that a variety of factors, rather than one individual source, is responsible for the staggering drop in Oregon's salmon stocks," Ward Armstrong, Oregon Forest Industries Council executive director, said. "We are all part of the problem, and now we must all be part of the solution."
 Armstrong noted that the forest products industry last year sponsored a major upgrade in Oregon's Forest Practices Act to significantly expand the classification of Class I streams (contain fish), and to formally protect Class II streams (no fish, but other aquatic life) to improve overall water quality.
 "...Six million acres of forest will never be harvested because of formal set-aside preserves and uneconomical constraints, and about one-million timber
acres receive riparian protection," the report said. "On balance, significant protective measures are in place today for forestry to protect water quality and salmonid habitat, more so than for water uses or any other land use."
 The following scientists were commissioned by the council to examine the root causes of the widespread salmon mortality:
 -- Fisheries biologist Victor W. Kaczynski, (Ph.D. in limnology, Cornell University)
 -- Fisheries biologist John F. Palmisano, (Ph.D. in fisheries biology, University of Washington)
 Their research into the reasons behind the declining fish runs was the subject of peer review by three other scientists:
 -- Robert Bilby (Ph.D.), an aquatic ecologist for the Weyerhaeuser Forest Ecology Department
 -- William McNeil (Ph.D.), Oregon State University professor of fisheries
 -- William Royce (Ph.D.), professor emeritus for the University of Washington School of Fisheries
 The scientists contended that agency policies have resulted in widespread overfishing of salmon stocks. Their research revealed that salmon harvests have not been consistently managed on a sustained yield basis, resulting in declines of wild-spawning salmon stocks and changed genetic makeup of the remaining fish.
 "It is clear that well-intended government policies have actually allowed overfishing," Kaczynski said. "The build up of hatchery production led to an inability to manage wild-spawning salmon stocks on a sustained yield basis and changed the genetic makeup of the remaining fish. There is no doubt that overfishing is one of the primary reasons for the precipitous drop in the salmon population."
 Flood control, irrigation, hydropower, navigation and recreational water uses have also contributed to the decline of salmon stocks. These projects have made the downstream passage of juvenile salmon even more perilous, and they have increased the temperature of rivers and streams, making the fish more susceptible to diseases and predators.
 Runoff from agricultural, grazing and forestry lands have also contributed to the drop in salmon stocks.
 "We recognize our historic role in this process," Armstrong said. "That is precisely why we sponsored legislation to reduce clearcut sizes, increase reforestation requirements, and provide additional protections for streams throughout Oregon."
 In addition to man-made impediments to the overall health of the salmon population, predation remains a serious and complicated problem. The list of predators includes: seals, sea lions, the northern squawfish, American shad, murrelets and gulls.
 "Governmental agencies need to be particularly mindful of policies that protect one species may have the unintended effect of endangering another," Kaczynski said. "That is clearly the case with seals and sea lions. We are not saying they don't deserve protections, but somehow, some way, we must find a way to balance species protection programs."
 Finally, the scientists added that even the "El Nino" weather pattern has been a contributing factor to salmon declines because it has increased water temperatures and reversed nearshore Oregon currents.
 "Despite the resounding conclusions of this report, we are certain that some will resort to the unfortunate practice of blaming others for this dismaying decline in our salmon populations," Armstrong said. "Political scientists may differ, but biologic research tells us that a multitude of factors -- not just one or two -- are responsible for this alarming development. We need to refrain from finger-pointing, put individual agendas aside, and work together to save Oregon's salmon."
 -0- 6/16/92
 /CONTACT: Ward Armstrong of the Oregon Forest Industries Council, 503-371-2942/ CO: Oregon Forest Industries Council ST: Oregon IN: SU:


SC-LM -- SE005 -- 0735 06/16/92 14:14 EDT
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Date:Jun 16, 1992
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