Eel River wild salmon decreasing

Published: Sunday, Jul. 13, 2014 - 11:07 pm

Re "Beautiful river, growing thirst, looming battle over the Eel River." (Forum, July 6): As a resident of the North Coast, I appreciated the article about the Eel River. Historically, this river supported two million fall and spring-run Chinook salmon. For thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, salmon, steelhead and lamprey were important food supplies for Native Americans and strict regulations were in place to protect the river and its fish.

In 1900, two dams and a diversion tunnel were constructed which separated salmon from 150 miles of spawning habitat and decreased flows to the estuary while logging and mining filled the river with sediment. Today, spring-run Chinook are extinct and fall-run Chinook have decreased to 30,000.

Loss of wild salmon is a problem throughout California, as 94 percent of their spawning habitat has been destroyed. This is something for all California residents to reflect upon.

-- Michael Lee, Sebastopol

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