Chinook Salmon Likely Not Affected By Wildfire Debris In Klamath River

Despite the devastation in the Klamath River Basin due to McKinney Fire debris entering the water, but there appears to be some good news. According to reports, the Klamath’s endangered spring-run Chinook mostly weren’t impacted by the debris.

Here’s more from Jefferson Public Radio:

Many were worried about the spring Chinook population, which are listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. But, representatives of the Karuk Tribe say it appears the species dodged a bullet. When debris flowed into the Klamath River, adult Chinook had already completed their migration to tributaries nearby.

“There were adult spring Chinook that had taken refuge in those side tributaries and had gotten out of the mudflow,” says Karuna Greenberg, restoration director of the Salmon River Restoration Council. The Salmon River feeds into the Klamath. She says they haven’t seen many dead Chinook in the area of the incident. 

While the salmon run was relatively unscathed, Toz Soto, fisheries program manager for the Karuk Tribe, says other species that did succumb to the low oxygen levels are just as culturally and ecologically important to the tribe as the Chinook.

Those other species included lamprey and suckers, so there’s still some tragic consequences to this unfortunate series of events.