Record Salmon Return to Northwest
Daily run surpasses previous years' total
On Wednesday, a record 41,000 sockeye salmon, a once-diminishing species, swam over dams to their spawning grounds in the Northwest’s Columbia River Basin. In 1995 the area saw fewer than 9,000 salmon total. Biologists ascribe the resurgence to improved dams, favorable ocean conditions, and restored habitat in the Okanagan River Basin, which drains into the Columbia River. More than 290,000 mostly wild-bred salmon have returned so far this summer, and biologists expect over 400,000 total. “Right now those fish are utilizing maybe a quarter of their historic habitat. If more habitat is restored, you could see a million fish coming back here,” said Joe Peone, fish and wildlife director for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation.
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