Tag Archives: El Nino

Advocating

Advocate: a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a cause.

Yup, I’ve been doing a lot of that this past several months.  I can’t pinpoint exactly what triggered it for me, but it happened.  Maybe it’s because I’m turning 50 this year.  Maybe it was something I heard at the Wild Steelheaders United kick-off meeting.  Maybe it was Dylan’s first steelhead – a 38″ wild buck from the Little North Santiam.  Most likely, it was a combination of the three that flipped the switch in me.  Whatever it was, it pushed me from lurking in the shadows into the full light of day.  I started reading studies, digging deeper and jumped head first into the world of advocacy.  I became a wild fish advocate.

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I learned the story behind so many great things that have happened in the past few years – dams being torn down, reforms in hatchery programs and harvest methods, agriculture and forest practices revisions, etc. etc.  Everyday people have been fighting these battles for years, behind the scenes, to effect change and I’ve been mostly oblivious to it.

I’ve been constructing a soap box and testing it’s stability.  I’ve made some bold statements about hatcheries, hydroelectric power, the logging industry and more.  I’ve attended meetings, spoke at a few, went to film screenings, made donations to specific groups and withdrew my support from others.  I’ve put my money where my mouth is.

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Perfect Storm is Brewing

If you haven’t seen the movie “Perfect Storm”, I recommend you rent it, stream it, etc.  It’s a good flick about some commercial fisherman on the eastern seaboard that get caught out at sea when two major storm systems collide.  But this isn’t about the movie.  The storm I’m talking about is coming our way in the form of the current drought and the forming of an El Nino in the Pacific.

Sea surface temperature during an El Niño event.

This link to NOAA Fisheries site has some great information about El Nino conditions that I won’t detail here.  Let’s just suffice to say that it’s bad news for Pacific Salmon and Steelhead.  El Ninos occur pretty regularly.  Warmer water than normal moves up the coasts of South, Central and North America and impact all inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean – from the bottom of the food chain to the top.  The El Nino forming now is expected to be very strong – one of the warmest in the past 50 years.  For Salmon and Steelhead, it means less forage fish (food) and a condensed environment.  Generally salmon and steelhead experience reduced growth and increase mortality during an El Nino.

This is the rotten cherry on top of a crappy ice cream sundae.

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