A plastic pipe fence the length of a football field stretches across the Nisqually River near Joint Base Lewis-McChord property, signalling a new era in fisheries management for the Nisqually Tribe. The portable dam, which includes traps and augers to lift the fish into holding tanks, is designed to capture every fall chinook salmon that has made it through a gauntlet of fisheries that stretches from Alaska to the river. Read more in this story by the Olympian!
NOAA’s newly released report on the state of fisheries in the US shows some progress in the recovery of fish stocks. SAFS‘ Ray Hilborn is quoted; read more here.
Two years of precipitation-rich winters in the Pacific Northwest (even more than normal) could well be broken if climatic conditions in the equatorial Pacific shift from so-called neutral conditions toward El Niño. Read more about the current predictions, CIG‘s Nate Mantua is quoted.
Sea lions have been congregating for the past decade to feast on salmon waiting to climb the fish ladders at the base of the Bonneville Dam on their spring voyage upriver to spawn. A controversial cull of California sea lions, to conserve salmon, may now have left the field open for a new predator. Read more here.
J Carter-Hansen/U of Washington/UW News. Sockeye salmon migrate up an Alaskan stream to spawn.
When the University of Washington launched its Alaska Salmon Program 66 years ago, researchers were tasked with determining why Alaska’s sockeye salmon catches had declined by over 50% in just 20 years: from 22 million fish per year to 10 million. At that time the fundamental biology of salmon was poorly known and there were no long-term studies integrating salmon and their ecosystems in a holistic manner, SAFS‘ Thomas Quinn wrote in a history of the program and the five field camps UW established. Learn how far this program has come and what they’re doing now! SAFS‘ scientists Hilborn, Schindler, Hauser, Seeb and Seeb are also mentioned.
Yesterday, less than five months after the removal of the Elwha Dam, adult Chinook (king) salmon were observed in Olympic National Park. These are the first observed Elwha River salmon to naturally migrate into the park; the Elwha Dam became operational in 1913, twenty-five years before the establishment of the park, blocking over 70 miles of fish habitat from passage. Read more about this historic event here.
Check out this video on the removal of the Elwha River dams and the ecosystem restoration to follow. Learn about what scientists are doing to better understand how the river functions now and how it will change in the future. You can watch the nine-minute video here!