The last few days bring us strikingly parallel reports from opposite coasts about the worry that wild salmon despite heroic efforts at conservation going back decades - centuries even - are continuing their slide toward extinction. Not that all stocks will get to that point. But recreating long-ago spectacles of fish so filling streams at spawning time that locals imagined walking to the other side on their backs may be but a dream. So one thinks today after reading the dismal news.
In the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire on Sunday David Brooks, the paper's environmental writer (and Granite Geek blogger), delivered New England's fish struggling to survive. One possibility, he reports, is abandonment of efforts to keep a wild (as opposed to hatchery-bolstered) Atlantic salmon run each year in the region's watersheds including the Merrimack and Souhegan rivers.. If they are doomed by climate change, overfishing, such competitors as striped bass, or other factors, could be time to quit. And it's not just salmon. Other anadromous fish including herring and shad are in the same fix.
Pic - Atl. Salmon Poster source ;
Similarly, the Idaho Statesman's veteran enviro writer Rocky Barker yesterday provided Efforts to save salmon may be undone by climate change. Doubts are rising, he writes, that salmon in the Northern Pacific will survive at all. Climatologists who project river and stream temperatures reaching 70 degrees F by 2040 are thereby predicting conditions that spawning salmon cannot tolerate. The story suggests that if such rivers as the Snake were to continue taking water directly and unhindered from snowmelt, things might not be so bad. But with hydroelectric and irrigation district dams ponding the water in the sun for months, warming it (and providing barriers that fish ladders only partly ease), prospects are bleak. The best tactic, he reports, for holding open the possibility of someday returning Pacific salmon, of many species, to America's West may be to focus on their strongholds in Alaska and Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.
Pic: Pacific NW Salmon poster source ;
Related, Somewhat More Hopeful News:
The Colorado-based (and non-profit) High Country News's Ken Olsen writes at great length of a possible Salmon Salvation / Will a new political order be enough to finally bring the dams down? . The story's stats on the chinook, chum, coho, steelhead trout, and sockeye that once ran the rivers are staggering. The magazine is also running a decidedly non-scientific poll, "What should be done about the dwindling stocks of Columbia River salmon." Its readers, presumably including not too many old line ranchers or electric utility workers, are voting 91 percent to breach the dams as soon as possible.
See Also - AP : Fisheries managers revising salmon projections; Hint: not upward.