Northwest Digest

Posted: Friday, September 22, 2006

Soldier with Juneau ties injured in Iraq

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JUNEAU - Paul James Gregory, a U.S. soldier married to a Juneau woman, was injured in the last week while serving in Iraq.

Family members and military officials could not be reached Thursday night to find out the status of the man, being treated in a hospital on the East Coast.

St. Paul's Catholic Church has been holding novena rosaries this week for the soldier, according to the Rev. Tony Dummer of St. Paul's Catholic Church.

Eliason nominated for salmon hall of fame

JUNEAU - Former Alaska Sen. Richard Eliason, of Sitka, is one of four men to be honored Saturday by the Pacific Northwest Salmon Center for their contributions to the protection of wild salmon.

"In the fishing world, he is the grandfather of fisheries," said Mary McDowell, a Juneau resident and member of the selection committee. He also is the first Alaskan to be nominated.

Eliason, 81, a lifelong fisherman, also has served as a state representative and mayor of Sitka. As a 20-year state lawmaker, he was responsible for the statutory prohibition of fin-fish farming in Alaska, a ban enacted in 1990. He also sponsored the Wild Stock Priority legislation, which provided major protections for wild salmon.

His nomination was supported by the Alaska Trollers Association, United Fishermen of Alaska, the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association and others.

The winner, who will be inducted on the Wild Salmon Hall of Fame, will be announced during a Saturday evening ceremony in Bremerton, Wash, honoring all four nominees. To learn more about the award or the center, visit

States seek lethal removal of sea lions

PORTLAND, Ore. - C404, the crafty California sea lion who has flummoxed engineers and fishery specialists at the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam for years, might want to get his affairs in order.

C404 has earned a measure of fame by routinely navigating his way around sea lion exclusion devices and into the dam's fish ladder where migrating salmon flop their way up the stair-like structure to spawning grounds.

California sea lions such as C404 are protected by law.

But now Oregon and Washington are drafting a proposal for their "limited selected lethal removal" in the Columbia River to ease pressure on the spring chinook salmon run.

The proposal could be ready for the federal government next month, said Charles Corralino, who heads the conservation and recovery program for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

While nobody has specifically named C404, the program is targeting repeat offenders, and he's the poster child.

Scientists: Fish kill peaks in Hood Canal

SEATTLE - A fish kill attributed to a lack of oxygen in Washington state's Hood Canal may have peaked, but not before thousands of dead fish washed ashore this week.

Hood Canal, about 20 miles west of Seattle, is a long, narrow waterway that branches off from Puget Sound.

Most of the dead fish were found Tuesday, and there were no reports of additional deaths this morning.

The last major fish kill in Hood Canal was in 2003, and this new one was observed over a larger area.

This time, scientists speculate that a storm blowing in from the south last weekend pushed the well-oxygenated surface water northward, toward the waterway's entrance. That allowed deeper, oxygen-poor water to surge to the surface in a matter of hours, trapping fish that had no time to escape and suffocating them.

Historical records suggest low oxygen levels are common to Hood Canal, but that population growth has intensified the problem.

Leaking septic tanks, stormwater runoff and the disappearance of native vegetation are among the factors implicated in the poor water quality.

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