Wednesday August 17, 2022

North Coast Journal

Nearly 300 wild spring Chinook salmon made the 85-mile trip to cool mountain waters for spawning this year, up from a mere 90 last year.

While still far below, according to the Karuk Tribe and Salmon River Restoration Council, the numbers were at least moving in a positive direction.

But soon after the count was complete, disaster struck in the form of flash floods that sent torrents of “silt, wood and other debris” into the South Fork of the Salmon River in early August, “dropping the dissolved oxygen in the water to dangerous levels, and threatening all species of fish in the river,” a news release from the tribe and council states.

“I have watched the numbers of these fish steadily decline in my lifetime, and it feels like we are at a breaking point,” said Karuna Greenberg, SRRC’s restoration director. “The state approving our petition to list Springers as an endangered species was a good start, but this event underscores the need for a holistic approach to habitat restoration and highlights how important better fire management is to the wider ecosystem.”

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