These calfs will only survive if there are enough salmon to eat. The reason for the current southern resident baby boom is correlated with the relative abundance of salmon available to these whales the last year and a half, demonstrating once again how important chinook salmon are to SRKWs. Global changes in climate, hydroelectric dams, urbanization, agriculture, destructive fishing practices, and pollution all play roles in harming salmon populations. But we have an opportunity to help the salmon in a huge way, and in turn help the whales. 
The Columbia River Basin was once the largest salmon producing river system in the world. Today, fifty-six dams throughout the basin have brought wild salmon to the brink of extinction. The Snake River, the largest tributary of the Columbia, has the greatest potential to recover its endangered wild salmon populations, thus providing more prey for the Southern Residents. The lower Snake spans fifty miles with four dams restricting access to a 5500 mile expanse of cool climate change resilient Chinook spawning and rearing streams. The lower Snake dams no longer meet their congressionally authorized intent, if the costs exceed the benefits.

Please please PLEASE ask Gov. Inslee to support Obama taking executive action to breach the lower Snake River dams. Call now 360-902-4111

Sockeye and Chinook Salmon along Adams River by Lee Rentz on Flickr.

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Steelhead, Chinook salmon, lake sturgeon, or suckers are some of the fish species who require migrating to spawning grounds and are particularly susceptible to declines from impassable river obstructions. The very best fish passage is the complete removal of the barrier.
When it is not possible to remove these obstructions, fishways or fish ladders can be installed to allow fish passage over or around the barrier.
Flows, energy dissipation, resting areas, drop between pools (fishway slope), attraction velocities, entrance locations, and space in pools are just some of the factors that need to be considered when designing a ladder.

From here

Seattle Salmon is full of cocaine and other drugs

Researchers found cocaine, Advil, Prozac, Lipitor, Benadryl and dozens of other drugs in the tissue of juvenile chinook salmon caught in the Puget Sound in September 2014, the Seattle Times reported in February. The salmon likely picked up the drugs from wastewater in the area that’s a “[cocktail] of 81 drugs."  How this affects humans.

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Celebrate the passage of the National Trails AND Wild and Scenic Rivers Acts with photos of the BLM river and trail segments included in the original 1968 legislation signed #OTD in 1968!

The Río Grande Wild and Scenic River, located within the Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, includes 74 miles of the river as it passes through the 800-foot deep Río Grande Gorge. The Río Grande Wild and Scenic River provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities, luring anglers, hikers, artists, and whitewater boating enthusiasts.  

In addition, the Rogue Wild and Scenic River is located in southwestern Oregon and flows 215 miles from Crater Lake to the Pacific Ocean. Some of the wildlife that calls the Rogue home include black bear, river otter, black-tail deer, bald eagles, osprey, Chinook salmon, great blue heron, water ouzel, and Canada geese.

Featuring 30 miles of the world famous Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT), Sand to Snow National Monument in Southern California is a favorite for camping, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, photography, wildlife viewing, and even skiing.

The 43-mile stretch of the PCT in southern Oregon includes countless scenic views and well-known recreation points: Mount Shasta; Pilot Rock, Hyatt Lake; Soda Mountain Wilderness; and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, to name a few.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

The Secretary of the Interior on Wednesday decided against releasing water down the Trinity River to ensure the survival of the salmon runs expected this month.  The virtual trickle of water is low, too warm, and clogged with moss, while corporate farms in California’s Central Valley are receiving the government subsidized water.  The people of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and Yurok Tribe on the Trinity-Klamath Rivers are very worried that they will face another massive fish kill, as happened in 2002 under the same conditions.
California drought threatens coho salmon with extinction

Salmon, unable to swim upstream to spawn, at risk of extinction - species stranded in ocean awaiting water surge for migration.

The lack of rain this winter could eventually be disastrous for thirsty California, but the drought may have already ravaged some of the most storied salmon runs on the West Coast.

The coho salmon of Central California, which swim up the rivers and creeks during the first winter rains, are stranded in the ocean waiting for the surge of water that signals the beginning of their annual migration, but it may never come. All the creeks between the Golden Gate and Monterey Bay are blocked by sand bars because of the lack of rain, making it impossible for the masses of salmon to reach their native streams and create the next generation of coho.

