Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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Salmon decreases explained
Klamath River, Calif. — Agriculture, hydroelectric dams, algae, boating, fishing and a plethora of other assertions have been made regarding the decrease in salmon landings in California and Oregon since 1970. There is no doubt that salmon landings have decreased since 1970; however, science clearly shows that these cold water fish prefer cool water and will always migrate to waters that are more conducive for spawning.
First let us review the history of salmon landings in the Klamath Basin. In the California Division of Fish and Game 1930 report, Bulletin #34, it states that in 1916 there were 35,000 salmon counted and in 1922, after the dam was built, they counted 90,000 salmon returning to the Klamath. This could be explained in that the reservoir allowed sediments to settle out, supplying cleaner water for spawning salmon.
In 1970 the total landings of all salmon species in the Pacific Northwest was 195,000 metric tons and in 2007 the total was 403,000 metric tons. In the 70s, the total percentage of Salmon landed in Alaskan waters was 75 percent and in the 90s, was 95 percent. This clearly indicates that hydroelectric dams and hatcheries have done nothing but increase salmon landings in the Pacific Northwest. The scientific data indicates that the historic rise in temperature of the Pacific Ocean has driven these cold water fish north into cooler Alaskan waters.
Other aspects of lower salmon landings in California and Oregon can be attributed to the Endangered Species Act, protecting predatory seals, and the Caspian Terns in Oregon, gill netting across the Klamath and heavy commercial fishing off the coast. This article will not go into these specifics as ocean temperature rise is the primary factor.
No human activities have caused the decrease in salmon landings in California or Oregon waters.
Once again, agriculture, hydroelectric dams, algae, boating, fishing and a plethora of other assertions have been made regarding the decrease in salmon landings in California and Oregon since 1970 and are without any scientific evidence.
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Page Updated: Friday June 01, 2012 12:54 AM Pacific
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