‘We are going to run out of time’: Community rallies to save salmon

SPOKANE, Wash. — The extreme heat and long-lasting droughts are affecting nearly every aspect of life in the Pacific Northwest. It’s hard on people, but it’s also hard on wildlife who can’t sustain living in the warm temperatures.

Salmon thrive in cold water, around 55-64 degrees. However, the record-breaking heat is warming up waterways that are lower than normal. Some places have recorded temperatures over 70 degrees, severely hurting the fish.

“They’re getting lesions, fungus and it’s just heartbreaking to see,” said Carrie Herrman, Outreach Coordinator for Save Our Wild Salmon. “Fish, especially salmon, need cold water.”

Activists throughout the Inland Northwest in Washington, Idaho and Oregon met on Saturday to raise awareness about the ongoing issue and rally for change.

Biologists say salmon and steelhead have been on the verge of extinction for over 30 years. They’re worried one climate catastrophe could wipe the species out because they aren’t recovering even with billions of dollars going to help the species.

“They’re not going to live to be seen by the next generation,” Herrman said.

Salmon are an essential part to the recreational and sport-fishing communities, small businesses and local tribes. Orcas also feed on them.

“For the sake of the salmon, I think we’ve got to persist them, pressuring these politicians,” said Harvey Morrison who spoke at the event.

He says people should reach out to elected officials that they need to come up with a plan to address the decreasing salmon population. He’s also pushing for the removal of the Snake River dam, which he says heats up the water too much. These activists say the time to act is now because the salmon won’t be around forever.

“It’s very imperative to do it now because we’re in a crisis. These fish are facing extinction,” Morrison said. “They’ve been endangered for a long time and threatened. We are going to run out of time if we don’t do something.”

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