With rivers heating way above normal and falling to never before seen water levels, now is a good time to ocean fish. River salmon, steelhead, and trout are in serious trouble due to drought, lack of water-sustaining snowpack, and recent heat.
Today, the mighty Columbia River is 73 degrees and the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, went over 80 degrees. Both temps are too hot for good salmon survival. A 2004 chart at Willamette Riverkeeper notes "Instantaneous" death at 90 F and death in "Hours to days" at 70 F to 77 F.
Henry Miller, of the Statesman Journal, reported "Chinook salmon are more prone to disease, injury and stress when water temperatures rise above 60 degrees. At 70 degrees, the fish start to get into real trouble." In the same article, Tom Friesen, ODFW Manager of Upper Willamette Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Program, noted "we don’t [usually] see dead spring Chinook in the main-stem Willamette until mid-summer” but added "Fortunately, many of this year’s spring Chinook have already entered the tributaries, which should help ensure their survival." That is, if there is enough water for fish, their red dotted eggs, and offspring. In a worst case trend, life wouldn't be the same without salmon. Food, legend, initiation, family bonding, and sacredness of places and experiences in those places would be lost.
Before you pack up and move, consider the Pacific Northwest is ranked as a much better than average place to be during climate change, according to a study from the University of Notre Dame. The study notes, "Vulnerability to climate change is based on six factors: food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat and infrastructure. The readiness index is made up of three components: economic readiness, governance readiness and social readiness."
Climate destruction and social response are two main themes in my new book Industrial Oz forthcoming from Vermont's Fomite Press before the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December.
Regarding economic readiness, the global banking scandal of 2008 "almost brought down the world’s financial system" according to The Economist, leaving many governments and citizens in much worse shape to deal with climate disasters like droughts, heat waves, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Power drunk bankers and arrogant politicians in the face of climate change are like combining the Exxon Valdez with the Titanic, and hoping for a good ending.