So Few Spring-Run Chinook Salmon In Salmon River

Salmon River photo by Scott Harding/Wikimedia


While there are reasons to feel optimistic about salmon in Northern California, some of the reports aren’t as glowing.  The ironically named Salmon River, a tributary of the Klamath River in Siskiyou County, is barely containing any spawning Chinook. Per the Eureka Times-Standard,  just 106 adult spring-run kings were counted, which for the second straight year is considered the second-lowest number recorded after 110 in 2017.

Here’s more from the Eureka paper:

Teams of divers from various organizations, environmental groups, state and federal agencies and Klamath Basin tribes have surveyed the entire length of the nearly 80-mile river since 1995, with the lowest count occurring in 2005 at 90 fish — three years after the devastating fish kill on the Klamath River – and peaking at 1,600 fish in 2011.

Klamath Riverkeeper board member Nathaniel Pennington said that historically the spring-run salmon were found to have ranged into the upper Klamath Basin in southern Oregon — now blocked by hydroelectric dams — and once numbered in the thousands.

A 2017 report by UC Davis and California Trout found Klamath-Trinity River spring-run Chinook salmon were at critical risk of extinction within the next century if conditions continue.

Tribes and restoration groups now place their hopes in recent petitions to list the salmon run as an endangered species as well as in a pending project to remove four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River that block access to historic territory.