Monday, August 16, 2010
Giving Sockeye A River to Run
Save Our Wild Salmon, the Epicocity Project and the International League of Conservation Photographers have joined forces to tell the story of the Snake River's one of a kind salmon and the place they call home.
I wasn't sure I'd ever see sockeye swimming in Redfish Lake, but over the past few days, we've watched dozens released into the lake and even more swimming upstream to their rugged mountain home.
We've been up and at 'em every morning at dawn to hang out with the good folks of Idaho Fish & Game as they count, record and release endangered sockeye at Redfish Lake Creek just a couple miles from their final destination. After spending a few days with the team, it's impossible not to catch a bit of their excitement over this improved run...
More than 2,000 fish have cleared Lower Granite dam, the last of eight dams, on their way to Redfish — a marked improvement from only 4 fish in 2007. Salmon, if nothing else, are survivors. This summer's stronger return tells us that there's still hope for the world's most endangered salmon. Court-ordered spill and increased hatchery production, combined with good snowpack and ocean conditions, have done wonders for these fish. Now just imaging what could happen if the four largest obstacles in their path to recovery — the four lower Snake River dams — were removed...
While the legendary lake isn't turning red with sockeye this summer, we can see a bright splash of crimson from these iconic fish — a bright spot for all of those working so hard to save them. And we're here to tell that story. Stay tuned for more photos and stories from the field.
PHOTOS © Emily Nuchols