Unusually warm waters in the Columbia River Basin have prompted federal officials to invoke measures to help migrating fish survive the hostile conditions.
A federal plan to protect endangered salmon and steelhead has contingencies for drier, warmer years. That includes the release of cooler water from upstream reservoirs.
So far, extra water has been released from reservoirs in Canada, Montana, and Lake Roosevelt in Washington.
Ritchie Graves is with NOAA Fisheries. He says the Salmon River in Idaho has been at near-fatal temperatures for sockeye salmon. Managers have started trucking fish to hatcheries in Boise to keep them out of the warm water.
“This is just a rough condition for fish everywhere in the basin,” says Graves.
That includes pretty much all watersheds throughout the Northwest. Environmental groups are calling for salmon and trout fishing closures in all West Coast rivers that are warmer than 64 degrees.
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