Declining salmon raise concerns about other species

Biologists worry about declines of salmon on Idaho’s Salmon River and throughout the Columbia River Basin. ©Bureau of Land Management

Researchers are worried about the future of Chinook salmon in the Columbia River basin, and their decline could threaten a range of other wildlife, from eagles to orcas. Chinook spawning in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho have plummeted from over 45,000 in the 1940s to about 1,500, the New York Times reports, and the numbers continue to drop. Orcas are likely declining as a result, biologists say, prompting calls to remove dams from the waterways. “An estimated 137 species rely on the surge of protein brought upriver by millions of fish each year,” the Times writes. State and federal officials have used hatchery-raised salmon to try to replace the missing wild salmon.

Read more from the New York Times here. For more on the topic, and on the connection between wildlife and water management, check out the current issue of The Wildlife Professional.