Monday, January 07, 2008

Oregonian, Weyerhauser address global warming and salmon decline

A lengthy article in this week's Oregonian illustrates how climate change will likely affect salmon in the Columbia River Basin. A lot of this isn't news if you've been following along with the National Wildlife Federation's Target Global Warming Campaign to get anglers and hunters fired up about the issue in Oregon.

These are the projections: Warming by the 2040s will turn rivers and streams across 20% of the Northwest, including much of the main Columbia and Snake rivers, lethal for salmon in summer. About 80 years from now, up to 40% of salmon habitat in Oregon, and 20% in Washington, will be too warm for salmon to survive.

But there is an unexpected voice amongst the scientific panels -- timber giant Weyerhauser. The Oregonian quoted Robert Bilby, an aquatic ecologist with timber company Weyerhaeuser and a lead author of a new scientific assessment of how global warming will affect salmon:

"We're talking about the survival of a cold-water fish in warming conditions," he said. Rising temperatures "potentially will make large areas of the Columbia Basin uninhabitable to these species in the not-too-distant future."

Ok, so what's Weyerhauser doing here? Read on: We may have to identify areas that are totally uninhabitable and not spend resources there. I don't think Weyerhauser is paying aquatic biologists out of altruism. They're working an angle, and it sounds like finding "uninhabitable" land to ease protections on is a potential motive.

No comments: