Luring salmon back to Seattle, Portland... and Paris! Yes, salmon are found to be in Seine
August 14, 2009
Joshua McNichols just produced an interesting story for Oregon Public Broadcasting about how scientists in Seattle, and business owners and others in Portland, are trying to lure salmon back to the city.
In Seattle, researchers are experimenting with roughening the surface of seawalls, creating nooks and crannies to encourage the growth of plants that help shelter tiny critters that feed young salmon. Those salmon pause at Seattle's waterfront while making the transition from fresh water to the Pacific Ocean.
In Portland, Mayor Sam Adams is pushing for a lower-tech solution: Planting trees and other vegetation at the waterfront. It's a strategy that's been tried with success in Seattle.
Making the transition zone through cities like Portland and Seattle safe for salmon is important work, says salmon expert Jim Lichatowich. He points out that the fish must pass through a series of well-functioning habitats to optimize the number that ultimately make it to the Pacific, and then return:
If you have three of those habitats that are degraded, and if through heroic efforts you fix two of those links, the chain's still broken. And it's really an important metaphor because it helps explain how we could spend so much money on salmon recovery efforts and get so little out of it.
(If you haven't read Lichatowich's Salmon Without Rivers, I suggest you do yourself the favor. Fascinating stuff.)
Out in the countryside, meanwhile, the Bonneville Power Administration is using one of its helicopters to fly over streams and measure their temperature by way of a thermal imaging camera, Tom Banse reports for KUOW. Again, it's crucial stuff, because waterways whose flow is slowed in the summer by too many water withdrawals by humans can grow too warm for the coldwater-loving salmon.
At times the success of longstanding efforts to restore salmon to the Pacific Northwest has seemed spotty, at best. And of course some runs have gone extinct. But news from the Old World this week suggests it might all be worth it. It seems that Paris -- yes, Paris -- has re-established salmon runs in the Seine.
This strikes me as incredible. As in, hard to believe. I mean, salmon were all but exterminated from non-Scandinavian Europe centuries ago by urbanization, I thought.
Not so. The wily salmon managed to hang on in the Seine up until sometime between World War I and World War II. In the last couple of years, salmon have returned to swim past the Eiffel Tower. Salmon that are coming upriver to spawn now are strays from other rivers where they never were completely extirpated.
Here's the even more incredible aspect of this: No one did anything specifically aimed at bringing salmon back to the Seine. No, all they did, according to a story by Emmanuel Angleys of Agence France Press, is clean up the water.
Wealth & Poverty | February 2013
“It was just common knowledge – when you turn 18, you’re done,” Sharayah Lane said. “After the checks stopped coming, we all went our separate ways."
End of the Line is a new series by Claudia Rowe asking what happens when teens get too old for foster care in Washington State.
Photo Credit: Jon Connell/Flickr
Environment | January 2013
Meet America's newest sharecroppers. Guys like Jared Bright who vie for control of the Pacific fishing industry's lower rungs, the only rungs that seem to be left. They don't own the halibut, not even when it lands in their boats.
Lee van der Voo uncovers absentee landlords, brokers and bankers, and fish quota that costs more than your house — realities that fly in the face of more official, rosy portrayals.
Health | November 2012
Kids with multiple sclerosis, historically an adult disorder, offer researchers a set of intriguing new clues about the disease that could lead, eventually, to better treatments.
With adolescent MS on the rise in the Northwest, Carol Smith meets a young patient who is learning to live with the disease at the age of 16, and the doctors and scientists trying to keep her healthy.
Environment | October 2012
In 1972, Congress enacted legislation to end water pollution. Forty years later, American rivers and lakes are still badly contaminated, and new threats to clean water are outpacing the Act's enforcers. Follow along as InvestigateWest and EarthFix investigate.
Environment | June 2012
As local governments trade away public parkland, the safeguards put in place by the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect that land are full of holes.
Public Health | January 2012
The Prescription Epidemic
As Washington enacts the strongest prescription drug law in the country, InvestigateWest presents a six-month investigation into the origins of the prescription epidemic, the challenge it poses for communities, and what lessons other states might learn.