Circle of Blue discusses how the Feds Propose River Temperature Limits to Protect Salmon in Pacific Northwest. EPA seeks to keep Columbia and Lower Snake rivers from cooking salmon. It won’t be easy, water experts say.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a long-awaited Clean Water Act proposal to limit water temperatures in one of the country’s largest river systems.
The limits, which apply to some 900 miles of the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers, in Oregon and Washington, are intended to protect endangered salmon and other aquatic species from overheating in waters that are exposed to several sources of thermal stress.
Actions to achieve the standards will likely center on operational changes at the 15 hydropower dams in the target area, as well as enhancements to cold-water flows from tributary rivers. These spots provide a cooling refuge for salmon moving upstream.
But bringing down water temperatures across such a large river system will be difficult, water managers in the basin said.