salmon | KUOW News and Information

salmon

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

Salmon: 'Nature's Earliest Convenience Food'

Mar 13, 2014
Flickr Photo/cobalt123 (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with author Nicholaas Mink about the early days of salmon and how the fish changed the culture in the Pacific Northwest. His latest book is, "Salmon: A Global History."

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Anne Shaffer sits on the sandy shoreline of the Elwha River and looks around in amazement. Just two years ago, this area would have been under about 20 feet of water.

Flickr Photo/Eva Funderburgh (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Ryan Lothrop, recreational fishery manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, about forecasting salmon runs for the 2014-15 fishing season.

Lothrop said about 283,000 Chinook and 870,000 coho salmon are expected to return to Puget Sound this year.

The future is looking bright for fall chinook salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Predictions are in that this could be another record-breaking year for the fish.

Officials are predicting the largest return on record since 1938. That’s 1.6 million Columbia River fall chinook. Nearly 1 million of those fish will come from salmon near Hanford Reach. These are known as upriver brights, said Stuart Ellis, fisheries biologist with the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- For better salmon survival: be sure to keep salmon eggs and newly hatched fish under the water. Those are the key findings of a new study that says large numbers of fish survived when a Central Washington dam carefully controlled its water releases.

The study looked at an area of the Columbia River known as Hanford Reach, a 50-mile stretch in Central Washington along the Hanford site. It's one of the longest free-flowing areas of the river.

KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

You might call Barry Berejikian a steelhead stalker.

The government scientist’s pursuit of these anadromous trout has brought him to the deck of the Chasina, a research vessel that’s motoring through choppy gray waters of southern Puget Sound near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Munincipal Archives

You may have noticed that water levels at Lake Washington beaches are very low.

But if you think there might be some connection with the drought that is now gripping much of the western U.S., think again.

Pot vs Fish: Can We Grow Salmon-Friendly Weed?

Feb 3, 2014

As marijuana has become more mainstream, the business of cultivating the plant has boomed. That’s true nowhere more than in coastal northern California. There, the so-called Emerald Triangle of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties is believed to be the largest cannabis-growing region in the US.

But as the hills have sprouted thousands of new grow operations, haphazard cultivation is threatening the recovery of endangered West Coast salmon and steelhead populations.

A file photo of a member of Puget Sound's Swinomish tribe participating in a ceremonial salmon blessing. Northwest tribes hold vigils along the Columbia River to pray for the return of salmon.
KUOW Photo/Katie Campbell

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce has declared the Fraser River sockeye salmon run a “fishery disaster” for nine tribes and non-tribal fishers in Washington state.

Flickr Photo/Kitaro & Kawauso

Environmental groups are turning to the courts to block the placement of hatchery-reared fish in rivers where wild fish are struggling for survival.

Feds Stand By Current Dam, Salmon Plan For Columbia

Jan 21, 2014

The federal government is standing by its previous plans for managing the Columbia River to prevent the extinction of its salmon and steelhead. That means little would change for dam operations on the West's biggest river -- but only if it wins court approval.

For many users and advocates of marijuana, the boom in the West Coast growing industry may be all good and groovy. But in California, critics say the recent explosion of the marijuana industry along the state's North Coast — a region called the "emerald triangle" — could put a permanent buzz kill on struggling salmon populations.

University of Oregon

For years, museum conservators and paleontologists have yearned for a way to duplicate fragile fossils without damaging them. Now scientists with the University of Oregon say they have found a way to do just that, with the help of a relatively inexpensive 3-D printer.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Fish and wildlife departments in Oregon, Washington and Idaho release millions of hatchery-raised salmon and steelhead into the rivers of the Northwest every year.

But a growing body of research suggests that hatchery fish are semi-domesticated and weaker than wild fish. Hatchery fish have also been shown to interbreed with the wild fish and compete for food.

Fishermen around the Northwest are enjoying some exceptional salmon runs this autumn. Puget Sound is teeming with pink salmon and there's a record-breaking fall Chinook run in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Right now there are tens of thousands of salmon dying at the base of an outdated dam on the White River east of Tacoma in Buckley, Wash.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Leaders on salmon research and recovery from the United States and Canada came together in Seattle Wednesday to announce a new project.

It’s called the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, and it’s meant to address a major question: Why aren’t salmon and steelhead in Washington and Canadian waters recovering, despite the millions of dollars that have been spent on research and habitat restoration?

“We have a fairly clear idea of what salmon need and what they’re doing in the freshwater environment. We know considerably less about the marine systems,” said Jacques White, executive director of Long Live The Kings. The Seattle-based nonprofit is coordinating the effort along with the Pacific Salmon Foundation in B.C.

White says the project will focus on answering questions about what’s happening to salmon and steelhead when they leave the freshwater rivers and enter Washington’s Puget Sound and British Columbia’s Georgia Strait.

salmon swimming in a river
University of Washington Photo/Tom Quinn

Salmon travel thousands of miles out to the open ocean to feed and mature. Then after a few years they head home, back to the exact river where they hatched to spawn the next generation.

Scientists don’t fully understand how the fish find their way back, but a new study found that salmon could be determining their routes home by shifts in the earth's magnetic field.

Pages