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Memo to Northwest writers, reporters, editorialists, and columnists – Aug. 15, 2013

Columbia River temperatures over 70 degrees increase

From August 5 through 11, water temperatures were 70 degrees or higher 56 times at Columbia and Snake River federal dams passable to salmon, up from 45 times last week. Temperatures at The Dalles and John Day Dams have been 70 F or higher 18 straight days, and at week’s end temperatures were above 70 F at all four mainstem Columbia dams. At Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, temperatures have been above 70 F for 24 straight days. Total daily exceedances this summer have climbed well past the total number last summer.

This week’s specifics:

Forebay (above dam) Tailrace (below dam)

Bonneville Dam      
Aug 5    70.9 F    70.9 F
Aug 6    71.6 F    71.5 F
Aug 7    71.7 F    71.7 F
Aug 8    71.5 F    71.6 F
Aug 9    71.1 F    71.1 F
Aug 10  71.2 F    71.2 F
Aug 11  71.2 F    71.2 F

The Dalles Dam
Aug 5    71.7 F    71.7 F
Aug 6    71.6 F    71.8 F
Aug 7    71.3 F    71.4 F
Aug 8    70.9 F    71.1 F
Aug 9    71.3 F    71.3 F
Aug 10  71.4 F    71.5 F
Aug 11  71.4 F    71.5 F

John Day Dam       
Aug 5    71.4 F    71.3 F
Aug 6    71.2 F    71 F
Aug 7    71 F       70.9 F
Aug 8    71.2 F    71 F
Aug 9    71.4 F    71.3 F
Aug 10  71.5 F    71.4 F
Aug 11  71.5 F    71.4 F

McNary Dam       
Aug 8    70.1 F
Aug 9    70.1 F
Aug 10  70 F

Ice Harbor Dam         
Aug 5    70.1 F
Aug 6    70.3 F
Aug 7    70.7 F
Aug 8    70.4 F    70.7 F
Aug 9    70.4 F    70.7 F
Aug 10  70.3 F    70.6 F
Aug 11  70.3 F    70.6 F

These readings can seem repetitive, day after day after day. That is the point: every day of every month, climate change is now heating up the Northwest’s life-giving rivers.

You may have read or written last week about the Nez Perce Tribe’s blockade of tar sands-bound “mega-loads” crawling through the Tribe’s reservation and sacred lands despite their opposition.  Those mega-loads reached Nez Perce lands by being barged up the 70 degree Columbia and Snake Rivers, bound for the Alberta tar sands where their use will increase carbon emissions that in coming years will heat up the Columbia and Snake even further to 75 F or more. The Nez Perce get this connection even if federal agencies don’t. Thank you for examining rising Columbia River temperatures and what can be done about them.

Columbia-Snake temperatures are at http://www.fpc.org/tempgraphssl/NETFullYear_tempgraph.aspx
 
For more information, please contact:    

Joseph Bogaard, deputy director, 206-286-4455 x103, joseph@wildsalmon.org;      

Gilly Lyons, policy director, 503-975-3202, gilly@wildsalmon.org

 

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