Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dead river, dead fish

Hello Mr. Sturgeon, how are you today? (see photo at left) You're looking just about as fine and healthy as the Columbia River you call home.

We've dammed the Columbia, and perhaps damned this poor sturgeon and it's kin. Take a look at the sheer number of dams in the Columbia River basin (below right).

White sturgeon are not doing well in the Columbia River. One problem is toxic contamination that accumulates in the muck locked up behind the many dams. Sturgeon root around in the muck and eat muck-living critters and get the benefit of all that chemical buildup. Resulting in the kind of scene I saw on my vacation while trying to enjoy the river.

I paused a moment to take some pictures and mark the passing of this fine young 3 foot long sturgeon. Yeah, that's just a baby. A big one can be (are you sitting down?) 20 feet long, 1500 pounds, and well over 100 years old. I've seen pictures of huge sturgeon that were pulled from northwest rivers many years ago. Don't see many of those anymore.

Then it was back to windsurfing and remembering that it was not a work day. Dead river, dead fish, what do we expect?


Fish Whisperer said...

What a shame. Being from the NW originally I remeber hearing the stories of salmon so thick on the Columbia that the Indians could walk across the river on the salmon backs. Now I think you can count them on one hand.

Anonymous said...

Yet, there may be some hope for white sturgeon: Deal reached in effort to aid Kootenai sturgeon
Huge fish hasn't spawned since the mid-1970s

SPOKANE -- Environmentalists have reached an agreement with government agencies intended to help the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon spawn for the first time since the 1970s, the parties said Tuesday.

See for story: