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Klamath Salmon kill

A combination of drought, drained marshlands, water diversions, and a recent stretch of warm weather caused Klamath river temperature to rise to the point that the salmon can't survive. Tens of thousands of salmon are dead or dying in the lower Klamath.
Klamath Salmon kill
Klamath Salmon kill
The weekend of September 21-23 I went to visit family in Klamath, California. The salmon had began their fall run, and the river was lined with Yurok fishermen and tourists. As we were wandering along the beach on Saturday, rumors of "someone dumping dead salmon" began to circulate. Within hours it became clear that in fact, the salmon were sick and dying in the river. A combination of drought, drained marshlands, water diversions (from the Klamath and tributaries), and a recent stretch of warm weather caused the river temperature to rise to the point that the salmon can't survive. The water is thick with algae and the salmon are succumbing to gill-rot (branchiomycosis). They are suffocating by the thousands. It appears the die-off began Friday. By Sunday the river had become a mass grave of dead and dying fish. We walked along a small stretch of river at Klamath Glen, about three miles up from the mouth. There were easily a thousand or more dead fish in that stretch alone. Some surviving fish were thrashing about the surface. Others were swimming listlessly along the banks. But most of the fish appeared to be doomed. Carcasses ranging from half-pounders to 30+ pounds line the banks. The channel floor is white with their bellies. The air is filled with flies and the stench of rotting flesh. One fisherman said the carnage was even worse a few miles upriver, at Blue Creek. No one can recall any such an event ever having happened before. Not even my 83 year old father-in-law, one of the last native speakers of the Yurok language, who was raised on the river. I have posted photos here: http://www.seastorm.com/salmon/salmon_kill_2002/ Also, I have some video footage which I hope to make available in the next couple of weeks. Email me for more info. Bush used the silence of certain environmental groups, and the distraction of war after September 11 to push through a series of damaging environmental legislation. I hope that that we have learned something about how his administration operates and keep our attention on domestic and environmental issues as well as on international affairs.

homepage: homepage: http://www.seastorm.com/salmon/salmon_kill_2002/