Pretty much all options are on the table this year for preventing another massive sockeye salmon kill in Idaho’s Columbia River, according to the Associated Press. In 2015, less than 15 percent of the salmon stocked in the river made it to the water bodies they were migrating toward.
Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considering a host of solutions for alleviating a fish kill if conditions heat up again. Some of these include using new, faster-updating temperature sensors to keep tabs on conditions in the Columbia River’s tributaries. These deliver much of the water to the river and scientists know that if they heat up, waters in the Columbia will soon follow.
Officials are also looking at more efficient releases of cool water from the Dworshak Dam, which could help to cool the Snake River, a tributary, if necessary. At the Granite Dam, managers have already begun withdrawing water from deeper in the pool behind Lower Granite Dam so that cool water can be used on the dam’s fish ladder.
There is also a push to set criteria for when emergency actions, such as capturing sockeye out of the Snake River for preservation, would begin to take place.