These Idaho Salmon May Hold Key to Survival

In less than 20 years, wild Chinook salmon may disappear. But one group nestled in Central Idaho’s rugged wilderness may be the key to the threatened species’ recovery throughout the Northwest.

Protecting salmon in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River will be especially critical for species survival, several scientists told the Idaho Statesman. Chinook salmon born in the crystal-clear waters of the Middle Fork might be able to adapt to climate change, researchers say, and if bigger threats like hydropower systems are removed, wild salmon could have a fighting chance.

The Middle Fork is the “crown jewel” of salmon habitat in the Northwest, Idaho Fish and Game fisheries biologist Tim Copeland told the Statesman.

“Those are the best populations,” Copeland said. “And if they can’t make it, none of them are going to make it.”

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