-- REPORT #1 FOR JULY 6, 2016 --
INTRODUCTION: With weekly updates, The Hot Water Report 2016 will track water temperatures, salmon survival and climate related impacts in the Columbia-Snake River Basin this summer. The report will be updated weekly - published here every Tuesday - from early July through the end of September. Each week we will share the most recent temperature data from the Columbia-Snake Rivers, news stories on climate change and current conditions for rivers and fisheries, and share information on actions state and federal agencies and our communities can take to ensure safer, healthier rivers for salmon and steelhead. We will include first-person accounts from anglers, guides, scientists and citizens on the Columbia-Snake rivers this summer.
SPRING-SUMMER 2016 WATER TEMPERATURES AT 4 LOWER SNAKE RIVER DAMS
The graph above reflects water temperatures recorded in the lower Snake River reservoirs. The blue-toned lines reflect the average daily mean temperatures in each of the four reservoirs collected in the last 1-8 years, beginning on April 1. The red-toned lines reflect the 2016 daily mean temperature at each of the four lower Snake River reservoirs since April 1. As one can see, this year's daily mean water temperatures are frequently considerably warmer than the average daily mean temperature collected over the last 1-8 years.
SPRING-SUMMER 2016 WATER TEMPERATURES AT 4 LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER DAMS
This second graph above reflects water temperatures recorded in the lower Columbia River reservoirs. The blue-toned lines reflect the average daily mean temperatures in each of the four reservoirs collected in the last 1-20 years, beginning on April 1. The red-toned lines reflect the 2016 daily mean temperature at each of the four lower Columbia River reservoirs since April 1. Like the upper graph, this one also reflects consistently higher water temperatures so far this year, when compared to average daily mean temperature based on data collected over the last 1-20 years.
Further, for the first time this year, water temperatures on the lower Snake River have exceeded 68 degrees - in the reservoir behind Little Goose Dam. Salmon and steelhead begin to suffer harmful effects when water temperatures exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The longer temperatures remain above 68 degrees and the farther the temperatures rise above 68 degrees, the more severe the effects, including: increased metabolism/increased energy usage, increased susceptibility to disease, reduced fecundity or reproductive potential, and death.
Temperature data included in these reports come from the USGS Current Conditions for Washington State.
THIS WEEK ON THE RIVER: On July 4, the New York Times published an editorial - The Salmon's Swim for Survival - lauding two landmark court victories concerning wild salmon and healthy rivers in the Northwest. First, the newspaper celebrated Northwest Tribes winning a case requiring Washington State to fix fish barriers in order to honor the Tribes' treaty rights. Second, the editorial heralded federal Judge Michael Simon opinion throwing out the agencies’ illegal Columbia-Snake Biological Opinion (Salmon Plan) and requiring a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Judge Simon agreed with fishing and conservation groups (joined by the Nez Perce Tribe and State of Oregon) that, among other things, the agencies did not address climate change impacts in their failed plan. He strongly urged the agencies to consider dam removal as the most ecologically and economically sound alternative for protecting and restoring salmon in danger of extinction.
We agree that dam removal is key to providing safe access for wild salmon and steelhead in the lower Snake as water temperatures continue to rise this century.
LINKS TO 2016 HOT WATER REPORTS AND OTHER RESOURCES:
HOT WATER REPORT 2016: #1 - July 6
SELECT 2016 MEDIA COVERAGE, REPORTS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS
MEDIA: Steps Taken To Cool Warming Lower Snake, Reduce Thermal Blocks As Large Basin Sockeye Return Heads Upstream (Columbia Basin Bulletin, July 1, 2016)
MEDIA: Columbia Basin Salmon/Hydro Managers Gear Up For Another Hot Summer: Will Sockeye Get Slammed Again? (Columbia Basin Bulletin, June 2016)
MEDIA: Middle Fork could regain role as salmon nursery (Idaho Mountain Express, May 27, 2016)
LAW: N.W.F et al v. N.M.F.S. - U.S. District Court Opinion rejecting the federal salmon plan for Columbia and Snake river salmon and steelhead (Note: The Court's lengthy discussion of climate change begins on page 86. May 4, 2016)
MEDIA: Last year’s heat wave doomed nearly all Okanogan sockeye salmon (Seattle Times, April 13, 2016)
REPORT: Data Request Drawing Down Lower Granite Reservoir to Better Meet Water Quality Standards for Temperature (Fish Passage Center, June 2016)
SELECT 2015 MEDIA COVERAGE, REPORTS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS
MEDIA: Preliminary 2015 Spring Juvenile Survival Estimates Through Snake/Columbia River Dams Dismal (Columbia Basin Bulletin, October 23, 2015)
MEDIA: Dead Salmon, climate change and Northwest dams (Seattle Times Guest Opinion, August 2, 2015)
MEDIA: Snowpack drought has salmon dying in overheated rivers (Seattle Times, July 25, 2015)
MEDIA: Biologists bring sockeye into Idaho on trucks to get them out of hot water (Idaho Statesman, July 2015)
REPORT: Restoring Wild Salmon: Power system costs and benefits of lower Snake River dam removal (NW Energy Coalition, August 2015)
SELECT PRE-2015 MEDIA COVERAGE, REPORTS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS
REPORT: Bright Future: How to keep the Northwest’s lights on, jobs growing, goods moving, and salmon swimming in the era of climate change (NW Energy Coalition, 2009)
REPORT: A Great Wave Rising: Solutions for Columbia and Snake River Fish in an Era of Climate Change (SOS, NW Energy Coalition, Sierra Club, 2008)