Rising River Temperatures Threaten Salmon in the Pacific Northwest


Sockeye salmon in the Pacific Northwest have developed lesions and fungi due to abnormally high water temperatures in the Columbia River, according to a nonprofit that works to preserve the river’s water quality.

The nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper The video was released on Tuesday Injured salmon in the Little White Salmon River, a tributary of Columbia. The Columbia River’s temperature currently exceeds 71 ​​degrees Fahrenheit. said in a newsletter68 is above the legal limit set by scientists to protect salmon.

Salmon make an extraordinary migration, often hundreds of kilometers, from inland rivers and lakes where they are born to the sea and back to spawn. The long-standing network of dams in the western states already makes the journey dangerous. Now, with climate change’s worsening heat waves and drought, scientists conditions look grim without extensive interventioncomes with its own risks.

“We’re in a salmon crisis,” said Don Sampson of the Northwest Tribal Salmon Alliance. said in a video detailing the stress on salmon. “We see heat. Imagine the warmth we feel. They feel 10 times worse in that river. They’re drowning. They’re weak.”

This is not the first time that marine life in the area has suffered. In 2015, more than 200,000 sockeye salmon died in hot water while swimming in the Columbia River, according to Reuters. And just weeks ago, abnormally high temperatures in Northern California’s Sacramento River Chinook threatened salmon population.

Similar disasters will become more common as dams and climate change continue to warm rivers, or worse, disappear, wildlife experts say.

The Pacific Northwest has had a tough summer so far. A severe heatwave in the region killed hundreds of people, and wildfires burned large tracts of land. The combination of extreme heat and drought that hit the western United States in June also killed hundreds of millions of marine animals and continues to threaten untold freshwater species, scientists say.

“This feels like one of those post-apocalyptic movies,” said Christopher Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia.


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