Temperatures in Idaho’s Columbia, Snake, and Salmon rivers were so warm in 2015 that they cooked millions of salmon and steelhead to death. As climate change leads to consistently warmer temperatures and lower river flows, researchers expect that fish kills like this will become much more common. Tribal members living on the Nez Perce reservation are preparing for this new normal.
“The biggest and most poignant impact for Nez Perce tribal members has been the loss of fishing and fish,” said Stephanie Krantz, the climate change coordinator for the tribe. “For tribal peoples, they are absolutely essential for survival.”