2013 Kenai Sonar Data Article
Peninsula Clarion 12-5-13
So who leaked to the Clarion that the study was "almost" done? Why? Who gains from painting ADF&G Soldotna as secretive? Or do we really have an agency steeped in deception?
Or, is this a serious issue?
I still have a degree of trust in the integrity of the folks doing natural resource issues, but am cautioned by the example of the folks collecting grants for climate issues where the outcome is per-detemined.
Any of you formers or currents willing to comment?
O.K I will comment but not to start a big discussion of this as individual motives are different than a cultural response. So the reason people thought a report was coming was because the Director of Sport Fish said a report would be available at the end of November. Now the report has turned into a question and answer document. That does not help people who want to review the data or ask questions about what is going on. It is a one way communication if past performance is any indication.
Originally Posted by Tee Jay
Next, the article failed to mention the real issues - the netting program is not catching smaller chinook and there may not be a fix for that. So comparsions between upstream and downstream are questionable for a total return estimate as there was no netting program upstream.
Next, the 2000 plus fish counted at the lower site and over 5000 early run chinook counted at the weirs on expanded for spawners below the weirs is a major issue. ADF&G staff are in a pickle here - how do you explain to the legislature spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and have this happen? So my experience in this case with the Department is to circle the wagons and keep things internal. Part of this cultural issue is because groups and legislators threaten budgets and it is an embarrassment to the Department. They are quoted in the paper how good the new Didson sonar program is and how it will solve all these issues and then wham this happens.
Then to top it all off the leadership from ADF&G is unwilling to have outside review and help that they cannot control. So they stop any release of information so others cannot review everything in detail. This is not limited to ADF&G as it is true in this Administration in DNR. The Gov office is refusing to release reports that are done on the Affordable Care Act. So the culture of the Administration is one of being secret. This direction moves down the ranks.
I believe that the people working at the site and the research biologists would be more open if they felt safe in doing so and for some their life work is in question. That is a tough environment.
So the short answer to your question is yes and no. There is a real desire for not releasing information while at the same time some in the Department would like to see more transparency - just not the leadership.
Thanks. Sort of what one would expect, but... It may not be just this administration, as much as any administration. Just sayiin.
This is not unexpected. ANY new form of enumeration of wild fish takes time, patience, and experience to get an accurate estimate. It can't be done in one year, and not likely in 2-3 either. ADF&G cannot just slap a counting unit in the river and get an accurate estimate of anything. It takes experience, trial/error, and good judgement. If they made an error, they may have over-sold the technology. As such, they need to adjust expectations, particularly for the folks who paid for it (i.e., State legislature), and the folks on the KP who's liveilhood depends on the fishery. And they need to be completely transparent about the advantages and limitations of the technology. Both are considerable.
Some patience on our part wouldn't hurt either.......
Cohoangler, I know you are not from here so do not have the history. But for nearly 30 years ADF&G has oversold this project so people here are kind of fed up with another wait and see approach. Also, I have a letter from the Director of Sport Fish. Here is the email I received and I assume that Charlie knew this would be public so I am sharing it. The concept is a fish goal for fish above 750mm.
Originally Posted by Cohoangler
Sorry for the delay in responding to your email, however I do think that this concept deserves attention. I will refrain from going into any of the technical details or as you have intimated some of the challenges that we currently face. It is my opinion we have made great strides over the last several years in addressing several long standing issues and have also recently received results from the upriver sonar site that lead me to believe that this site will be a substantial improvement over the lower site in the future. We will be bringing these results to the public in the ensuing weeks and also be presenting elements of this work to the Board at the upcoming meeting.
We painstakingly completed an extensive analysis of the available information, generated new escapement goals for both the early and late runs and put them into place for the 2013 season. We successfully managed the fisheries during the 2013 season using these goals and have every intention of doing so again in 2014. The concept of a large fish escapement goal for both the early and late king salmon runs is attractive and a worthwhile analysis to conduct, however it simply cannot be completed with the degree of rigor required prior to the UCI Board meeting in 2014. As you cataloged it has many attractive features to say nothing of the potential for fisheries management and for reducing complexity of our inseason data collection program.
You have my assurance that this concept will receive attention over the next several years and I am hopeful that it will prove useful in the evolution of our fisheries management program.
So here is the rub. Why over several years and why try to compare things to the lower site. The 2013 season was not a success relative to counting the early run (2300 fish vs 5000+ weirs) and as he says this Didson project has been ongoing for several years. The need to compare with the lower sonar site is not needed. ADF&G has already said those data are no good and did a Baysian analysis for that reason to set a goal.
I agree that maybe having something ready for the BOF relative to a large fish goal is tough but the Department has done this in the past on short notice. I think there are more significant issues than what is out in the public but that is speculation. In any event, no one here wants to go through serious restrictions for the next three years due to a faulty counting system at RM 8. There is plenty of time to make a new goal and implement it in 2014 at the upper river site if it works as Charlie suggests.
So I think you can understand the frustration here on the Kenai. It is not ADF&G is not trying but they are keeping everything internal and not allowing data to flow out of the system so others can see what is going on and that is the culture that has developed. I was talking with some ADF&G scientists today relative to Didson sonar and they are the same opinion that I have - this project needs some fresh minds to look at it in total. Not to bash ADF&G but to help get this thing on a better track or at least a more efficient one.
Thanks Nerka. I don't think we disagree. Niether does ADF&G, based on the last sentence in the note from 'Charlie'. I understand the frustration, but releasing data on a different (quicker) timeframe seems to be a different issue.
But your suggestion that the entire project be subject to an independent review is spot-on. But ADF&G needs to be confident this independent review will be open, honest, transparent, objective, and in the best interest of the fishery resources of the State of Alaska. They might not be so confident now, but at some point they need to swallow that pill, as bitter as it might be. But it'll be good for them.....