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Half of Columbia River sockeye salmon dying due to hot water

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Photo: Travis Nelson, Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries due to warming water temperatures.

Federal and state fisheries biologists say water that is 5 to 6 degrees warmer is wiping out at least half of this year’s returning population of the cold-water species.

Ritchie Graves of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says up to 80 percent of the population could ultimately perish.

Officials are trying to cool flows by releasing cold water from selected reservoirs.

Experts say drought and record heat this summer are behind the high water temperatures.

Thirteen species of salmon and steelhead are listed as endangered or threatened in the Columbia River basin.

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2 comments

  • Jispher Askine

    “…And yesterday I saw you standing by the river,
    And weren’t those tears that filled your eyes,
    And all the fish that lay in dirty water dying,
    Had they got you hypnotized?

    And yesterday I saw you kissing tiny flowers,
    But all that lives is born to die.
    And so I say to you that nothing really matters,
    And all you do is stand and cry…”

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