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One thought on “Orcas hunting for salmon: Not worth the effort in Puget Sound?

  1. Applying the research to the field and honing the question to “what needs to be done to help the SRKW survive? the weight of the evidence says food shortages are impacting them disproportionately relative to either transients or NRs. I think that’s a safe enough assumption to commence immediate action to actually help them survive.

    Continuing down that process, it seems logical to look for the fastest possible ways to increase salmon presence within the SRKW’s known range. Dramatic hatchery increases have been proposed but there’s not a lot of margin for that scale of increase, especially if avoiding negative impacts on native salmon populations is considered. Wholesale predator culling also has limited prospects of preventing predation on the scale needed to provide substantially more Chinook or other fish that SRs eat without seriously depleting the prey base for transients.

    Myriad salmon habitat restoration projects, if funded above the 20% level currently appropriated, could substantially increase their overall food supply gradually over the next few decades.

    If access could be substantially improved for high-altitude spring/summer Chinook to and from the 5,500 miles of spawning streams in the Salmon and Clearwater basins upriver of the reservoirs that span most of the 140 miles of the Snake above the confluence with the Columbia, substantially more smolts would survive to the Pacific, and adults to the spawning beds, to increase the SRKW food supply by at least several hundred thousand adult fall, spring, and summer Chinook beginning within 3 years, greatly reducing their risk of suffering nutritional deficiency.

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