Short casts: All about salmon...

Photo by Kyle Green, Idaho Statesman

Welcome to the weekend edition of Short Casts, where today, it’s all about salmon and the many challenges facing their recovery in the Pacific Northwest.

If you haven’t been following Rocky Barker’s summer-long series on salmon in the Idaho Statesman, you can still catch up with it and learn about not just the biological impact of river manipulation on our native Northwest salmon, but about the salmon and steelhead culture, the economy surrounding these fish and the controversies that abound when folks try to tackle this most complex of issues. The latest installment asks a simple question: Are we doing it all wrong by trying to “replace” or “supplement” salmon lost thanks to dowstream development? It’s a worthy read that, if you’ve ever pondered the steps necessary to ensure salmon are part of the long-term environmental and economic landscape, will make you think.

And … still more about salmon:

  • If news wasn’t bad enough about record low numbers for this year’s steelhead returns, non-essential workers, including fish counters, are not allowed to come to work at Bonneville Dam thanks to smoke from wildfires along the Columbia River.
  • Wildfires in Oregon forced the early release of some 600,000 hatchery salmon. Employees at fish hatcheries were evacuated due to the Eagle Creek fire, forcing the early release. It was either that, or lose them altogether.
  • Scientific American takes a look at the salmon farming industry in Puget Sound and the recent “spill” of hundreds of thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon in Pacific waters.
  • And, finally, a bit of good news, if anecdotal evidence off the coast of California is to be believed. It looks like California salmon are staging for a bit of a rebound. We’ll take all the good news we can get.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.