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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:20am - 10:40am
The Impact of Unprecedented High Water Temperatures on The Columbia Basin Sockeye Salmon Run in 2015

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AUTHORS: Jeffrey K Fryer, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

ABSTRACT: Low snowpack and hot weather resulted in Columbia River temperatures exceeding 22 degrees for three weeks just past the peak of the third largest Columbia Basin sockeye salmon run on record. For weeks, the region was treated to pictures and videos of dead and dying sockeye salmon and speculation high water temperatures killed 90% of the sockeye run. The actual story is not as dire with respect to the migration through the Columbia River in 2015, but the implications for the future may be of even greater concern. Sockeye counts at Columbia River dams result in an estimated 54% mortality rate for sockeye on their upstream migration. However, preliminary data from the two primary spawning areas in the Okanogan and Wenatchee basins suggests mortality to natal areas may have reached 90%, although that figure includes significant harvest. With a warming climate and a future forecast of lower snow packs, the conditions sockeye salmon faced in 2015 may become more frequent in the future.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am EST
Grandview A