When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

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JosiahSpurr
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When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

Post by JosiahSpurr » Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:34 pm

What do you say? L.A. Times has this story on today's front page (Dec. 4, 2020). I think we need to consider less driving and picking High Sierra locations closer to home, and parking closer to the main highways by practicing cross-country travel with significant elevation gain & return.

Here's the basics:

Scientists solve mystery of mass coho salmon deaths. The killer? A chemical from car tires
From left, researchers Jen McIntyre, Edward Kolodziej and Zhenyu Tian study the stormwater impacts on coho salmon in Longfellow Creek in the Seattle area.(Mark Stone / University of Washington)



By ROSANNA XIA
DEC. 3, 2020

"""When officials in Seattle spent millions of dollars restoring the creeks along Puget Sound — tending to the vegetation, making the stream beds less muddy, building better homes for fish — they were thrilled to see coho salmon reappear.

But when it rained, more than half, sometimes all, of the coho in a creek would suffer a sudden death.

These mysterious die-offs — an alarming phenomenon that has been reported from Northern California to British Columbia — have stumped biologists and toxicologists for decades. Numerous tests ruled out pesticides, disease and other possible causes, such as hot temperatures and low dissolved oxygen.

Now, after 20 years of investigation, researchers in Washington state, San Francisco and Los Angeles say they have found the culprit: a very poisonous yet little-known chemical related to a preservative used in car tires."""

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Dec 05, 2020 2:26 pm

If this cause is verified (more peer reviewed studies- for example is it tires per se or a toxic mix in highway runoff overall), the logical solution is to not use the pollutant in making tires. Another is proper drainage along roads (this is supposed to be part of road design). A lot of older roads lack proper drainage. I am also a bit leery of comparing the Pacific NW Cascades with the Sierra. I would also not draw a direct line between backpackers driving to trailheads and killed fish. The percentage of backpacker cars to the overall cars on any road is mostly minimal, barring a few cases. Nevertheless, we ALL, not just backpackers, need to evaluate our overall driving. But this will not be the major factor when deciding where I will backpack this summer.

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Re: When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

Post by BillyBobBurro » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:45 pm

This toxin really targets Coho but not so much other related species. The vast majority of impact to California Coho is going to happen due to non-tourist vehicle use. This is a usage that will be very difficult to curtail so maybe other solutions should be embraced. Should we be mind full of our impact due to vehicle travel, yes. But I suspect this issue will ultimately be resolved with a reformulation of tire ingredients .

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Re: When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

Post by Jimr » Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:31 am

I'd like to know what other creeks and rivers they studied. Longfellow creek is an urban creek that runs through a green belt in a very populated area. It also parallels a major hwy through the area for some length, then through a golf course. If these are the types of environs that are experiencing die offs, then I would consider it apples to oranges.
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Re: When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:35 am

An article was in our Sunday paper this morning, and it specifically addresses urban runoff along heavily used roads in the Seattle area, and well before the salmon get upstream much. Seattle gets a lot of winter rains every year and thus a lot of urban runoff into their streams. I have not heard at all if it would impact our salmon run here in Sacramento. The American River parkway pretty much protects the river from runoff. In two years out of over 20, flooding occurred and the huge runoff pipes were a full flow into the river. This year seems to be a poor spawn; I have seen few salmon on my walks along the American River immediately downstream of the fish hatchery, although the post-spawn stink has began- not very strong yet.

I do agree that this is a localized urban problem, but I do not feel it has much to do at all with driving to trailheads to backpack.

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Re: When we drive to the TH, we damage the fish!

Post by dave54 » Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:03 pm

Since very similar compounds are used in lug soles on trail boots, you could argue backpacking harms fish. :)
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