07/01/2012: "Salmon Back Big Time…Again"
Last year set a record for the number of returning salmon, and so far there are indications there will be another record run of returning sockeye salmon, at least to the Columbia Basin.
The number of salmon that pass over the Bonneville Dam fish ladders (photo right)are counted, and in the past less than 40 thousand sockeye would be counted as the total for the whole year, but this year it has been reported by the Associated press that almost 300 thousand were counted in just one day.
And there is more good news. We don’t know how they know this, but most of the fish appear to be those returning to the rivers they were born in, and not fish that were produced and released in hatcheries.
It is believed by those who study salmon that on-going improvements in habitat has played a role in the increased numbers of returning river salmon. An example of improvements is the change in the pratice of releaseing water from dams without regard to the impact on the salmon. There was a belief that salmon eggs were washed away be the irregular release of water, or the reduction of flows would lower water levers and expose the eggs.
Once the water utilities’ became aware of the problem, they changed the flow rates and timing to lessen the impact to the spawning areas.
All good news for the salmon, and for all those who eat them.