Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fish Kill in John Day a Reminder of Risk Posed by Climate Change

Earlier this month, with drought conditions gripping the interior Columbia and Snake river basin, a hot spell and the associated spike in water temperatures resulted in a catastrophic fish kill in the Middle Fork of the John Day River. ODFW biologists estimated that a total of 183 fish, 60% of this summers return, died when water temperatures rose into the upper 70s. While these type of random events are a fact of life for salmon in the arid west, they are exacerbated by land use changes and water extraction that further stress fish. And with our climate that is rapidly changing it is not impossible that water temperatures in systems like the John Day may soon reach lethal temperatures frequently enough to make life impossible for over summering chinook salmon.

More information in an article from the Columbia Basin Bulletin:

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