Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
1. Salmon Week in Washington, DC, Celebrates the Wild Salmon of Bristol Bay
This week, 26 restaurants in Washington, DC and Wegmans locations in Maryland and Virginia will feature wild sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska on their menus and in their aisles. They are participating in the inaugural Bristol Bay Salmon Week, sponsored by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRDSA). AS you know, Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska is home to the world’s most prolific commercial wild sockeye salmon fishery, responsible for producing more than half of the sockeye sold worldwide.
2. How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’
Writing in The New York Times, Jim Robbins describes the salmon stocks of the Columbia River basin as being “in free-fall.”
Standing alongside the Salmon River in Idaho, Mr. Thurow considered the prospect that the fish he had spent most of his life studying could disappear. “It’s hard to say, but now these fish have maybe four generations left before they are gone,” he said. “Maybe 20 years.”
The number of spring-summer Chinook in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River is just 3% of what it was in the 1950s, a situation mirrored in other parts of the watershed. The old problems of spawning-run-blocking dams is now compounded by warming waters. The future of these fish may be determined by what we do about these problems in the near term.
3. Fish-friendly construction aims to help threatened Nevada trout
The Lahontan cutthroat trout was once thought to be extinct, and one of the causes was a dam built in 1905 for irrigation to “make the desert bloom.” A new fish screen installed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is part of a $23.5 million fish-passage project to help Lahontan cutthroat trout navigate the Truckee River’s Derby Dam, about 20 miles east of Reno.
4. The Summer of Fire and Ice in Alaska is Cause for Concern
Alaska’s incredibly warm summer of 2019 may have far-reaching ramifications, according to biologists. As the report above by CNN’c Bill Weir makes clear, wildfires and melting glaciers in the Last Frontier should be of concern for folks in Miami.
Writing in Hakai Magazine, Nick Rahaim details the dire effects of high water temperatures on Alaska’s migrating salmon:
[I]n the nearby Igushik River, the water was even warmer. One hundred thousand sockeye salmon waited for cooler conditions so they could move upstream to spawn. But, unwilling to pass through the hot, shallow water, the fish used up the available oxygen and suffocated—it was the largest sockeye salmon die-off seen in Bristol Bay . . .