The dire situation prompted the district to release 29 million gallons of valuable drinking water from Kent Lake early this month in an effort to lure the coho into the watershed, which winds 33 miles through the redwood- and oak-studded San Geronimo Valley on the northwest side of Mount Tamalpais. Steelhead trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, are also waiting offshore at the same streams, but they are more resilient - unlike coho, they can often wait a year to spawn.

A collapse of the fall run of chinook, which is the only viable fishery left in Central California, would put hundreds of commercial fishermen and marine-related businesses out of work.

Excellent reporting from SFGate
Salmon migrate by truck during California drought

In drought-stricken California, young Chinook salmon are hitting the road, not the river, to get to the Pacific Ocean.

Millions of six-month-old smolts are hitching rides in tanker trucks because California’s historic drought has depleted rivers and streams, making the annual migration to the ocean too dangerous for juvenile salmon.

“The drought conditions have caused lower flows in the rivers, warmer water temperatures, and the fish that would normally be swimming down the rivers would be very susceptible to predation and thermal stress,” said Kari Burr, fishery biologist with the Fishery Foundation of California.

California has been trucking hatchery-raised salmon for years to bypass river dams and giant pumps that funnel water to Southern California and Central Valley farms.

But this year state and federal wildlife agencies are trucking nearly 27 million smolts, about 50 percent more than normal, because of the drought, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Each spring, the Coleman National Fish Hatchery usually releases about 12 million smolts into Battle Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River near Redding. But this year, it trucked 7.5 million of them to San Francisco Bay because the drought had made the 300-mile swim too perilous.

Southern Resident Killer Whales Need YOUR Help!#SaveTheSRKW

“The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales support a multimillion dollar tourist economy in Puget Sound. They are perilously close to becoming too small a population to survive and reproduce, primarily due to lack of food. They are slowly starving. There are only 77 Southern Resident orcas remaining today. For more than two years, no calf has survived. In 2014 alone, the Southern Resident population has declined by 5%, with the recent death of J32, Rhapsody, and her calf. At 18 years old, J32 was just coming into her own and was among the most likely females to contribute to the killer whales’ recovery for years to come. With her death, another J Pod matriline, the J10’s, will die out. Rhapsody’s death embodies the plight of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. 

Chinook salmon are the killer whales’ primary food. Chinook salmon runs originating in the Columbia/Snake River watershed are the singular most important food source for the killer whales’ survival. Chinook salmon are endangered species themselves. There are not enough Chinook salmon to sustain even the 77 Southern Residents Killer Whales that are alive today.

Each year the Snake River dams kill many millions of Chinook salmon juveniles as they attempt to navigate the dams and migrate down river and out to the ocean. Despite the dams, some Chinook salmon do make it to the ocean and grow to adults. The dams again exact their toll when adult Chinook return to the Columbia/Snake watershed to spawn. The dams finish the killing cycle by impeding the Chinooks return to their spawning grounds. 

According to hundreds of scientists, removal of the four Lower Snake River dams is the single most effective way to generate the abundant Columbia Basin salmon that Southern Resident Killer Whales need to survive and recover. Judge Redden, the judge who presided over the decades long Columbia/Snake River legal case involving salmon and hydropower, also believes the dams need to come down. Yet as the orcas spiral towards extinction, the federal government refuses to consider dam removal, and instead spends billions of dollars on unreasonable and speculative habitat restoration measures to avoid significant changes to dam operations. 

It is time for Congress to authorize removal of the four lower Snake River dams. Please join us in calling for Congress to pass legislation to remove these concrete barriers to the orcas’ continued to survival.

Please support removing the four lower Snake River dams to save the Southern Resident Killer Whales from being dammed to extinction.” - Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative

Via Blackberry- J27 on Facebook


King Salmon Tail

About a month ago I processed a king salmon from the Nushagak River. The tail was pretty impressive so I put it in salt. The bottom photo shows how the tail looked when I pulled it out today. The tail is still pretty oily and not all that desiccated. The most interesting thing to me, though, is how the red molting color has pretty much disappeared and the tail looks as though it came from a salmon before it got too far upstream.

I put the tail back into salt and maybe I’ll check on it again in another month. I wonder if this process will actually let it completely desiccate. Has anyone ever tried this process for fish or any other animal?