Pilchuck River is 5 degrees too warm and threatening salmon runs

King 5

The warming of the Pilchuck River in Snohomish County has been building for many decades, according to the Washington Department of Ecology.

From settlement to logging to development of towns along it banks, the agency says the water in the river is now 5.4 degrees warmer than it should be, and that is a bad thing for important salmon runs that return to the Snohomish County waterway.

Until Nov. 15, the Department of Ecology is asking for public input on a continuing plan to bring those temperatures down and the number of fish up.

Warm water also retains less oxygen than cold water. In some cases along the Little Pilchuck, the department has reports of sluggish and dying fish because of low oxygen levels. Slower moving fish are also more vulnerable to predators.

There are three main points to the plan, according to Heather Khan, a Water Quality Specialist with the department and the project leader.

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