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2009 STEP Conference speaker line-up

August 24, 2009


Connecting Green – The Metro Areas
Bob Sallinger, conservation director, Audubon Society of Portland
Message: Metro’s new initiative to create the “World’s Best System of Parks, Trails and Natural Areas” and its implications for biodiversity.
The Willamette River in 2050 
Rick Bastasch, Office of Healthy Working Rivers
Message: Our relationship to the river always involves changes – and those coming merit some clear thinking. The river has served people in many ways; current energies devoted to repair and re-use; be prepared for future twists on upward path.

Fish Eggs to Fry Program
Leroy Schultz, Northwest Steelheaders Eggs to Fry program director
Message: Placing fish eggs in classrooms allows kids to see what happens in the real world life of salmon and trout. This program facilitates learning in many areas, and lets the students have a hands-on experience in caring for the fish as they develop.

Creeks and Kids Watershed Workshop
Lin Howell, teacher education specialist, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve
Message: The staff excels in helping participants acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence to use their local streams and watersheds as learning sites through field experiences and classroom activities from the stream scene: watersheds, wildlife, and people, Project WET and Project Aquatic WILD. An explanation of developing teaching strategies using watersheds, water quality, macroinvertebrates, fish sampling, mapping and wildlife inventory.

Eyed Egg Planting
Tod Jones, fisheries biologist, Clatsop Economic Development Council Fisheries Project
Message: A brief history and overview of various agencies using a variety of methods to plant fertilized salmon eggs in streams around the Pacific Rim. The discussion will include a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods, followed by a description of a new method and device that Mr. Jones invented to overcome past limitations. A backpack mounted egg planter will be on display during and after this presentation.

Wave Energy
Cristen Don, marine biologist, ODFW Marine Program
Message: Wave energy development in Oregon and the prospects and issues associated with the development of this and other alternative energy sources off the coast of Oregon.

Stream Habitat Surveys
Ben Walczak, ODFW spawning ground surveyor
Message: The various types of stream habitat surveys and how they’re used.

Producing Sterile Fish (triploids)
Tyler Lebard, Roaring River Fish Hatchery
Message: An overview of the triploids in the state of Oregon and a discussion of the need for sterile fish, the procedure for producing them, and new developments in Oregon triploid research.

Wildlife and Fish Habitat
Susan Barnes, wildlife diversity biologist, ODFW Northwest Region
Message: Learn how to use and apply the Oregon Conservation Strategy. Discussion will include an overview of Oregon’s priority habitats and which species are of highest conservation concern. Learn what you can do to help our at-risk habitats and species. Focus will be on the Willamette Valley.

Juvenile and Adult Monitoring
John Weber, STEP biologist, Gold Beach
Message: STEP monitoring of salmonids in the South Coast basins and an explanation of how to set up a monitoring project to meet fishery management objectives. Key points: Planning a monitoring project, project selection, and data collected with volunteer effort in the South Coast basins.

Analysis of Climate Change and Snowpack on Columbia Basin Tribal Lands
David Graves, GIS specialist, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Message: Climate change is projected to significantly reduce seasonal snowfall in the Pacific Northwest during the 21st Century. The treaty Indian tribes of the Columbia Basin (Warm Springs, Umatilla, Nez Perce, and Yakama) will be impacted by these changes because they rely on streams and rivers for their food and way of life. A GIS (geographic information systems) analysis was performed to better anticipate how different watersheds will be impacted.

Conservation Innovation and Implementation
Rick Gruen, district manager, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District
Message: "It ain't the's the people."  Water quality is not just about fish … it’s about understanding people and human behavior. Successful resource management depends on effectively working with people.

Passion and Perseverance
Henry A. Balensifer III, founder and CEO of Warrenton High Fisheries, Inc.
Message: How a 15 year old kid founds a non-profit and raises $485,000 in a town of 4,000 people. Talk will focus on community building, fundraising, and networking.

Fish Health
Jerry Jones
Message: Clean, uncrowded tanks with appropriate feed rates are optimal for fish health.

