Thermal hopscotch: How Columbia River salmon are adapting to climate change

East Oregonian

Water in the Columbia River Basin isn’t just getting warmer. In places, it’s getting downright hot.

At the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers in Southeastern Washington, for instance, summer water temperatures have been recorded as high as 90 degrees.

Blame dams, levees and other concrete additions to the river. And, of course, climate change.

All salmonids — chinook, coho, sockeye, steelhead — suffer if the water they live in spikes above 68 to 70 degrees. Anything above 70 degrees increases stress and the likelihood of fatal diseases.

In water above 74 degrees salmon stop trying to swim altogether. At that point, many will die.

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