Pacific Northwest Salmon

2022 Words 9 Pages
The Dam Problem with the Decline of Pacific Northwest Salmon
For generations upon generations, native Salmon have played a crucial part in the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Native American culture has been influenced and built around salmon. Today, salmon populations are at an all-time low and populations are still plummeting. Many subspecies have gone extinct. Throughout the next several pages, I am going to explore what salmon are, how they have been used, what led to their decline, what is being done to help them, and their importance to the Pacific Northwest.
Salmon are part of a family of fish called Salmonidae. Modern salmon began to appear in the fossil record about 6 million years ago. Salmon are anadromous, meaning that they migrate
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Logging, agricultural practices, poor hatchery practices, commercial fishing, climate change, and pollution are just a few of hundreds of other reasons that have caused salmon to decline. Logging may not seem to have a large impact on salmon considering trees grow on land and anadromous fish live in water, but it does more than ever. Not only does the removal of trees around riparian areas warm water temperatures, but it leads to many more implications. Erosion and mass sedimentation becomes a serious issue for spawning grounds. The machinery used to harvest these trees causes damage to riparian ecosystems and increases the amount of loose soils near the stream. Agriculture, especially in recent years with the use of toxic chemicals and fertilizers, has had a large impact on many aquatic species, not just anadromous fish. This causes nutrient and organic overloads that is damaging to aquatic ecosystems and the fish themselves. The effects of agriculture and pollution go hand in hand. Hatchery and aquaculture practices have also had a large impact on salmon. Recently, in the Puget Sound of Washington, an aquaculture facility that raises Alaskan salmon had over 300,000 salmon escape into the wild. This poses a serious threat to native salmon populations and the northwest’s waterways. These farmed salmon “bring with them pollution, virus and parasite amplification” (Flat and Ryan). They compete with native salmon for food and spawning grounds. It is ironic that Atlantic salmon can be raised in the Pacific Ocean. A species that is non-native and poses a serious threat to our native populations. A problem that affects more than just fish, but wildlife, plants, humans and the whole world is climate change. Climate change ultimately impacts water temperatures and water flows. Anadromous fish rely on cold water for survival and especially

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