salmon | KUOW News and Information

salmon

The longstanding legal battle over maintaining dams and salmon in the Columbia River is back in court this week. On Tuesday, a new judge will hear arguments on the Obama administration's latest salmon plan.

A new federal recovery plan for Snake River sockeye salmon recognizes progress in rebuilding a species that nearly vanished in the 1990s.

It calls for moving into a new phase of recovery for Idaho's iconic fish – beyond preventing extinction.

Two Sea Lions Die In Trap At Bonneville Dam

May 2, 2015

Two California sea lions died in a trap this week at the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam after a door closed prematurely, confining them for hours.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Rick Hargrave said a veterinarian has determined the two sea lions were likely crushed to death by a 1,500-pound Steller sea lion that was almost three times their size.

With the door closed, the smaller sea lions were unable to hop out of the way. The incident took place sometime between Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning.

To some people, sea lions are smart, lovable creatures that shouldn't be harmed in any way. To others they're loud, destructive pests that need to be controlled.

As sea lion populations grow, both sides have gripes about how these hulking pinnipeds are being managed on the Columbia River.

In the Northwest, fisheries managers move salmon around dams using trucks and cannons. Why not a tunnel under the city of Seattle?
KUOW Illustration/Kara McDermott, Flickr Photo/Premshee Pillai (CC-BY-NC-SA)

The tunneling machine known as Bertha has been stuck beneath the Seattle waterfront since December  2013, stalling construction and racking up millions in cost overruns. 

One local engineering firm has a fresh idea for the fumbling tunneling project: Instead of moving Subarus through the heart of the city, the tunnel should be used by salmon. 

Tracking salmon as they move past Columbia River dams just got a little easier. Scientists are using a new tag so small that researchers can inject it with a syringe into the fishes' bellies.

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Army Corps of Engineers have been working with tags since 2001. This newest version is the smallest yet, about the size of two grains of rice. The older tags are three times heavier.

PORTLAND -- New research suggests sea lions are eating more salmon in the Columbia River than previously thought.

Data from tracking salmon over the past five years show a significant drop in survival below Bonneville Dam. Michelle Rub, a researcher with with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, says preliminary numbers show survival dropping from 90 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2014.

SEATTLE -- If you can’t take the heat… head to the poles. That’s what fish are doing anyway.

A new study published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science looked at historical data for more than 800 commercial fisheries around the world and found that fish are heading to deeper waters and higher latitudes as the world's oceans warm.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

As we bid the tourists adieu, we welcome back the cranes and construction.

Season 2 of Seattle’s waterfront development project starts Wednesday. It includes work from Colman Dock to the Aquarium, and holes in the ground already show the concrete face of the 1930s-era seawall, soon to be demolished. 

KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is on a salmon-buying binge.  It usually spends $6 million a year buying pink salmon. This summer, it is spending a total $39 million.

Going For Launch With The Salmon Cannon

Sep 24, 2014

WASHOUGAL, Wash. -- Salmon may soon have a faster way to make it around dams. There’s a new technology that’s helping to transport hatchery fish in Washington. It’s called the salmon cannon -- yes, you read that right.

First, let's set the record straight: there’s not really an explosion. But the salmon cannon does propel fish from one spot to another.

That was demonstrated Tuesday, when the salmon cannon transported fish from southwest Washington’s Washougal River to a nearby hatchery. The goal is to make the move easier on the fish, in three steps.

Biologists Try To Figure Out Large Fall Chinook Runs

Sep 23, 2014

Thousands of fall chinook salmon are swimming up the Columbia River every day right now. This year’s migration is expected to be one of the largest in recent years. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why fall chinook have made such a big comeback.

Salmon and steelhead restoration has been a big push throughout the Northwest -- from Puget Sound to coastal streams to the Columbia-Snake River Basin -- where fall chinook were nearly extinct by the 1960s.

Fisheries experts say the return of Chinook salmon to the Columbia River may not quite break records this fall as expected.

The Last Dam on Whychus Creek Slated for Removal

Sep 8, 2014

The removal of the last remaining concrete dam on Whychus Creek near Sisters, Oregon is slated to get underway following a ceremony on Monday.

The removal is a part of a larger campaign to restore the creek to a condition it hasn’t seen since the first dams were built there at the end of the 19th century.

The dam’s removal will reopen 13 miles of upstream spawning and rearing habitat for chinook salmon, steelhead, and redband trout.

The ongoing California drought has pitted wild salmon against farmers in a fight for water. While growers of almonds, one of the state's biggest and most lucrative crops, enjoy booming production and skyrocketing sales to China, the fish, it seems, might be left high and dry this summer—and maybe even dead.

Flickr Photo/KSI Photography (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about the projected sockeye boom in the Fraser River this year.

Federal Salmon Plan Heads Back To The Courtroom

Jun 23, 2014

It’s back to court for the federal government and salmon advocates. Conservationists Tuesday once again challenged the government’s plan to manage dams on the Columbia River to protect endangered salmon and steelhead.

Environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement Friday reinstating rules meant to protect salmon and steelhead from insecticides.

The agreement sets streamside buffers prohibiting aerial spraying within 300 feet and ground spraying within 60 feet of salmon and steelhead streams. The restriction applies to five different insecticides: diazinon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbaryl, and methomyl.

Flickr Photo/James Brooks

The other day I shared a table with some fishermen who were sure they were eating king salmon. The choice made sense: It's king season. King is very fatty, therefore delicious. And we were at a celebration at Fishermen's Terminal. So it had to be what some Canadians call Tyee, the chief of salmon, the king.

Northwest News Network/Taylor Winkel

Bill Radke talks with University of Colorado-Boulder law professor Charles Wilkinson, author of "Messages From Frank's Landing," about his friend and colleague, Billy Frank, Jr.

 Billy Frank Jr., a legendary champion of tribal treaty rights and Northwest salmon restoration, died Monday. He was 83 years old.

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

Courtesy Washington Forest Law Center

Washington state officials have postponed selling 250 acres of timber on steep slopes near the town of Oso.

KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

For young salmon and steelhead in the Lake Washington watershed, there is only one way to get to sea: through the Ballard Locks.

State wildlife officers trapped and killed six salmon-chomping sea lions at Bonneville Dam earlier this week.

The Columbia River will remain drawn down at least until June because of the cracked Wanapum Dam in southeast Washington.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Editor's note, 5/5/2014: Billy Frank Jr., who led the "Fish Wars" of the 1960s and '70s, has died. He was 83. Below is an interview with Frank, conducted in March by KUOW's Steve Scher and Arwen Nicks. We also featured Frank in a series on tribal fishing.

Billy Frank Jr. helped secure Indian fishing rights through protest and legal action in the 1960s and '70s. The 83-year-old Nisqually tribe member has been arrested about 50 times over the years; the first time was in 1945 when he was 14, for fishing.

A federal fisheries management panel has approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

In California, severe drought has imperiled millions of juvenile salmon who now face waterways too dry to let them make their usual migration to the Pacific Ocean. So state and federal officials are giving millions of salmon a lift — in tanker trucks.

Over the next two-and-a-half months, some 30 million Chinook salmon will be trucked from five hatcheries in the state's Central Valley to waters where they can make their way to the ocean.

The ongoing issue with the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is now creating a problem for migrating salmon.

Pages