Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oregon fishing and climate change

Last weekend, TU 678 attended a training session put on by the National Wildlife Federation and NW Steelheaders. The event was aimed at training Oregon hunters and anglers to give presentations on climate change. Check out Upstream In Oregon for the full report. Here is the segment on coldwater fisheries:

Global Warming is causing more rain in the Cascades (less snow). Because of that extra liquid precipitation, the average snow pack has been shrinking by 30-60% since the 1950s. The Cascades are the lifeblood of our coldwater streams in the Pacific Northwest. On Mt. Hood, Sandy Glacier (source of the world-class steelhead fishery, Sandy River) has decreased by 50% in the last 50 years.

Steelhead and salmon need cold, reliable flows to survive — fish that are already fighting extinction from extensive dam systems. The hydro system is not going away in the foreseeable future. Climate change is going to be an accelerant on all of the problems these fish already face.

Recent average August/Sept Columbia River temperatures were 68-71F. In coldwater species, 70F increases fish stress. 75F is lethal. According to the IPCC, stream water will increase in temp 2.2-4.9 F, making 25-38% of coldwater habitat unsuitable