A comprehensive report in the Idaho Statesman this week highlights the impact climate change is having on salmon. Thinking about the future of salmon, it’s hard to be optimistic. Salmon are greatly at risk from the changing climate since they depend heavily on cold water. They cannot survive extended exposure to stream temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The “red” or sockeye salmon (pictured) are already extinct over much of their range largely because of warmer water in spawning and rearing streams.
While efforts to protect the salmon have been helpful –in fact it’s one of the luckiest endangered species when it comes to funding receiving, the species is in great danger unless it learns to adapt to warmer water temperatures. The impact that climate change could have on salmon is set to be devastating unless we can help them adapt to warmer climates.
“The only salmon that are going to survive the century mark are the ones in the large populations in the higher elevations that are still going to have snow and cold water,” said Jim Martin, a former chief of fisheries for the state of Oregon.