Sockeye

Sara Simmonds / Idaho Fish and Game

The first two sockeye salmon to make it home from the Pacific Ocean in 2017 have arrived in the Stanley Basin. It’s a rough year for the fish.

Idaho Fish and Game

Record snowfall in southern Idaho has communities on edge as reservoirs and rivers fill with water. Flooding is also threatening an endangered species of fish.

The threatened fish hatchery sits along the Boise River near Eagle Island State Park, which is above flood stage due to snow and rain. Idaho Fish and Game officials say rising waters could reach electrical pumps used to keep the salmon alive.

Jerry McFarland / Flickr

Three environmental groups and two commercial fishing advocacy groups say they will file a lawsuit against the federal government over heat-related fish kills in the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest.

The groups on Monday sent a 60-day notice of their intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for what the groups say are violations of the Clean Water Act.

The groups say 250,000 adult sockeye salmon died in 2015 due to high temperatures in the Columbia River and lower Snake River.

Roger Phillips / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

It was a bad year for endangered sockeye salmon making their way home on the Columbia River. Unusually warm water in Northwest Rivers this summer killed off most of the returning fish. But quick action by fish managers means the few that survived could produce a record number of smolts.

This year was supposed to be a record run, with 4,000 fish headed home to Idaho from the Pacific Ocean. But in early July, water temperatures heated up in the Columbia system and the fish started to die off.

Jerry McFarland / Flickr

More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries due to warming water temperatures.

Federal and state fisheries biologists say water that is 5 to 6 degrees warmer is wiping out at least half of this year's returning population of the cold-water species.

Ritchie Graves of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says up to 80 percent of the population could ultimately perish.

Officials are trying to cool flows by releasing cold water from selected reservoirs.

Jerry McFarland / Flickr

Federal authorities have released their final recovery plan for Snake River sockeye salmon, a species that teetered on the brink of extinction in the early 1990s.

Authorities say the plan released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will create a self-sustaining population of sockeye over the next 50 to 100 years.

The run was listed as endangered in 1991, kicking off a hatchery program that at first had only a handful of returning fish to propagate the species.