Salmon Watch & The Healthy Waters Institute
Traci Price, director, The Freshwater Trust
Message: Oregon’s freshwater ecosystems are in decline. Youth today are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Providing students with hands-on learning that is authentic and relevant is essential for preparing them to become caretakers of our freshwater resources.

The Importance of Jacks in Salmon Populations
Brent Young, ODFW fish ID senior technician
Message: Jacks are integral components of all wild salmon populations, have inherently greater genetic diversity, increase effective population size via gene flow between cohorts, and can be used to improve fitness of hatchery fish.

Tualatin Basin Restoration Projects and Activities
April Olbrich, Tualatin River Watershed Council coordinator
Message: There are many opportunities for volunteers to get involved in both small and larger watershed projects. An overview of project underway in the Tualatin River Watershed, results and how residents can connect with opportunities.

Your Watershed, Your Community
Elizabeth (Liz) Redon, North Santiam Watershed Council
Message: Utilizing community-based restoration to build unique partnerships to plan and implement strategic watershed restoration. Talk will include practical tips on building and implementing a watershed restoration strategy with a volunteer watershed council, building relationships with landowners, and building partnerships with other organizations and funding sources to plan, implement and monitor restoration effectiveness.

ODFW 25 Year Angling Enhancement Plan
Mary Buckman, ODFW biometrician
Message: ODFW is working to provide accessible and varied angling opportunities for our diverse population. Youth and family angling opportunities are a priority; hatchery trout play an important role in providing fisheries; maintaining and enhancing native fish stocks underlies all decisions regarding fishing opportunities. Why ODFW must enhance fishing opportunities near population centers.

Creel surveys
Mary Buckman, ODFW biometrician
Message: Well-designed angler surveys provide valuable information for managing fisheries and providing angling opportunities. Many survey options are available; surveys allow us to measure the success of stocking programs and assess impacts of fisheries on native fish stocks; surveys must be well-planned and executed to provide accurate information 

Watershed Councils and STEP Volunteers: Opportunities in Oregon
John Moriarty, executive director, Network of Oregon Watershed Councils  
Message: Watershed councils throughout the state offer a variety of project opportunities for STEP volunteers. Discussion will include an overview of volunteer opportunities; a wide diversity of project types, and information about councils throughout the state.

ODFW Angler Education Program: Vision to the Future
Shahab Farzanegan, ODFW Aquatic and Angler Education Program Coordinator
Message: Overview of the ODFW Angler Education Program initiatives, with emphasis on the 25-year angling plan. Talk will cover new educational resources and partners as well as the development of a evaluation program and better utilization of volunteer youth angling instructors.

On The Ground Work – Turning ideas into action
Luca De Stefanis, resource conservationist, Marion Soil & Conservation District 
Message: Riparian areas inside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) are ecologically significant and play a critical role in creating healthy communities for people, fish and wildlife yet is still a new concept or priority for cities. This session will provide the concise steps to identify, plan, design and implement riparian projects in an efficient and effective manner using a one-year time line to ensure ideas become action.

Rain Gardens
Luca De Stefanis, resource conservationist, Marion Soil & Conservation District
Message: What is a rain garden and how does it work? Learn how rain gardens affect storm water runoff, the benefits water quality, and assess your site for a rain garden and learn how to design and build your own.

Climate Change, Marine Food Webs and Survival of Salmon
Bill Peterson, NOAA Fisheries
Message: An overview of the methodology used to forecast the returns of salmon based on analysis of ocean conditions and marine food chain structure. Salmon returns are presently forecasted using the "jack index," which is based on counts of precocious males who return to rivers and streams one year before the bulk of the fish return to spawn. NOAA Fisheries forecasting is based on ocean conditions, which provide detailed scientifically-based explanations for why runs fail or prosper. Such information allows watershed councils and watershed restoration managers evaluate the success or failure of their efforts to restore freshwater habitat..

