Imagine spending your entire life on a round trip from your birthplace to the ocean and back. It is a perilous journey, but your instincts compel you to migrate hundreds of miles under your own power.
Driven by the biological need to procreate, salmon migrate up and down the rivers and streams of the Pacific Northwest including Idaho. Unfortunately, wild salmon runs have been in decline for more than 100 years.
Early commercial fishing reduced several Northwest stocks, including chinook, sockeye, steelhead, and other salmon species.’ Between 1866 and 1870, commercial fishing harvested more than two million pounds of salmon per year.’ About the same time, pioneers began altering the land and rivers as they settled the West. Eventually the salmon’s inland migratory route became impeded by hydroelectric dams that provide power for society’s needs.
Today the salmon’s plight is well chronicled. But many significant impacts on their future, along with possible solutions, are not yet understood.
This book takes another look at this complex issue. Its purpose is to inform readers about the many factors that impact salmon populations. It is a compilation of extensive research by biologists, hydrologists, and other scientists. The result is a valuable resource in deciding how best to help the salmon in the Pacific Northwest.
While hydropower dams on the main stems of the Columbia and Snake Rivers and fishing harvests are considered the largest human?induced factors contributing to salmon mortality, scientists caution against single factor solutions to recover imperiled salmon populations. The key is to learn what can be applied to all salmon mortality factors as a means of restoring salmon runs to sustainable levels at acceptable costs.