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Reframing the Clean Water Imperative for Pacific Salmon Recovery

December 1, 2022 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Learn more and sign up at https://alumni.wwu.edu/event/reframing-clean-water-imperative

A Speaker Series: Toxicology and Societies
The Impacts of Chemicals in Our Lives
Brought to you in partnership with
the Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
and the WWU Alumni Association

In western North America, many salmon and steelhead stocks remain at historically low abundances. For example, to date, none of the distinct population segments designated as either threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act have recovered to the point of de-listing, across the major river basins of California and the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, coastal patterns of human migration, urban/suburban/exurban growth, and associated development are accelerating. 

These changes in land cover and land use are increasing non-point source pollution to river networks and estuaries, particularly in the form of toxic runoff from the transportation grid. Motor vehicles are sources of thousands of distinct chemical contaminants, many of which remain unknown or poorly characterized in terms of impacts to salmonids (direct and indirect). Nevertheless, recent advances in technology (analytical chemistry, molecular biology, informatics, modeling) are rapidly restructuring how we think about the chemical dimension of salmon habitats. 

This presentation will revisit the long-held assumption that salmon need adequate supplies of cool, clean water to survive and thrive. Specifically, how a canonical understanding of “clean water” in the traditional spheres of salmon management (recovery, regulation, and restoration) can be expanded, to keep pace with recent and rapid advances in modern ecotoxicology.

More information about the speaker series is available here. All past Toxicology and Societies recordings are available here.