Over the past few weeks Wet Planet has been proud to escort Rod Engle down the White Salmon River.
This man is no average whitewater rafting guest.
Rod’s work as a biologist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service in the Columbia River Gorge makes him one of the most excited individuals to be rafting down the White Salmon River right now. Rod and his guide have been counting salmon redds (nests) and dead fish (signifying that the fish has already spawned) in hopes of guessing how many fish will survive the removal of Condit Dam.
On Tuesday, they found around 70 new carcasses. Seeing so much spawning as a result of fish transport efforts throughout the month brings hope to biologists, fisherman, and river enthusiasts.
This particular run of Thule Chinook Salmon was important to the US Fish and Wildlife Service due to the timing of Condit’s removal. Swimming upstream in early fall (beginning of October), the redds from this specific species of migratory fish would have been completely swept away from the upcoming release of Northwestern Lake and the massive quantities of sediment released from behind the dam.
By taking extra steps to capture and transport fish upstream, a labor and time intensive activity, biologists hope to preserve the species for future generations of salmon.
Listen to Rod tell about this process and check out some beautiful footage of these incredible fish courtesy of The Oregonian.
Rod was also featured in Oregonian’s Sunday paper in a front-page article, Unleashing More Than a River, about those people most excited about the removal of Condit Dam.
Author Susan Hollingsworth writes for Wet Planet Whitewater, Canoe & Kayak Magazine, American Whitewater, and any other river-related publication she can find