Summer of Drought, Wildfires Could Devastate NW Salmon Species

Public News Service

There are signs this summer could be a bad one for the native salmon of the Northwest.

Already, drought has gripped the region, causing low river flows that could be hard for fish to navigate or spawn in. That’s bad news for species already teetering on extinction, especially in the Columbia River Basin.

Betsy Emery, advocacy and campaign manager for the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, said a study this year from the Nez Perce Tribe predicted 77% of Snake River Chinook salmon will be nearly extinct in four years if current trends hold.

“Our salmon runs cannot afford one catastrophic event that can really devastate the potential for salmon recovery,” she said, “and so far, we’re seeing a lot of red flags that indicate we could see a catastrophic event like that this summer.”

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