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California Fish Study Sends Warning to Oregon

November 21, 2008

San Francisco, CA – A California group is warning Oregon to take better care of its native fish populations. The fish and watershed advocacy group, California Trout, has released a study that says 65 percent of native salmon, steelhead and trout species in Oregon have less than 100 years before extinction, as a result of the poor conditions of rivers and streams. California is the southernmost range for some of these fish species, which also are struggling to survive in Oregon.

Californa Trout Chief Executive Officer Brian Stranko says Oregon waterways have the same challenges, too: water pollution; less water in rivers because it's diverted for other uses; and climate change, which is reducing snowpack and runoff, thereby increasing water temperatures.

"As our climate changes, Oregon and Washington will experience similar changes to what we're already experiencing here in California. The signs are not good. What it comes down to is, we need cold, clean water for fish. If we can provide that for fish, that's also good for the rest of the environment, and it's good for people."

The report says it's not too late to reverse the trends, however. It suggests a combination of solutions, including more funding for habitat protection and state Fish and Wildlife departments, some dam removal, and better practices for development and farming. For now, of the 32 native coldwater fish species studied in California, Stranko says, 14 are listed as threatened or endangered. One, the bull trout, is already extinct.

See the full report, SOS: California's Native Fish Crisis, online at

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR