Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
caused salmon die-off in
unusual combination of factors -- including a high
density of congregating fish, low flows, warm
temperatures and a delayed upstream migration --
sparked a disease epidemic that led to the loss of
more than 34,000 salmon and other fish in the
attributes the direct cause of death for most of the
fish to an outbreak of two freshwater pathogens, Ich
and columnaris. Both pathogens are commonly found in
·The large size of the fall run of Chinook salmon returning to the
·High densities of fish in the lower river, which allowed the pathogen outbreaks to spread quickly. Large numbers of fish congregated in the lower river one to two weeks earlier than normal, but a lack of rainfall or freshwater pulses left the fish with no cues to begin their upstream migration.
·Relatively low flow in the
·Hot weather, which left water temperatures higher than optimum for salmon.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams praised the scientists who prepared the report, which took more than a year to complete and was the subject of a rigorous internal peer review.
“Our team of
scientists conducted an exhaustive, multi-faceted
study of this loss of
which occurred from late September to early October
2002, was the largest loss of pre-spawning adult
salmon ever recorded in the
Most of the
dead fish – about 97 percent – were fall-run Chinook
salmon. About 2 percent were steelhead and 1 percent
were coho salmon. The lost fall-run Chinooks
represented about 19 percent of the total run of
nearly 170,000 fish in the
Both reports can be viewed or downloaded at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office’s Web site at http://sacramento.fws.gov/
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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