Grassroots fish or wildlife projects that need seed monies or capper funds to take off have a potential source.
A portion of the income generated annually by state-owned aquatic lands is doled out through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's ALEA (Aquatic Land Endowment Account) grant program to worthy citizen volunteer efforts.
WDFW officials say that for the 2013 grant year (begins Monday, July 1, 2013) there will be about $1 million to distribute.
Highly sought-after, ALEA grant funds underwrite or reimburse individuals or groups for certain costs (mainly materials or equipment expenses) of fish- or wildlife-related habitat, research, education/outreach, facility development or artificial production projects. Projects falling outside these key categories will still be considered.
Locally, ALEA funds in the past have paid for fish feed to raise winter run-steelhead smolts for release into the Nooksack.
ALEA monies may not pay salaries, wages or stipends nor are they likely to be awarded to projects that are not consistent with WDFW's general goals and objectives.
Worthy projects encourage community involvement and commitment of many volunteer hours, present a clear, unambiguous budget and have in place all necessary permits (scientific collection, hydraulics, water rights, building or development) as well as an organizational structure for work in the grant's field season.
Projects also must either conserve and protect fish and wildlife or provide opportunities for public enjoyment of them.
Individuals, informal neighborhood collaborations, conservation groups, non-profit organizations and tribes as well as public and private educational institutions or public utility districts are encouraged to apply if they have ideas benefitting fish and wildlife that need money. State and federal agencies may not receive ALEA funds.
Persons, groups and organizations can obtain application forms and information through WDFW's website at wdfw.wa.gov/grants/alea/index.html. For an ALEA grant compact disc, call 360-902-2700.
ANACORTES DUO TAKES DERBY
This year's Dec. 7-8 Resurrection Derby $10,000 first prize was won with a 15.67-pound chinook (blackmouth) landed by a pair of Anacortes saltwater anglers - Bob Norling and Mark Shinman.
In two days of competitive angling in the San Juan Islands, 75 fishing teams (boats), less than the 100-team maximum set for the event by organizers, caught and entered 200 blackmouth.
A trio of Seattle area salmon fishers, Kris Maudslin, Troy Unke and Mike Sorenson took the $2,500 runner-up money with a 14.68-pound blackmouth while local fishers Kevin and Duane Zender netted the $1,500 third prize with their top chinook, a 14.46-pound fish.
The overall boat weight prize of $1,000 cash was taken by Troy Moe's crew with their landed total of 93.56 pounds of king salmon.
This year's event is the third bearing this name since the Fidalgo and San Juan Islands chapters of Puget Sound Anglers teamed to bring back a fishing contest to the San Juans at the nominal start of winter-blackmouth fishing around the first of December.
This salmon contest is now a registered event in the 14-tournament annual Northwest Salmon Derby Series sponsored by the Northwest Marine Trade Association. In preparation for next year, you'll find its details online at resurrectionderby.com/index.html.
It targets hatchery-origin fish and organizers donate the proceeds to state-tribal sanctioned area salmon enhancement projects and programs. Last year, the derby proceeds generated a $7,000 donation to Long Live the Kings, a privately owned and operated Glenwood Springs Hatchery on Orcas Island's East Sound.
Though considered the kick-off derby for overwinter feeder chinook fishing here, the Resurrection event is actually the last on the NSDS 2012 calendar.
The next saltwater fishing contest here and the first of 2013 is the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic set for Feb 7-9. It also is a limited-entry affair (maximum of 100 boats), so to be sure of an opportunity for the $700 ante-in, visit rocheharbor.com/Fishing_Derby.html.
The resort has sweetened the pot for the 2013 event adding a $30,000 incentive boost to the $10,000 first prize fish if it weighs 30 pounds.
COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED
Public comments on proposed 2013 changes to sport-fishing regulations will be taken through Tuesday, Jan. 29, while agency staff rewrite rules.
The original mid-December deadline date was canceled when the commission moved consideration of this major annual function from its February to March meetings.
Close to 70 revisions made the cut including seven that affect waters here in Whatcom County and Northwest Washington.
If you are a beaver pond fisher especially, change number 41 should be one you can enthusiastically support since they are currently all closed.
The department has revamped its system for taking public comment on fishing regulations, so now you can make a one-stop view the proposals and comment on each one online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/.
If you are not Web directed, pamphlets listing all the changes plus hardcopy comment forms can be obtained by calling 360-902-2672.
HOMING WINTER-RUN WATCH
With restrictions now in place forbidding inter-basin transfers of hatchery winter-run steelhead eggs to make up deficits if a hatchery does not get its needed spawners, it is more important than ever for enough adult fish to reach their artificial spawning destinations.
Starting today, The Bellingham Herald will run a weekly summary of hatchery winter-run steelhead arrivals at the state's Western Washington fish production facilities.
Under the state's steelhead management plan and individual hatchery genetics management plans, facilities are directed to spawn the earliest returning adipose fin-clipped adults they get back. This will breed fish likely to themselves return early, reducing the potential for interacting with later-returning wild adult populations.
As of Thursday, Dec. 12 these are numbers of adults trapped, eggs already taken and other details:
Maritime Heritage Center Hatchery (Whatcom Creek): no report
Kendall Creek Hatchery (North Fork Nooksack River): 18 adults, no eggs taken (target 165,000)
Marblemount Hatchery (Cascade River Skagit): 30 adults, 4,000 eggs taken
Whitehorse Hatchery (North Fork Stillagaumish River): 27 adults, no eggs taken
Tokul Creek Hatchery (Snoqualmie River Snohomish): 133 adults, no eggs taken
Soos Creek Hatchery (Green River): 25 adults, no eggs taken
Bogachiel Hatchery (Bogachiel River Quillayute): 395 adults, 238,000 eggs taken
Humptulips Hatchery (Humptulips River): 315 adults, no eggs taken
Forks Creek Hatchery (Willapa River): 100 adults, no eggs taken
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983, has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http//pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoor.