In DepthConservation

Meager snows spell trouble ahead for salmon

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Science  17 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6232, pp. 268-269
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6232.268

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Summary

Warm winter temperatures in the mountains of the western United States this past winter sharply reduced the region's snowpack, which normally reaches its high point at this time each year. That snow typically serves as a vital water storage reservoir that is slowly released as the snow melts over the dry summer months. Without this snowmelt, stream flows are expected to drop sharply this summer, which in turn is expected to cause water temperatures to rise to a level unhealthy for migrating salmon. As a result, fisheries biologists expect a looming calamity for endangered salmon stocks this year.