2019 – 2020 Steelhead Counts: Getting Worse

chart

The 2019-2020 Deschutes summer steelhead season is not over, but we are close enough to draw conclusions.  They continue to be dismal.  Steelhead start entering the Deschutes River on their one-way journey to spawn in late spring and early summer.  These “summer” steelhead may make it to their spawning grounds in a tributary far upriver as early as September or as late as April.  They have an amazing life story. Read More »

Warming Oceans Driving Whales Closer to Shore and Danger

Whale Entanglements

Here’s a story form NOAA Fisheries discussing increased whale entanglements in nets on the West Coast due to a warming Pacific.  The meat of the story is that “warm temperatures attracted subtropical species rarely seen in the region. The krill that humpback whales typically feed on grew scarce. The whales switched to feed instead on high concentrations of anchovy that the warm, less productive waters had squeezed into a narrow band near the coast”.  This has lead to a record number of entanglements.

Weather is not Climate

The Bulletin ran a story last week on the local snow pack which reminded me that I had not posted on this topic since last spring.  The winter is a little less than half over and so far the snow pack looks pretty good, but all is not well.  Weather is not climate, Oregon remains drier than normal, groundwater levels are going down, and we continue to allocate water based on 100 year old water laws which were written in a very different environment.  Keeping reading for more.Read More »

Capitalism to the Rescue?

Global warming is one of the topics I occasionally cover for the simple fact that it is impacting anglers in Central Oregon.  Our rivers and ocean are heating, fish are being impacted, and fishing closures due to heating are becoming more frequent.  The impacts on anadromous fish (salmon, steelhead) are the most dramatic, but they are only the canaries in the coal mine.  While our government continues to ignore this critical issue there is a growing awareness in many parts of the business community that action must be taken, and soon.Read More »

CTWS Comments on the HCP and EIS

CTWS Logo

I have read many of the substantial comments on the Draft Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan and associated Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  The comments from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs illustrate just how tangled an issue this is.  Like many others, the Tribes are extremely critical of the draft HCP and EIS, but in a unique way.  While most critical comments ask for more water more quickly in the upper Deschutes in the winter, the Tribes want LESS water than proposed.  Keep reading to understand why.Read More »

Good News, Bad News

The Blob 11.7.19A rare but welcome bit of good news is the hot water “Blob” off the Pacific NW coast has shrunk in size and moved off shore.  “Low salmon returns to many West Coast rivers in the last few years have been linked to the Blob, which reduced the availability of food when the salmon first entered the ocean as juveniles.”  The Blog is still huge, however.  “The question is, where does it go from here?”

But, are we simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?  Another scientific report was recently released stating that we are currently in a “climate emergency”.Read More »

It’s Past Time to Remove the Snake River Dams

snake river dam

The four dams on the Snake River are not in Central Oregon, but they have an enormous impact on Columbia River Basin (which incudes the Deschutes Basin) steelhead and salmon.  These iconic populations are currently on the path to extinction.  Recently, two tribes joined the chorus of voices calling for the removal of the dams.  Last week 55 scientists released a letter that did likewise.  Also last week, E&E News published another article detailing how these dams no longer make economic sense – hydro power is no longer cheap when compared to alternatives – and it would actually be cheaper to remove them than continue their operation.  I would love to see the same analysis of the PGE/CTWS dams on the Deschutes River.