Nez perce fisheries helping preserve traditions – – wallowa county chieftain washington university university college

When the nez perce left their wallowa valley homeland in 1877, they’d lost nearly everything –– their homeland, much of their livestock and eventually, much of their freedom. However, under the 1855 and 1863 treaties that hastened the tribe’s demise, they still retained hunting, fishing and grazing rights throughout much of their former lands.

The tribe eventually established its department of fisheries resource management that helps ensure that the salmon, which were and are a staple of the nez perce diet as well as a tremendous part of the tribe’s culture and heritage, are protected into the future, as well as enhancing opportunities for sportsmen.

The agency’s administrative offices are in lapwai, idaho, and it maintains a number of field offices in addition to joseph: sweetwater, orofino, red river, grangeville and mccall.

Most of the work is done outside the boundaries of the 1863 treaty although the vast majority of work done at the joseph station is completed within wallowa county.

The fisheries department is divided into various divisions. Best universities usa the research division, which covers a number of aspects of fish research and assessment; the production division, which includes aquaculturists who actually trap, spawn, rear and release the fish; and the watershed division, which works on habitat restoration. The tribe’s fisheries program covers more than 13 million acres of watershed in an area that includes portions of idaho, washington and oregon.

Jim harbeck works in research and is a 20-year employee with the agency. Washington university hospital he holds a master’s degree in fisheries science from michigan state university. He started as a project leader on the lostine river in the ‘90s and is now the joseph field office supervisor.

Harbeck said that chinook salmon and steelhead are listed as “threatened” under the endangered species act for a variety of reasons, and the agency works to protect them. Dams, low warm water in river and streams, rising ocean temperatures that create a lack of food, over-harvest and other factors all contribute to the problem.

The agency is funded through a number of different avenues, such as the bonneville power administration, which supplies and sells a portion of power throughout the pacific northwest. In the ‘70s, the federal government decided that a portion of those fees be paid toward fish and wildlife losses because of the dams it operates.

The agency submits proposals to the power administration for funding. Harbeck said it is not limited to fish and wildlife agencies and that anyone can submit a proposal for funding. Washington university doctors an independent scientific review panel reviews the proposals and then recommends what projects are funded.

It’s not just the protection of the fish that benefit the county. Top 30 universities in usa the tribe employs 20 full-time workers and offers outstanding insurance benefits, which harbeck said is indicative of the tribe’s commitment to its employees and their families. The agency also hires 6-8 part-time employees who generally work in the spring season.

“the fact that we do our projects here and spend our money here is a good thing for the local economy,” he said. “we’ve got good people here who make a good contribution to wallowa county and contribute to the local culture. Because the tribe maintains a field office here, there’s good things happening in wallowa county.”