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Report: Global Warming “Heating Up” Need for Quick Solutions for Salmon

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Friday, March 28, 2008   

Portland, OR – Global warming is "heating up" problems for Columbia River salmon, according to a study released this week. Federal salmon recovery efforts may not work unless they include a plan to deal with the impact of climate change.

The report cites rising water temperatures, reduced snowpacks, and more rain in the winter, all of which make migration more difficult for salmon. Such conditions also endanger water quality, both for fish and people. Report coauthor Jim Martin is the former Chief of Fisheries for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says there are solutions available, but they will only be effective if they happen soon.

"Time is not our friend. If we dawdle around here, the salmon are not going to make it. We're going to end up explaining to our children what happened to the salmon, and we'll end up blaming the weather, when in fact, we have the ability to take action right now to ensure their survival."

Martin adds there is good news in the report –- with quick and comprehensive action, there is reason for hope for the future of Columbia River salmon.

"Really, this is all about solutions. This is all about taking action right now."

The report suggests the next NOAA Biological Opinion, the federal salmon management plan that includes the Columbia River, include better water flows, headwaters protection, and reopening migration routes to those headwaters. It also says the nation needs to fight climate change by cutting back on global warming pollutants. The next BiOp draft is scheduled for release on May 5.



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