Instream and Riparian Restoration Using Volunteers
Brett Lyon, SOLV outreach coordinator, Derrick Freedland and Mike Weber, restoration outreach coordinators 
Message: For the past 10 years, SOLV's Team Up for Watershed Health program has been enhancing and restoring watershed sites in the Portland area. Working with volunteers, landowners, partners, and work crews, the program has delivered remarkable results. Learn how SOLV has utilized volunteers to help restore it sites and get some tips for recruiting and managing volunteers.

Place-Based Education: Making Community Connections
Deborah Topp, natural resources outreach specialist, City of Salem
Message: Making community connections to improve water quality by understanding local issues, encouraging community stewardship, and providing volunteer opportunities.

Hatchery Fish as a Conservation Tool
Mark Chilcote, conservation biologist, ODFW
Message: Most conservation problems can not be solved with hatchery fish because habitat degradation is the central issue. However, where opportunities to use hatchery fish in a conservation program exist, success may depend on limiting their application to no longer than two generations.Accumulating scientific evidence suggests that there is a diminishing likelihood of creating a hatchery fish that performs as well in the natural environment as do wild fish. However, examples will be given where genetically dissimilar hatchery fish have served as a boost to the recovery of at risk wild populations when issue was not habitat degradation.

Aquatic Invasive Species
Rick Boatner, ODFW, Invasive Species, Wildlife Integrity Coordinator
Message: Introduction to AIS and ways to prevent the spread and introduction of AIS in Oregon
Key points: by being able to identify AIS and with education Oregonians can slow down or stop AIS from being spread or introduced into Oregon.

Pringle Creek Community and Fish-friendly Development
James Santana, Director of Community Development
Message: Pringle Creek Community is an innovative, 32-acre residential development in Salem. With over 30 percent dedicated naturalized area and open space, 80 percent of trees preserved, and the largest all-porous street system in North America, more than 90 percent of stormwater that falls onsite returns to the aquifer. These practices, combined with extensive restoration efforts along the creek and techniques such as greenroofing, have created an oasis for trout and salmon to survive in spite of a highly urbanized creek ecosystem upstream and downstream of the development.

Hypoxia in Oregon’s Nearshore Ocean
David Fox, ODFW Marine Resource Assessment and Management Section Leader
Message: Description of factors causing hypoxic conditions to form off of Oregon. Oregon’s hypoxic conditions are primarily caused by oceanographic factors

The Importance of Small, Urban, and Intermittent Streams
Chuck Fustish, STEP biologist, Rogue Watershed District
Message: Juvenile coho salmon and steelhead use small, urban, and intermittent streams during the winter months to avoid high river flows that wash debris and rocks down the river channel.
Coos STEP Fall Chinook Program
Gary Vonderhoe, Assistant District Fish Biologist, Umpqua Watershed District
Message: An explanation of how the district set up an evaluation and monitoring program for the largest hatchery fall chinook program Oregon Coast. The success of the program is due in large part to a partnership between ODFW staff and STEP volunteers.

Urban Responses to the Endangered Species Act
Kaitlin Lovell, Senior Program Manager, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Message: The largest urban center in Oregon has made it a city policy to respond to the Endangered Species Act by working cooperatively with our state and federal partners to prevent the further decline of listed and even unlisted species, but also to aid in the recovery of these species. The City of Portland occupies the largest delta confluence in the state, which 13 listed salmonids currently use at some point in the lifecycle. Failing to address urban issues in salmon recovery will have limited success for the species. Urban areas represent the key constituents to successful salmon recovery. As degraded as they are, urban areas also represent some of the best, immediate opportunities for restoration.

Lower Columbia ESU Habitat Restoration
Todd Alsbury, ODFW North Willamette Watershed District Fish Biologist
Message: An overview of fish habitat restoration on the Clackamas and Sandy rivers, two important rivers in the lower Columbia River basin. Challenges include working in a densely populated area with multiple ownerships and jurisdictions. Discussion will explore how to bring multiple stakeholders to the table to achieve a coordinated approach to complex projects.

Sea Lion Predation at Bonneville Dam
Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program Manager

Oregon Hatchery Research Center
Joseph O’Neill, OHRC Senior Technician




Shelly Miller    (503) 947-6232
Rick Swart       (971) 673-6038

Fax: (503) 947-6070
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