Credit Where Credit is Due

Jake

I have been a frequent critic of the US Fish & Wildlife Service over the past few years, and will continue to be if the HCP is not improved, but they did something good this past week.  As I posted here, the Bureau of Reclamation had planned to stop all flows out of  Crane Prairie Reservoir in the upper Deschutes on October 30, draining it dry down to  Wickiup Reservoir.  USFWS got them to keep a flow of 20 cfs to provide some minimal protection for endangered species.  This will also protect fish like the one in the photo above that was caught in that reach.  Of course, this begs the question, why did the BoR plan to drain it dry in the first place?

 

Bureau of Reclamation Plans to De-Water Part of the Upper Deschutes

Jake

The Bureau of Reclamation plans to stop all water flowing out of Crane Prairie Reservoir for up to 8 hours later this month, tentatively on October 30th, de-watering the Deschutes River for about 1.5 miles down to Wickiup Reservoir.  This is to perform an inspection of the dam.  It  will also kill a section of the river that is important for spawning and holds some nice fish.  See the photo above of my friend Jake with a nice brown trout from this stretch.Read More »

The Blob is Back: Update

I have written about the “Blob” in the past (most recently, here and here).  It is the much higher ocean temperatures in the North Pacific which have disrupted food chains and imperiled many historic fish runs.  An argument can be made that ocean heating is currently the most worrisome of all the conditions leading to the drastic declines in salmon and steelhead populations in the Pacific Northwest.  Here is the first part of a three-part article from NOAA discussing the Blob.  Below is a graphic showing the re-emergence of the Blob this year.  It could be worse than the original one, it already has more area of the most extreme warming, and is still forming.

The Blob

More on the Outlook for Salmon & Steelhead in the Columbia Basin

9.20.19 Steelhead CountSource: www.fpc.org

Yesterday, the Bend Bulletin printed a guest column I wrote on the grim outlook for steelhead and salmon in the Columbia Basin (including the Deschutes River). Above is a graphic that illustrates the problem. Here’s a NY Times article on the same topic. Whether some of these fish have 10 years left as I have read in some places, or 20 as reported in the NY Times, it is not a hopeful picture.

 

Fire’s Positive Impact on Fish Habitat

George Wuerthner is one of the most interesting ecologists and activists I have met, and certainly the most prolific writer.  He has written dozens of books and many more articles on wildfire, predators, and the environmental impact of ranching, along with water and fishery issues.  His views are often controversial, especially regarding fire, but compelling when carefully considered.  In short, George believes that forest thinning does not help catastrophic wildfire control.  He argues we should focus on creating fire resistant buildings, establishing defensible borders, and leaving forests alone.  The explanation for this is beyond the scope of this post, but here’s a video he sent me on the beneficial nature of fire in stream and river systems.  It’s worth a quick view.

Another Warm Water Blob is Forming

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported yesterday that another warm water “blob” is forming off the Pacific Coast.  This blob is likely to be as large as the last one which collapsed much of the food web that many cold water marine species rely on.  “Scientists expect the heat wave to hurt salmon populations and the fisheries that depend on them.”  Of course, chinook salmon and steelhead have not recovered from the last blob and returns this year in the Columbia basin (including the Deschutes) are at perilously low levels.