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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 09-19-2012, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

Yeah Casey, it looks like the Snow River drainage will be getting a big rain over the next 36 hours pretty much continuously. When you think about the Trail River and Lakes and the Snow all dumping into Kenai Lake........ It's just a matter of time before things are ugly even for the Kenai crowd.

Did you read my last post on here answering Dave? Pretty grim stuff in the big picture.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

i did ard.
the consequences of displaced salmon redds and salmon fry as well as the loss of valuable nutrients via spawned salmon flesh would certainly effect an entire ecosystem.

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Old 09-20-2012, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

I had always wondered about this when it comes to our small local streams. This is obviously alot heavier as the entire ecosystem in one way or another relies on salmon. Man Ard I'm sorry to hear this, have you speculated as to what next season holds or is it far to early to make any predictions as to fish and wildlife health?
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

30 years ago in my province, the waters ran deeper, cooler and were more open. The bottoms were more gravely, and fish populations more abundant.

Now our natural Atlantic salmon runs are almost extinct (there is a stocked population that runs but they are weaker and more susceptible to disease and other issues.)

Many rivers, streams, and estuaries are choked with silt, from run off and filled with nitrates, fertilizers, algae, weeds and other oxygen eating nutrients caused by estuary muscle farming, or agricultural practices. This has caused many rivers to turn anoxic making things even more difficult for fish species.

Plus the mean seasonal temperatures have risen and warmer waters have caused more problems.

Finally, we suffer devastating fish kills annually now. The poor trout and salmon won't have a chance at this rate. So yeah, things could be a lot better at this end too!!
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

Quote:
Originally Posted by wt bash View Post
I had always wondered about this when it comes to our small local streams. This is obviously alot heavier as the entire ecosystem in one way or another relies on salmon. Man Ard I'm sorry to hear this, have you speculated as to what next season holds or is it far to early to make any predictions as to fish and wildlife health?
I saw plenty of these type events in the tightly folded mountains of Northern Pennsylvania over the years Bill. As you can imagine flooding has a negative effect on any stream and depending on each individual watershed the rebound time differs. One of the worst things I personally monitored was the occurrence of anchor ice in nearly all of the Francis Branch of Slate Run many years ago. Low water throughout the fall resulted in a drought like condition going into winter. This calamity was followed by a dry winter with virtually no snow covering the ground or stream. Now enter the destroyer; sub zero temperatures that caused the shallow areas including almost every tail out and their gravel beds to freeze deep into the stream bed. The little stream holds a population of brook trout with a spattering of wild brown trout. Both of these species are fall spawner's, and of course they use the shallow upwelling current flows at the tail outs of the deeper runs for the nesting process. I hiked from one tail out after another using a large camp axe to chop through the thin ice revealing the frozen gravel extending below. As the years and fishing seasons went on after that winter it became increasingly obvious that there was a 'hole' in the generations of fish in the branch most likely caused by the freezing of the spawning beds.

Flooding I presume can produce one of these 'holes' in the generational sequence of trout that could be recognized in a stream if you keep records of your fishing on that stream. With indigenous species like trout a loss of young of the year in any degree can be sustained due to the fact that not all of any given years young will perish. In each season following a flood or anchor ice event there will be adult and sub adult survivors. This is in large part due to the fact that trout have relatively long lives and are programed to survive such events as adults.

Regarding Salmon: The problem here is that one can not look to next spring as any measure of what may or may not happen as a result of severe flooding this fall. The species in question enter the rivers as adults in 2012 and by fall have completed the spawning. The eggs from that spawn will not mature into the alvin stage until early spring / spring. Once the alvin have reached the fry stage and left the gravel where they hatched it will take anywhere from 2 - 6 years (depending on species) for any adult examples of that 2012 spawning to return to their natal rivers or creeks.

The larger the river the better the chance for survival during a flood. In the case of fish that spawn in smaller creeks, depending on the gradient of the creek bed they may not be so lucky.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

So, and this is total speculation so bear with me, could a year like you've been having with poor returns be the result of flooding somewhere in the past decade's timeline? Or would offshore conditions be a greater factor in the number of returns?
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat;

Somewhere in all that I wrote on the entries here, I hope I mentioned the flooding of 2006. In September of 2006 we had a bad one. Homes were lost, bridges along the Parks Highway were taken out and I believe the Copper River took out the Million Dollar Bridge that year. Seldom would you hear about these events in the news down in the lower 48, chiefly because of the lack of population density here. Even a major flood does not displace tens of thousands the way one would in say,........Missouri, or Pennsylvania.

I do suspect that the 2006 flood had at least a hand in the poor king returns, 2011 & 2012, in this part of Cook Inlet. Since the life cycle of king salmon would have them returning as adults on the 5th or 6th year after they were deposited as eggs in the gravel of a river here.

The rivers I have visited in the past few days are remote. Even if they are crossed by a road, once you move a few miles up or down river from the bridge you are in a place forgotten by many, remembered by few. Although it will be painful to see I'll try to get out either on foot or I'll take the boat out tomorrow and take some pictures.
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Old 09-21-2012, 10:40 AM
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Thumbs up Re: A Clear & Present Threat To Salmon;

By strange coincidence I was at the London premiere of a couple of movies about Atlantic salmon last night and there were two sequences that showed exactly what you describe Ard. One was with relation to parr killed by the floodwaters and dumped on the sandbars by the receding waters and the other showed a fish of about 7lb that had become stranded in a pool of water up and away from the main river channel. Luckily for that fish the angler in the film stepped in and it was quite a hilarious clip as he must have tried a couple of dozen times to grab it by hand before finally catching it. Once carried and recovered in the main current it swam away strongly and probably very thankfully.

Thanks for writing such a well-reasoned and worded piece - a great discussion starter as this thread shows. I hope your local rivers are able to recover but as you say the timing could not be worse sadly.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat To Salmon;

Hi Paul,

At this time, (Friday 9/21/2012, 10:00 AM) there is flooding from where I live outside Wasilla as far north and west as Paxson / Valdez, and going in the other direction to Seward, Cordova, and the entire Kenai River drainage. A very large area of South Central, and I have left many places off the list. the town of Talkeetna is evacuating the east side as the Talkeetna River is creeping into the town and surrounding homes and businesses to our north. The sun is shining through the loft window into my eyes as I write but this is the first break in the heavy rains since last Thursday evening, a little over 7 days of deluge.

My own plans (since I will not be fishing) are to wait for the rivers to recede and then launch the boat taking with, a nice long handled steelhead size net with rubber bag and my seine net for fry & parr size fish. I am only one man but will find every one of the fish that I can on my home river returning them to the main channel.

I'll have the new little pocket camera with and will post pictures when this begins.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: A Clear & Present Threat To Salmon;

what little "pocket camera" is that ard?
i love small cameras

casey

Canon Powershot SD1200 Casey, $50 eBay special
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