Salmon are threatened by increasing water temperatures in the Queets River due to logging and glacier melt.
In the State of Our Watersheds Report, released by the treaty tribes in western Washington, the Quinault Indian Nation cites data from dozens of temperature monitors set throughout the Queets River. From the report:
Data analysis shows that 43 of 87 thermistors (49.4%) placed in this watershed in 2011 failed either the 12o C or 16o C criteria by at least 0.4o C. Another seven thermistors had 7-DADM values within the units’ accuracy specifications (+/- 0.3o C), for a total of 50 potential violations. In 2012, 40 of 58 units (68.9%) exceeded the standards. Another six thermistors had values within the units’ accuracy specifications, for a total of 56 potential violations. In 2013, 60 of 87 thermistors (68.9%) failed the standards. Another three thermistors had values within the units’ accuracy specifications, for a total of 63 potential violations.
These long-term trends can have devastating effects on salmon populations:
These potential violations are likely caused by forest practice activities and glacier loss. Insufficient accumulation of snow in the glacier during winter results in low spring flow of glacier water to cool surface waters in warmer summer months. Salmonid fish in general and bull trout in particular require cool and well-oxygenated water, and these widespread water temperature impairments will have an impact on fish production in the Queets River watershed.