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PBS bringing local environmental successes to TV

11:38 am September 27th, 2012

A two-part public television episode in November will feature the environmental restoration work in rivers such as the Nisqually and Mashel, plus a profile of tribal fishing activist Billy Frank Jr..

“River of Kings,” part of the “Saving the Ocean” series on PBS, will report on efforts around the world to make oceans and their related environments healthier. As part of the show’s promotion, its web site has photographs of salmon spawning in the the Mashel River, the Eatonville-area tributary to the Nisqually, and pictures of Frank to promote the “Kings” episodes that are scheduled to air Nov. 8 and Nov. 15.

“Saving the Ocean” producers have indicated the episodes will also include stories about work in the Ohop Valley to improve habitat and spawning of salmon.

Frank is chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. His opinion articles about salmon preservation and environmental issues appear in The Dispatch.

The commission works with 20 tribes in western Washington in the management of salmon resources laid out in the Boldt decision, a 1974 federal court ruling that established the 3,000-aacre.Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of the Nisqually River. The creation of the preserve and subsequent actions have contributed to efforts to restore the endangered chinook salmon species.

The decision then-U.S. District judge George Boldt is credited for reaffirming tribal fishing rights in Washington and tribes joining the state as co-managers of natural resources.

Frank and his role in fishing-rights struggles in the 1960s that led to the Boldt decision will be covered in a profile of the tribal leader. In his online blog, Carl Safina, the on-camera host of “Saving the Ocean,” wrote, “It was a distinct honor to meet 80-year-old legendary Indian chief Billy Frank, whose vision and tenacity are a big reason there are still people fishing, still salmon, and a dream of greater recovery.”

Safina also wrote about how towns such as Eatonville are installing rain gardens at homes and public places “to catch rain, prevent runoff and re-charge the groundwater, thus helping to even-out river flows.”

“Salmon have lots of problems in many places,” Safina continued. “But some places have solutions. One is the Nisqually River. There, wild chinook salmon were eliminated decades ago by overfishing and habitat loss. Now, an unusual coalition of politicians, civic planners, wildlife managers, farmers, fishing folks and the Nisqually Indians are engaged in a visionary, long-term campaign to restore salmon habitats that had been degraded, and to work specifically toward recovery of the now-endangered chinook.”

Safina is a marine biologist. He also has written books (“Song for the Blue Ocean,” “Eye of the Albatross,” “Voyage of the Turtle” and “The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World”) about ocean-related subjects and is the founder Blue Ocean Institute, a conservation organization. While Safina has been chronicling the work of others for PBS and in print, he himself has been profiled by the New York Times, ABC-TV’s Nightline and journalist Bill Moyers.

 

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