The Pacific Northwest is home to hundreds of rivers, streams and
lakes. Unfortunately, some of the region's rivers have been polluted
with industrial and agricultural run-offs over the years. Some
rivers that once teemed with salmon and other fish are now barren.
With vigilant government intervention, the health of the rivers
in the Puget Sound - such as the Stillaguamish, Snohomish, and
Skagit - is improving and, as a result, the salmon population
is slowly increasing again.
north, British Columbia's Adams River - just 9 miles long - is
home to the densest population of sockeye salmon of any particular
run in the world. Every September, the Adams River turn crimson
as hundreds of thousands of sockeye salmon make their way back
to their birthplace to reproduce, lay their eggs and die. Interestingly,
every fourth year, the returning salmon population swells to amazingly
high numbers. It is estimated that 2.6 million salmon visited
Adams River in 1990!
of fertilized eggs mean a new generation of sockeye salmon, but
they also mean an annual feast of eggs and dying salmon for other
fish and animals. Once spawned, the small sockeyes must make their
way to the Pacific Ocean. During the dangerous journey, they must
dodge hungry seals, killer whales and commercial fishing nets.
few that survive the ordeal swim into the open seas and return
fully grown three or four years later and repeat the same journey
their parents made up the Adams River. However, poor logging practices,
industrial waste, urban and suburban development, runoff from
farms and yards, wasteful water use and climate change all threaten
the health of our rivers and endanger the lives of the salmon.
on how with the loss of species diminishes humans'
connection to the world around us.
Fuerstenberg, the senior ecologist for the King County Department
of Natural Resources, has been analyzing why so many of western
Washington's rivers and streams no longer support wild salmon
runs. Fuerstenberg cites human development as the primary source
of the rivers' decline in wild salmon and other wildlife. As our
rivers and streams become more contaminated or altered, many species
face a drastic decline in their population, or even extinction.
Visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/animalsAndPlants/salmon-and-trout.aspx to learn more about the salmon migration in the
tides are up on
Tatoosh Island on
the Olympic Peninsula!
groundwater is polluted, it can remain that way
for several thousand years!