WHITEPAPER: THERMAL STRESS SOLUTIONS FOR SALMON RUNS
ROLE: AUTHOR, EDITOR, CREATIVE LEAD
When you set out to discover ways to bring together scientific research and engineering in order to save the oceans in the face of the unfolding climate crisis, it’s important to start by remembering this: you can’t. You can’t “save” the oceans. They’re too big. And it’s not just their size that prevents them from being able to be saved in one fell swoop – but also that the problems unfolding within them are far too numerous.
But out of this dire-seeming truth emerges a sort of organizing principle: start small and start local. Where I live, due west of Seattle across the Salish Sea, the marine ecosystem is incredibly rich with life, most of which is beset by problems ranging from ocean acidification to food supply.
Up and down the west coast, Pacific salmon are embedded in the culture and geography and heritage and the economy. Major salmon runs from California to Alaska are teetering on the edge of the abyss – but the good part of that bad news is that they’ve been teetering for long enough now that there are state and federal organizations devoted to studying the problems facing salmon.
While developing and testing the efficacy of a piece of targeted ocean restoration technology means dealing with governmental timetables and regulations that can seem almost expressly designed to thwart progress before it begins, with salmon, it’s different. With salmon, we get to stay in the rivers.
This whitepaper is an overview of the problems facing Pacific salmon runs and a high-level look at some potential methods for helping salmon survive heat stress.