Epic Salmon Migration
Every four years the sockeye salmon returning to the Adams River to spawn hit peak levels. This year, 2006, is a peak year and the fish are expected to return by the millions to spawn. The challenge is that the sockeye have returned early, water levels are low, and the river temperature is warm. In such conditions the chances of survival drop drastically.
High pre-spawn mortality rates have a significant impact not only on salmon populations in future years but also on other plants and species within the same ecosystem.
Pacific salmon, with the exception of cutthroat and steelhead, spawn
only once and die within days of digging their nests. Their bodies
float down rivers and decompose, filling the water with nutrients for
other species of animals and plants.
Next weekend the peak of returning salmon is expected, but the actual spawning numbers and data will not be available until later this year, so for now we're stuck with the projections.
Overfishing and fish farms are only two of the culprits, and the ones the media tends to cover. But there are a number of small things that everyone can do to protect salmon, rivers, forests and the surrounding communities.
The THINK SALMON website provides a number of tips, but these are the ones I personally can implement:
1. Speed up the shower time.
2. Fix appliances, connections and pipes that leak water.
3. Replace old, inefficient applicances with new, energy-efficient ones.
4. Load the dishwasher full before running it.
I don't live near a stream. I don't have a pool. I don't own a dog. But I do live in a neighbour where all these things exist. My recommended tips are:
1. If you live near a stream, keep the stream shaded (don't remove trees and bushes, which keep the water cool for fish and which help stabilize the banks).
2. Never draining hot tubs or pools directly into streets and storm drains. Chemicals such as chlorine are toxic to salmon and other animals. Storm drains on the road empty directly into local streams.
3. Make sure your dog is salmon friendly. Clean up after your dog, especially near rivers, streams, and beaches. Don't let them chase wildlife. Avoid walking your dog near salmon spawning and hatching. (It's hard for a salmon to know that your dog is friendly. And come on, the salmon are busy trying to make babies. Don't distract them.)
4. Take a trip to Adams River to see the salmon spawning. It's really incredible.
This is the year, 2006, peak levels, and hopefully less pre-spawn mortality than projected.