Conservation efforts for California’s trout and salmon species are not showing any favorable results, researchers believing the two will become extinct in about 100 years due to severe degradation of habitat caused by climate change.
Three Fourths of California’s Salmonids Face a Grim Future
Biologists at UC Davis believe that almost three fourths of the total number of salmonid species currently occupying Californian waters are going to become extinct in the next 100 years. The team is concerned that if climate change and advanced habitat degeneration rates continue to grow steadily, about 32 native species of trout and salmon will disappear within half a century.
The species most at risk are the Central California coho salmon, the winter-run Sacramento River Chinook salmon, and the southern steelhead. Unfortunately, the bull trout is already considered locally extinct, the last specimen being spotted in Californian waters over 40 years ago. On the long run, experts believe the coastal rainbow trout will be the only one left swimming.
Dying Fish Are a Sign of a Polluted Environment
According to the study, a plethora of different factors drove local fish population near extinction. River water used for agricultural purposes, massive population growth, and extensive alterations to both the Delta ecosystem and the San Francisco Bay area combined with the global effects of climate change were enough to kill off dozens of fish species.
The fact that Californians will have to get their fresh trout and salmon from another state should be the least of the locals’ concerns. Salmonid species are known to inhabit clean, drinkable waters. When fish populations begin to dwindle, biologists look for pollution sources.
In this case, the degrading quality of Californian waers is a definite sign of a polluted environment no longer capable of sustaining life. The Golden State will soon become an arid wasteland with undrinkable waters and no local food sources. That is, if conservationists don’t amp up their efforts.
Image Source: Flickr