Salmon management plays a major role in keeping salmon in our rivers. The salmon living in Eugene’s nearby rivers have an effect on other ecosystems, commercial fishing, the economy, and habitats for other animals, from California up to Alaska, as well as playing a role in the culture of indigenous people.
Past construction of dams and levies, logging, and man made changes to the rivers have all caused detrimental affects to salmon and their habitats. River channeling and the construction of dikes and jetties began in the 1860s by the Army Corps of Engineers as a way to cope with the rapidly growing cities such as Portland, Spokane, and Salem, and to provide hydroelectric power.
Salmon of the Pacific Northwest now face extinction. Fishermen and consumers will see more GMO salmon, more hatchery raised fish and less wild salmon in the rivers and in stores. The trend of warming waters stresses the salmon population and increases pathogens, leading to die-offs. Droughts, such as the one the Columbia River is experiencing this year, in which an estimated fifty to eighty-five percent of the salmon will die, may essentially wipe out the salmon population.
I've spent two summers in Cordova, Alaska looking for wonder and adventure. I succeeded tenfold in the wild frontier. I watched eagles soar, shy otters play, and learned how to watercolor. I welcomed the cold, listened to the sound of rain falling on a tin roof and watched the weather change out in the bay. The turquoise blue glacial streams darkened with the spawning salmon left an everlasting impression on me. As an Oregonian, and the appreciation I have for the Pacific Northwest, it has come as no surprise that I consider Cordova, Alaska a home away from home.